Trump AWOL in swing states

Hillary Clinton and super PACs supporting her have spent $23.3 million so far this month in eight battleground states — the toss ups that could decide the election. Donald Trump and groups backing him have spent $0.

Trump’s campaign has about 30 paid staff deployed throughout the country for its ground game. For Clinton, it’s somewhere north of 800.

More coverageThe 1600: Follow the race for the next presidentMore coverageThe 2016 campaign: Complete coverage

Strategists from both parties say Trump has wasted valuable time getting his fall campaign organized. His challenge has only gotten harder with his recent slippage in national polls, and he acknowledges he faces a tougher map than Clinton to put together a 270-plus Electoral College majority.

“The Democratic road is very much easier than the Republican road to the White House,” Trump said in a Fox News interview. But he told NBC News that he didn’t have to spend as much as Clinton. Trump acknowledged Clinton “has a head start” — even though he clinched nomination weeks earlier — but sounded unconcerned.

“We haven’t really started,” he said. “We start pretty much after the convention, during and after.”

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Campaign manager overboard 

Corey Lewandowski, who has steered the Trump ship through the primaries, has been tossed out. An announcement from the billionaire's spokeswoman Hope Hicks to the New York Times confirms it, saying Lewandowski "will no longer be working with the campaign." 

“The campaign is grateful to Corey for his hard work and dedication and we wish him the best in the future,” the statement said. Internal turmoil at Trump Tower has been reported for weeks. Trump has brought other, purportedly more seasoned, GOP politicos on board since the start. 

Scoping out the battlegrounds

Politico looked at the prospects for Trump and Clinton in battleground states.

It found Clinton with the advantage because she starts out with a “blue wall” of solidly Democratic states, and just one or two of the toss ups — depending on their size — could put her over the top.

Trump would need to dominate in Rust Belt swing states from Pennsylvania to Wisconsin, and take Florida and North Carolina, too.

The take-away: Trump by association

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Trump’s name is being dropped — not in a kind way — in Democratic primary contests by candidates seeking to associate rivals with the highly unpopular Republican, writes Newsday’s Dan Janison.

Consider profiling, Trump says

Trump said the United States should “seriously” consider profiling Muslims inside the country as a terrorism-fighting tool.

“It’s not the worst thing to do,” Trump said on CBS’ “Face the Nation.” He said he “hate[s] the concept of profiling, but we have to use common sense.” (Video of interview here.)

NRA holsters Trump idea

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National Rifle Association leaders distanced themselves Sunday from one of Trump’s answers to Orlando — that if more clubgoers had been armed, “You wouldn’t have had the tragedy that you had.”

“I don’t think you should have firearms where people are drinking,” said NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre on “Face the Nation.”

Chief NRA lobbyist Chris Cox said on ABC’s “This Week: “No one thinks that people should go into a nightclub drinking and carrying firearms. That defies common sense.”

On Monday Trump tweeted, "I was obviously talking about additional guartds or employees," No, it didn't sound that way last week.Trump said the outcome could have differed  "if you had guns in that room, even if you had a number of people having it strapped to your ankle or strapped to their waist..." Details here.

Hairs worth splitting

Sen. Ron Johnson, a Wisconsin Republican who faces a tough re-election fight, tried to explain on CNN why his support of Trump is not an endorsement.

“To me, ‘endorsement’ is a big embrace. It basically shows that I pretty well agree with an individual on almost everything. That’s not necessarily going to be the case with our nominee,” Johnson said.

What else is happening

  • Apple won't help sponsor the GOP convention because of Trump's controversial remarks, as revealed over the weekend. Other big companies are holding back as well....
  • Clinton is celebrating the birth of her second grandchild, Aidan Clinton Mezvinsky. She resumes campaigning with appearances in Ohio Tuesday and North Carolina Wednesday.
  • Bernie Sanders is still getting Secret Service protection, at a cost that may exceed $38,000 a day, because he hasn’t quit the race for the Democratic nomination.
  • The Republican National Committee spokeswoman for Hispanic media, Helen Aguirre Ferre, declined to say in a Tele mundo interview whether she’s uncomfortable defending Trump, whom she had previously criticized.
  • Latino groups say drives to register new voters and tap into antipathy toward Trump are lagging behind schedule for lack of promised funding, BuzzFeed reports.
  • After another week of criticism from Republican congressional leaders, Trump said “they shouldn’t be talking so much. They should go out and do their job. Let me do my job.”
  • Saying "I can win one way or the other," if the GOP fails to back him, Trump added to the static... 
  • Even Utah could go Democratic this year, and it hasn't come close in half a century...
  • Obituaries are being used more often than in past elections to convey the departed’s last words about the 2016 race. They are disdainful of Trump or Clinton or both, The Washington Post reports.
  • The Congressional Black Caucus opposes Sanders' call for abolishing superdelegates and opening primaries to independents and Republicans, Politico reports....
  • New gun-control measures are likely to fail in the Senate, assuring the charged issue survives into the presidential campaign..
  • Major disputes remain undecided as the Supreme Court term nears an end -- its composition another issue set to last through the election....