Donald Trump is facing a moment of truth after one of the worst weeks of his campaign.
Republicans and independent observers alike assert that Trump needs to turn things around — and fast — with only five weeks to go before Election Day.
“You’re either playing offense or defense — and if you’re playing defense with five weeks to go, you’re losing,” said GOP strategist Ford O’Connell, a Trump supporter.
But O’Connell and others note that this week presents some opportunities for Trump.
His running mate, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, could give him an assist with a strong performance against Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine in the sole vice presidential debate, which is set for Tuesday.
Trump, meanwhile, will have a chance to make amends for a widely criticized performance in the first presidential debate when he and Hillary Clinton clash again on Sunday in St. Louis.
Trump’s supporters believe their man still has a fighting chance — and they emphasize how fast the polls can change. After all, the GOP nominee had almost erased Clinton’s once-comfortable polling advantage before the first debate.
But they also acknowledge that he has little room for error left.
“I don’t know that it’s too late,” said O’Connell. “But the window is certainly closing for Trump.”