David Drucker of the Washington Examiner documents Republican concerns about President Trump’s preparations for the next presidential election.

President Trump is being ill served by a White House political operation that lacks the influence and acumen to effectively guide the West Wing and build a solid foundation for reelection in 2020, Republican insiders say.

More than a half-dozen Republican operatives familiar with the White House political shop that the Washington Examiner interviewed for this story said the problems predate the stunning December loss of a Senate seat in a special election in ruby red, pro-Trump Alabama.

Few were critical of White House political director Bill Stepien, saying he is a hardworking, capable strategist. But they said his operation has not exhibited clout with Trump, nor the ability to help him navigate complex electoral and policy challenges that routinely confront presidents.

“You need a political shop that knows what the political impact of everything is,” said Ed Rollins, a veteran Republican strategist who advises a pro-Trump super PAC and was the political director in Ronald Reagan’s White House. “But nobody is giving him valid counsel that I’ve seen. I don’t think there’s anything that’s really functioning well.”

The political department of the modern White House has been a major player in the West Wing, helping to shape and shepherd a president’s political and policy agenda. It was typically overseen by an experienced operative, by the president’s side for an extended period, who functioned as a sort-of guru. George W. Bush had Karl Rove; Barack Obama had David Axelrod.