Wall Street Journal: Trump should change tack or drop out

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Wall Street Journal to GOP: Dump Donald Trump if he doesn't change (which he says he won't)

WASHINGTON, Aug 15 (Reuters) - Republican Donald Trump should fix his stumbling White House campaign by Labor Day or step down, The Wall Street Journal said on Monday in a sharply worded warning from a leading conservative voice.

"Mr. Trump has alienated his party and he isn't running a competent campaign," the newspaper said in an editorial.

SEE ALSO: Clinton surges past 270 electoral votes in NBC News battleground map

The paper's editorial board, which generally favors Republicans, has been critical of Trump but its warning on Monday was its strongest attack yet and echoed growing anxiety among many Republicans over the state of Trump's campaign.

The New York real estate developer, who has never held elected office, has been mired in weeks of controversy and opinion polls show him falling behind Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton in the race for the Nov. 8 election.

Trump's "window for a turnaround is closing," the Journal said, urging his backers to push the candidate toward a promised "pivot" to a presidential posture and a more disciplined campaign.

See Trump take the stage at the RNC:

31 PHOTOS
Donald Trump delivers speech at GOP convention RNC
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Donald Trump delivers speech at GOP convention RNC
U.S. Republican Presidential Nominee Donald Trump arrives onstage at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio, U.S. July 21, 2016. REUTERS/Rick Wilking
U.S. Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump is greeted by Ivanka Trump after his introduction at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio, U.S. July 21, 2016. REUTERS/Jim Young
Ivanka Trump, daughter of Republican Presidential Nominee Donald J. Trump, waves as she walks off stage after introduction her father during the final day of the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Thursday, July 21, 2016. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
CLEVELAND, OH - JULY 21: Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump gives two thumbs up to the crowd during the evening session on the fourth day of the Republican National Convention on July 21, 2016 at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump received the number of votes needed to secure the party's nomination. An estimated 50,000 people are expected in Cleveland, including hundreds of protesters and members of the media. The four-day Republican National Convention kicked off on July 18. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
CLEVELAND, OH - JULY 21: Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump acknowledges the crowd during the evening session on the fourth day of the Republican National Convention on July 21, 2016 at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump received the number of votes needed to secure the party's nomination. An estimated 50,000 people are expected in Cleveland, including hundreds of protesters and members of the media. The four-day Republican National Convention kicked off on July 18. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
CLEVELAND, OH - JULY 21: Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump delivers a speech during the evening session on the fourth day of the Republican National Convention on July 21, 2016 at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump received the number of votes needed to secure the party's nomination. An estimated 50,000 people are expected in Cleveland, including hundreds of protesters and members of the media. The four-day Republican National Convention kicked off on July 18. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
Donald Trump, 2016 Republican presidential nominee, speaks during the Republican National Convention (RNC) in Cleveland, Ohio, U.S., on Thursday, July 21, 2016. This evening marks the last night of a four-day Republican National Convention that has been defined by disorderly floor activity, divisions within the party, a plagiarized speech delivered by the nominee's wife and scattered protests in the streets of Cleveland. Photographer: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images
CLEVELAND, OH - JULY 21: Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump preapres to deliver his speech during the evening session on the fourth day of the Republican National Convention on July 21, 2016 at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump received the number of votes needed to secure the party's nomination. An estimated 50,000 people are expected in Cleveland, including hundreds of protesters and members of the media. The four-day Republican National Convention kicked off on July 18. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
US Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks on the last day of the Republican National Convention on July 21, 2016, in Cleveland, Ohio. / AFP / Jim WATSON (Photo credit should read JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks on the last day of the Republican National Convention on July 21, 2016, in Cleveland, Ohio. / AFP / Robyn BECK (Photo credit should read ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images)
U.S. Republican Presidential Nominee Donald Trump speaks at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio, U.S. July 21, 2016. REUTERS/Rick Wilking
The mouth of US Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is seen on a big screen as he speaks on the last day of the Republican National Convention on July 21, 2016, in Cleveland, Ohio. / AFP / Jim WATSON (Photo credit should read JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)
CLEVELAND, OH - JULY 21: Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump delivers a speech during the evening session on the fourth day of the Republican National Convention on July 21, 2016 at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump received the number of votes needed to secure the party's nomination. An estimated 50,000 people are expected in Cleveland, including hundreds of protesters and members of the media. The four-day Republican National Convention kicked off on July 18. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)
US Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks on the last day of the Republican National Convention on July 21, 2016, in Cleveland, Ohio. / AFP / JIM WATSON (Photo credit should read JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)
A CODEPINK protester is removed while US Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks on the last day of the Republican National Convention on July 21, 2016, in Cleveland, Ohio. / AFP / JIM WATSON (Photo credit should read JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)
CLEVELAND, OH - JULY 21: Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump delivers a speech during the evening session on the fourth day of the Republican National Convention on July 21, 2016 at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump received the number of votes needed to secure the party's nomination. An estimated 50,000 people are expected in Cleveland, including hundreds of protesters and members of the media. The four-day Republican National Convention kicked off on July 18. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
Delegates listen as Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump addresses the final night of the Republican National Convention at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio, July 21, 2016. / AFP / Robyn BECK (Photo credit should read ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images)
Republican U.S. presidential nominee Donald Trump formally accepts the nomination at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio, U.S. July 21, 2016. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri
Republican U.S. presidential nominee Donald Trump formally accepts the nomination at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio, U.S. July 21, 2016. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri
CLEVELAND, OH - JULY 21: Attendees listen to Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump deliver his speech on the fourth day of the Republican National Convention on July 21, 2016 at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump received the number of votes needed to secure the party's nomination. An estimated 50,000 people are expected in Cleveland, including hundreds of protesters and members of the media. The four-day Republican National Convention kicked off on July 18. (Photo by Jeff Swensen/Getty Images)
CLEVELAND, OH - JULY 21: Deligates stand and cheer as Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump delivers his speech on the fourth day of the Republican National Convention on July 21, 2016 at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump received the number of votes needed to secure the party's nomination. An estimated 50,000 people are expected in Cleveland, including hundreds of protesters and members of the media. The four-day Republican National Convention kicked off on July 18. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
CLEVELAND, OH - JULY 21: An attendee stands and cheers as Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump delivers his speech on the fourth day of the Republican National Convention on July 21, 2016 at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump received the number of votes needed to secure the party's nomination. An estimated 50,000 people are expected in Cleveland, including hundreds of protesters and members of the media. The four-day Republican National Convention kicked off on July 18. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
Rudy Giuliani, right, former mayor of New York City, applauds as Republican Presidential Nominee Donald Trump addressed the audience during the final day of the 2016 Republican National Convention at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio, July 21, 2016. (Photo by Brian van der Brug/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)
CLEVELAND, OH - JULY 21: (L-R) Tiffany Trump, Barron Trump and Melania Trump listen to Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump deliver his speech on the fourth day of the Republican National Convention on July 21, 2016 at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump received the number of votes needed to secure the party's nomination. An estimated 50,000 people are expected in Cleveland, including hundreds of protesters and members of the media. The four-day Republican National Convention kicked off on July 18. (Photo by Jeff Swensen/Getty Images)
CLEVELAND, OH - JULY 21: Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump and his family acknowledge the crowd on the fourth day of the Republican National Convention on July 21, 2016 at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump received the number of votes needed to secure the party's nomination. An estimated 50,000 people are expected in Cleveland, including hundreds of protesters and members of the media. The four-day Republican National Convention kicked off on July 18. (Photo by Jeff Swensen/Getty Images)
US Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump (C L) and vice presidential candidate Mike Pence (C R) are joined by their families at the end of the Republican National Convention on July 21, 2016, in Cleveland, Ohio. / AFP / JIM WATSON (Photo credit should read JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump embraces his wife Melania on the final night of the Republican National Convention at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio on July 21, 2016. / AFP / Jim WATSON (Photo credit should read JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)
CLEVELAND, OH - JULY 21: Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump and Republican vice presidential candidate Mike Pence stand with their families on the fourth day of the Republican National Convention on July 21, 2016 at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump received the number of votes needed to secure the party's nomination. An estimated 50,000 people are expected in Cleveland, including hundreds of protesters and members of the media. The four-day Republican National Convention kicked off on July 18. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
Balloons descend on the delegates as the families of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump and his nominee for vice-president Mike Pence appear on stage at the end of the last day of the Republican National Convention on July 21, 2016, in Cleveland, Ohio. / AFP / DOMINICK REUTER (Photo credit should read DOMINICK REUTER/AFP/Getty Images)
CLEVELAND, OH - JULY 21: Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump embraces Republican vice presidential candidate Mike Pence after his speech on the fourth day of the Republican National Convention on July 21, 2016 at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump received the number of votes needed to secure the party's nomination. An estimated 50,000 people are expected in Cleveland, including hundreds of protesters and members of the media. The four-day Republican National Convention kicked off on July 18. (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)
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"If they can't get Mr. Trump to change his act by Labor Day, the GOP will have no choice but to write off the nominee as hopeless and focus on salvaging the Senate and House and other down-ballot races," it said.

Labor Day, which falls on Sept. 5 this year, marks the end of U.S. summer vacations and traditionally launches the final phase of the long U.S. election season.

"As for Mr. Trump, he needs to stop blaming everyone else and decide if he wants to behave like someone who wants to be president - or turn the nomination over to Mike Pence," it said, referring to the Indiana governor, who is Trump's vice presidential running mate

Trump has repeatedly provoked controversy in the weeks since his formal nomination as the Republican presidential candidate in July, despite appeals from party leaders for him to focus on issues that could win him the election.

He picked a fight with the parents of a Muslim U.S. Army captain who was killed in Iraq and falsely accused President Barack Obama and Clinton of being "co-founders" of Islamic State. He later said he was being sarcastic but has continued to repeat the remark.

Trailing in opinion polls in so-called battleground states, Trump has increasingly begun to portray himself as a victim of the media.

The Journal said Trump mistakenly believes his rowdy rallies will morph into votes and he can get away with relying on social media instead of spending money to compete in battleground states.

Adding to Trump's woes this week was a report in The New York Times that the name of his campaign manager, Paul Manafort, was on secret ledgers showing cash payments of more than $12 million from a Ukrainian political party with close ties to Russia. There was no evidence Manafort took the payments.

Manafort denied any impropriety in a statement on Monday. "I have never received a single 'off-the-books cash payment' as falsely 'reported' by The New York Times, nor have I ever done work for the governments of Ukraine or Russia," he said.

The report came as Trump prepared to give a foreign policy speech on Monday. The Clinton campaign said it was evidence of "more troubling connections between Donald Trump's team and pro-Kremlin elements in Ukraine."

Trump has spoken favorably in the past of Russian President Vladimir Putin. Last month he invited Russian hackers to find "missing" emails from Clinton's time as secretary of state, when she used a private computer server to conduct government business, although he later described that comment as sarcasm.

Take a look back at when Trump announced his White House run:

17 PHOTOS
Donald Trump announces campaign for presidency
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Donald Trump announces campaign for presidency
U.S. Republican presidential candidate, real estate mogul and TV personality Donald Trump makes a point as he formally announces his campaign for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination during an event at Trump Tower in New York June 16, 2015. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid
U.S. Republican presidential candidate, real estate mogul and TV personality Donald Trump acknowledges supporters next to his wife, Melania, before formally announcing his campaign for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination during an event at Trump Tower in New York June 16, 2015. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid
U.S. Republican presidential candidate, real estate mogul and TV personality Donald Trump arrives by escalator inside at Trump Tower to announce his campaign for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination in New York June 16, 2015. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid
NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 16: Business mogul Donald Trump gives a speech as he announces his candidacy for the U.S. presidency at Trump Tower on June 16, 2015 in New York City. Trump is the 12th Republican who has announced running for the White House. (Photo by Christopher Gregory/Getty Images)
U.S. Republican presidential candidate, real estate mogul and TV personality Donald Trump formally announces his campaign for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination during an event at Trump Tower in New York June 16, 2015. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid
Ivanka Trump, daughter of real estate mogul and TV personality Donald Trump, introduces her father prior to his formally announcing his campaign for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination during an event at Trump Tower in New York June 16, 2015. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid
Trump supporters wait for U.S. Republican presidential candidate, real estate mogul and TV personality Donald Trump to formally announce his campaign for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination during an event at Trump Tower in New York June 16, 2015. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid
Ivanka Trump, daughter of developer Donald Trump, arrives to hear her father announce that he will run for president of the United States, in the lobby of Trump Tower, New York, Tuesday, June 16, 2015. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)
Developer Donald Trump with daughters Ivanka Trump, left, and Tiffany Trump, after his announcement that he will seek the Republican nominaiton for president, Tuesday, June 16, 2015, in the lobby of Trump Tower in New York. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)
U.S. Republican presidential candidate, real estate mogul and TV personality Donald Trump formally announces his campaign for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination during an event at Trump Tower in New York June 16, 2015. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid
Trump supporters wait for U.S. Republican presidential candidate, real estate mogul and TV personality Donald Trump to formally announce his campaign for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination during an event at Trump Tower in New York June 16, 2015. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid
U.S. Republican presidential candidate, real estate mogul and TV personality Donald Trump gestures as he formally announces his campaign for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination during an event at Trump Tower in New York June 16, 2015. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid
U.S. Republican presidential candidate, real estate mogul and TV personality Donald Trump gives a thumbs up while he poses with his family after formally announcing his campaign for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination during an event at Trump Tower in New York June 16, 2015. The Trump family from L; Eric Trump and his wife Lara, Donald Trump, son Barron, Melania Trump, Vanessa Haydon and her husband Donald Trump Jr., children Kia Trump and Donald Trump III, Ivanka Trump and her husband Jared Kushner and Tiffany Trump. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid
U.S. Republican presidential candidate, real estate mogul and TV personality Donald Trump formally announces his campaign for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination during an event at Trump Tower in New York June 16, 2015. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid
Supporters chant as they wait for developer Donald Trump to announce that he will seek the Republican nominaiton for president, Tuesday, June 16, 2015, in the lobby of Trump Tower in New York. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)
Developer Donald Trump, fourth left, poses with his family after his announcement that he will run for president of the United States, in the lobby of Trump Tower, New York, Tuesday, June 16, 2015. From lef are: son Eric Trump, with his wife Lara Yunaska; Donald Trump's son Barron Trump, wife Melania Trump; Vanessa Haydon and her husband Donald Trump Jr.; daughter Ivanka Trump with her husband Jared Kushner; daughter Tiffany Trump. In the front row are Kai Trump and Donald Trump III, children of Donald Trump Jr. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)
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