As his advisers implore him to focus on the economy and his chances of recovery, the president prefers to attack his rival.
In public, President Donald Trump and his campaign team they project an image of optimism.
When presidential advisers meet with Republican donors and state party leaders, they insist that they are fully capable of achieve a narrow victory about Joe Biden on November 3.
On television and in campaign appearances, Trump and his sons rule out public polls that suggest their prospects are bleak.
The president’s calendar of events is packed until Election Day, with advisers predicting a rally schedule three times a day in the final weeks of the race. When Trump contemplates the possibility of defeat, he does so in a tone of denial and disbelief.
“Can you imagine if I lose?” He asked a crowd on Friday.
Privately, most members of Trump’s team acknowledge that it’s not a crazy possibility.
Away from their candidate and the television cameras, some of Trump’s aides are quietly acknowledging how dire his political situation appears to be, and his inner circle has returned to a status of recriminations and defamation.
The anger of the president and some of his advisers has fallen on Mark Meadows, the White House chief of staff, for his handling of Trump’s recent hospitalization. They estimate that it is unlikely that he will keep his job beyond Election Day.
Trump’s campaign manager Bill Stepien has argued with senior Republicans that the president has chances in the race, but sometimes admits that they are few.
Some campaign aides have even started asking about future post-election jobs, apparently under the assumption that there will not be a second Trump administration in which they will be able to work (it is unclear how attractive this may be to employers in the sector. private worker in Trump’s campaign).
With just over two weeks to go before the elections, there is a extraordinary abyss between the perception of Trump and the political evaluations of various officials and party members, based on interviews with nearly a dozen Republican strategists, White House allies and elected officials.
Among some of Trump’s lanes is an attitude of courage mixed with resignation: the feeling that the best thing they can do down the stretch is to keep the president busy, happy, and off Twitter as much as possible, rather than producing a major change in strategy.
Often, his biggest obstacle is Trump himself.
Rather than deliver a focused message, aimed at changing people’s perceptions of his handling of the pandemic, or laying out the reasons why he can revive the economy better than Biden can, Trump spends his days mired in a family mix of complaints, attacks on your opponents, and obfuscations.
He shows himself as a victim, avoids questions about his own coronavirus tests, attacks his attorney general and the director of the FBI, and has been wrong about the advisability of wearing a mask.
Rather than draw a consistent contrast to Biden on the economy, strategists say, the president prefers to attack the son of his rival, Hunter, for his business, and hurling insults like “Sleepy Joe” at a candidate whose positive ratings are much higher than Trump’s.