Trump shrinks back as protests and violence spill over

After days in which the empathy he expressed for George Floyd, the man killed, was overshadowed by his combative threats to ramp up violence against looters and rioters, Mr. Trump spent Sunday out of sight, even as some of his campaign advisers were recommending that he deliver a nationally televised address before another night of violence. The building was even emptier than usual as some White House officials planning to work were told not to come in case of renewed unrest…

While Mr. Trump has been a focus of anger, particularly among the crowds in Washington, aides repeatedly have tried to explain to him that the protests were not only about him, but about broader, systemic issues related to race, according to several people familiar with the discussions. Privately, advisers complained about his tweets, acknowledging that they were pouring fuel on an already incendiary situation…

Some officials were urging that Mr. Trump hold events to show black voters enraged over the latest videotaped act of brutality that he heard their views. A group of advisers discussed plans for a series of “listening” events. But others have counseled that the president should take a hard line, not quite as aggressive as his tweets but a message of solidarity to business owners whose property has been destroyed.

Some in the president’s circle see the escalations as a political boon, much in the way Richard M. Nixon won the presidency on a law-and-order platform after the 1968 riots. One adviser to Mr. Trump, who insisted on anonymity to describe private conversations, said images of widespread destruction could be helpful to the law-and-order message that Mr. Trump has projected since his 2016 campaign.