Trump "going with his gut" in fanning racism, frustrating some White House aides

Trump — four months away from facing voters in his re-election bid and trailing Biden in the polls — is “going with his gut” and “relying on instinct,” the two officials said. Instead of touting wins, Trump has opted to zero in on the national debate about race and side with supporters who view themselves as victims unfairly cast as racists in the renewed national discussion about discrimination targeting minorities…

A second White House official said Trump is making a mistake by stoking racial divisions and continuing to revive the kind of grievances he also aired in 2016, when he stoked racial animosity targeting immigrants. This official says the president’s attack lines no longer have the same resonance as they did four years ago…

“Post-Fourth of July needs to be a pivot. We have a short period where we have to stay on message,” one of the White House officials said. “Can we stay away from the third rail of politics, including race and divisive issues?”

But both officials acknowledged that the president believes divisive rhetoric helped him win the White House, and could do so again. And two officials said he is largely eschewing the political advice to shift his message because he blames the coronavirus pandemic and his campaign’s strategy — and not his own approach — for his polling plunge.