Trump's campaign saw an opportunity from his COVID recovery. He undermined it.

Over the weekend, Mr. Trump’s political advisers said they were cleareyed about who they were dealing with: Mr. Trump is widely seen as a figure incapable of empathy. But the hope was that discussing his own experience would help him manage the pandemic going forward, and could have political benefits.

Mr. Trump did little to adhere to the narrative aides were hoping would emerge, one that would benefit him politically. In videos filmed by aides of Mr. Trump behind the scenes, intended to show him working, the president did not mention the hardship the virus had caused to others or that anyone had suffered greatly from it. Nor did he mention the White House staff members who had fallen sick.

And his tweet, which also declared that “I feel better than I did 20 years ago,” framed the virus as something akin to a weekend at a spa. It signaled that Mr. Trump would most likely return to the campaign trail spouting more false rhetoric about the virus.

“It appears the campaign hasn’t discussed their concept with their candidate,” said Brendan Buck, a former adviser to the former House speaker Paul D. Ryan. “You would hope someone who has been in serious health crisis would have a bit of an awakening, find a little religion on this, but he seems incapable of doing that.”