Several advisers and allies expressed concern that the president was undoing months of campaign work to frame the upcoming election as a choice between an America-loving, pro-capitalist president, and a Democratic Party beholden to fringe socialists who hate America and despise capitalism. The comments also had the ancillary effect of uniting a fractious Democratic Caucus that had spent the week engaged in intraparty squabbling between party leaders and the progressive members that Trump was going after.

“I’m disappointed he injected himself [in] Dem on Dem violence,” said a Republican who speaks with Trump regularly. “Anything the president does that distracts from the larger and broader issue is always a gift” for Democrats…

“Right now, you’ve got a group of people who are relatively new to Trump world who are still of the mind that they can endure stuff like this. The only way to preserve your sanity is to understand that wave after wave of people have tried to get [Trump] to do certain things and so you either sign up for who he is or get out while you can,” the former official said.