Yet people who have spoken to the President recently say he seems aimless as coronavirus cases surge and as a national racial reckoning reaches entities from NASCAR to Disney. Instead of engaging on those matters, Trump has retrenched into the very conduct many believe is the root of his current political predicament.

While advisers say Trump is aware of his weakened standing, he has rejected public surveys showing him trailing former Vice President Joe Biden by double digits, claiming they are flawed attempts to suppress the vote. And while advisers and allies have privately — and, this week, publicly — begun to encourage Trump to moderate his tone and change behaviors they fear are alienating wide swaths of the electorate, he has shown almost no willingness to change course.

“He didn’t think he would win in 2016, he doesn’t think he can lose in 2020,” one senior White House official said…

Inside the White House, Trump’s attitude has been defensive when it comes to those shortcomings, which several of his close allies have identified to him in private conversations. Even as campaign advisers present polls showing Trump trailing Biden badly in critical battleground states, Trump has questioned their accuracy and insisted his problems lie mostly in negative news coverage rather than his own behavior.