While enduring Trump has been difficult all along for Republicans lawmakers, the month of June 2020 has been the nadir – from June 1 when his Bible-thrusting photo op at St. John’s Church involved gassing peaceful protesters (including one of the church’s priests) to his evidence-free suggestion that a 75-year-old protester knocked to the ground and bloodied by police was an antifa agitator. Throughout all this, his fleeting attention to COVID-19 has been comprised of far more self-congratulation than empathy or urgency. The economic news, despite what the Federal Reserve says, is great and about to become spectacular, according to the president.

Republicans privately admit Trump’s instincts amid a pandemic with no end in sight, an economic recession and a month of demonstrations across America have failed the test the moment demanded in a way that will be hard to erase before Election Day.

They are aware of what Trump aides are leaking to the media that they’re not entirely certain he wants to win. The New York Times spoke to those aides recently and reported the president is “acting trapped and defensive,” and that ”rather than focus on plans and goals for another four years in office, Mr. Trump has been wallowing in self-pity about news coverage of him since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic. … He has told advisers that no matter what he does, he cannot get ‘good’ stories from the press, which has often been his primary interest.” The Times story included an account from three presidential aides who told him his continued self-destructive conduct was likely to cost him the election, to which he said, “I have to be myself.”