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.”
Mr. Buck said the president’s approach was not necessarily helpful to him politically because it “didn’t pass the laugh test for a super serious situation that has ruined millions of people’s lives.” But he said it was still concerning because “half the country takes their cues from him.”
Another Republican strategist, Antonia Ferrier, a former adviser to the Senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell, said the president could take cues from other world leaders who had won a battle with the virus.
“After being released from the hospital, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson showed in personal terms how the virus impacted him — thanking those who helped him get back on his feet, committing to tackling the virus and balancing the challenges facing his country,” she said. “President Trump has an opportunity to communicate a similarly positive message.”
The campaign started to publicly preview that approach. “He has experience now fighting the coronavirus as an individual,” said Erin Perrine, a campaign spokeswoman. “Joe Biden doesn’t have that.”