The New York Times

News Analysis: Trump Takes On All Comers, Believing Himself the Victor

But looking beyond the top lines makes clear why Mr. Trump thinks he is winning the fight over the N.F.L. Almost nine in 10 Republicans said the players were wrong, and just 23 percent criticized Mr. Trump for his intervention. The numbers were sharply divided between white and black as well.

Mr. Trump most likely found satisfaction on Sunday as most players ended up standing during the anthem a week after widespread protests on the sidelines. Aware that many of their fans were not happy, the players looked for alternate ways to express dissent, either by kneeling before the anthem and then standing when it started, locking arms during the anthem or raising their fists.

That his actions drew criticism from the very Chuck and Nancy he has been dancing with lately probably helped reassure his base as well. “When a hurricane hits, there are no Democrats or Republicans — only Americans, families struggling to survive,” Representative Nancy Pelosi of California, the House Democratic leader, wrote on Twitter over the weekend. “Shameful @POTUS can’t see that.”

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Secretary of State Rex W. Tillerson in China on Saturday. On Sunday, he found himself on the receiving end of a blistering Trump tweet. Credit Pool photo by Lintao Zhang

Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, the Senate Democratic leader, echoed that sentiment on “Face the Nation” on CBS on Sunday. “The president, instead of tweeting against the mayor of San Juan, who’s watching her people die and just made a plea for help, ought to roll up his sleeves and get to work here,” he said. “The bottom line is at least for the first week and a half, the effort has been slow-footed, disorganized and not adequate.”

In what has become a regular ritual, Mr. Trump’s public pique left other members of his administration struggling to explain away his messages. They were at once leery of drawing criticism by embracing his comments while also wary of finding themselves on the receiving end of a blistering tweet, as Secretary of State Rex W. Tillerson did on Sunday when the president derided his attempt at diplomacy with North Korea.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin had agreed to go on the Sunday talk shows to promote the administration’s tax-cutting plan but found himself questioned about the president’s attacks on the mayor of San Juan, where emergency workers and troops have struggled to restore basic services after Hurricane Maria.

Mr. Mnuchin attempted to sidestep the controversy without offending his temperamental boss. “When the president gets attacked, he attacks back,” he told Chuck Todd on “Meet the Press” on NBC. “And I think the mayor’s comments were unfair given what the federal government has done.”

He then tried to move on, saying “the focus should be,” before Mr. Todd interrupted to press him on whether it was unfair for the mayor to be frustrated with the situation she found herself in. Eager not to fuel the dispute, Mr. Mnuchin said what most politicians might in such a circumstance: “I completely understand people’s frustration. And this is a very, very difficult situation.”

Senator Marco Rubio, Republican of Florida, likewise sought to avoid getting on Mr. Trump’s bad side by directly criticizing him, but agreed that the response to the hurricane had not been adequate. “I do think every minute we spend in the political realm bickering with one another over who’s doing what or who’s wrong or who didn’t do right is a minute of energy and time that we’re not spending trying to get the response right,” he said on “Face the Nation.”

Undeterred, Mr. Trump continued to attack critics of his administration’s hurricane response as “ingrates” for not appreciating all he had done. “We have done a great job with the almost impossible situation in Puerto Rico,” he wrote. “Outside of the Fake News or politically motivated ingrates, people are now starting to recognize the amazing work that has been done by FEMA and our great Military.”

He wrote this from his golf club in Bedminster, N.J., before heading to Liberty National Golf Club not far away for the Presidents Cup. If he saw any incongruity in criticizing those without power while he was enjoying a day watching professional golfers, he made no mention of it.

Instead, as he presented the trophy to the United States captain, Steve Stricker, the president said he was thinking of the hurricane victims. “I want to just remember them,” he said, “and we’re going to dedicate this trophy to all those people who went through so much, that we love.”

Then he took his leave from the day’s other winner and headed home.

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