(CNN)President Donald Trump is preparing to dial up the intensity of his political schedule in the final week ahead of critical midterm elections, even as hate acts have rattled the nation and thrown new scrutiny on his deeply divisive style of campaigning.
Trump preparing to crisscross the country for final midterm push
Already, the President has shown little willingness to curtail his political schedule. Officials have told CNN there is little to no consideration of abandoning the ambitious final week plans that will have the President on the stump most of the next seven days.
Trump's battle plan for the final week includes a three-day sprint to the finish line, with multiple events a day slated for the Saturday, Sunday and Monday before voters cast their ballots, a source close to the process said. Another source familiar with discussions said the White House is considering a joint rally with both Trump and Vice President Mike Pence on the eve of Election Day.
But a hate-fueled attack on a Pennsylvania synagogue, a politically motivated attempt to bomb Democratic figures, and a seemingly racially motivated double homicide in Kentucky -- all occurring within two weeks of the election -- have complicated the President's plans to close out midterm season. Torn between his role as the GOP's most valuable surrogate and his duty to reassure a divided country, Trump has attempted to perform both responsibilities simultaneously -- to mixed reviews.
After a shooting Saturday at a Pittsburgh synagogue left 11 dead, Trump opted to leave the White House anyway for a pair of events in Indiana and Illinois while the tragedy was still unfolding. He received briefings on the situation en route to an agricultural event that he attempted to turn into a venue for responding to the shooting before awkwardly pivoting back to the speech he'd come to deliver. The tensions created by a massacre so close to Election Day were on full display later in the evening, when Trump openly toyed with the prospect of canceling a campaign event in Illinois before deciding to proceed as scheduled to the rally -- where he then wove presidential statements of unity in with the red meat he frequently tosses to his supporters.
Trump told reporters on Saturday he planned to visit Pittsburgh this week, though he didn't specify a day. White House schedulers will need to time the visit amid a heavy slate of campaign appearances that officials indicated would not be canceled or rescheduled.
Trump has made a point of telling crowds during the past week that he was toning down his rhetoric in a show of respect. But his crowds have reacted with disappointment, including loud groans on Saturday evening inside an airplane hangar in southern Illinois.
"I had a feeling you might say that," Trump said, before launching into familiar attacks on Democrats, the news media, and his vanquished 2016 rival Hillary Clinton.
The tragedies have threatened to knock Trump off what he had hoped would be his message heading into the home stretch of the midterms: immigration. White House aides had eyed having Trump deliver a major immigration speech in the week before the election as he sought to channel images of a Central American migrant caravan heading to the US into a rallying cry for his supporters.
But the President has struggled to control the conversation amid fallout from the shooting and attempted bombing spree, and he has expressed frustration with the focus on the effects of his rhetoric in the aftermath of the attacks.
The President's team had laid out a number of states Trump could hit during the last week of the midterms, but waited to finalize which of those options they'd choose as rally destinations for as long as possible so they could base their decisions on the freshest polls. Trump's political aides are effectively triaging races based on which Republican candidates need his help the most, and will attempt to direct him where his presence can move more numbers.
With so little time