ABOARD AIR FORCE ONE, Oct. 13 — President Trump, anxious that reports about his state of mind are undermining his popularity and facing fresh questions about his relationship with the truth, dashed to Florida on Friday to hammer Republicans in the Senate and bask in the fleeting affection from his base.
More than 500 miles from Washington, in a pitch that will culminate in a rally Saturday evening, Mr. Trump will try to harness the surging enthusiasm among his base that has propelled him to his highest approval rating in months while also steadying the nerves of those trying to hold on to Senate control.
In contrast with his rhetoric at his raucous, historically raucous rallies, the president’s schedule suggests he will be more somber than populist, more serious than raucous.
“The Florida-Pennsylvania issues have a lot to do with the overall perception of the country right now,” one senior administration official said, referring to the huge battleground states in the critical midterms. “The fact that he’s going to Florida right now, it’s an indication that he’s taking it seriously.”
The stakes are enormous, for both the political parties and the country. If Republicans were able to maintain control of the Senate, Mr. Trump’s agenda could move forward unabated. But the Senate would likely remain deeply polarized, yielding a Congress that would be even less willing to work with the White House than is currently the case.
And if Democrats make a grab for Senate control, they are expected to use the gavel to pass anti-Trump legislation, including for-sure investigations into his conduct, and an ambitious agenda of their own.
Speaking from Air Force One, where he was en route to Florida, Mr. Trump insisted that he “worried” all the time.
“As you know I’m always very nervous. I worry about the country, I worry about your eyesight, that you’re gonna see bad things,” Mr. Trump said during a brief visit to the cockpit of Air Force One on Friday. “I worry about this stuff. But frankly I hope that the folks that voted for me, they want the country to go a different direction.”
On Friday night, before he boarded Air Force One for the flight to Miami, Mr. Trump was asked whether the polls reflected what he sees as a national mood that is “increasingly angry.”
“If it is, it would not be because of the economy, it would be because I would say things. I’d say things about certain countries that I shouldn’t. It’s always good,” Mr. Trump said. “And like I said, I worry about myself a lot, too.”
Mr. Trump’s campaign team has been considering different approaches for the rally, but it does not appear to be taking a broader, less populist approach.
And while the president is expected to call on Florida to support Republicans around the country, Florida will not have a large role in the event’s announced theme, which is “A Better Deal for America.”
Rather, Mr. Trump is expected to urge his audience to vote and place a significant priority on the midterm elections, what aides say will be the president’s mission on Saturday.
“It’s important for the country that we have strong people in Congress,” Mr. Trump said, adding that the president’s agenda “will be lit up, its going to be a celebration. It’s going to be a big, big rally. But we want to keep up the momentum.”
The mostly partisan atmosphere among President Trump’s fans was evident as he landed.
“We needed an outsider to come in and fight for us, and we got an outsider,” said Norman Watkins, who drives from Windermere, Fla., to hear Mr. Trump speak. “That means more to me.”
Kim Clay entered the airport terminal covered in “MAGA hats,” the slogan of the president’s campaign.
“We want to create more jobs, and we want to keep taxes low and all of the things we promised on the campaign trail,” Ms. Clay said. “We’re delighted that he was elected. We think he’s an excellent president.”
The president’s stock on the campaign trail remains high among the red-state voters who went for him in 2016. He has a 90 percent approval rating in Kentucky, according to a new poll, and an 83 percent rating in North Dakota