Less than a month out from Election Day, President Donald Trump is dealing with a hostage crisis of sorts — he is both the captor and the captive of a badly tarnished political brand.

The more it fades, the more he tends to it. The more he tends to it, the more it fades.


The core of that brand is the notion that superhuman instincts and physical capabilities enable him to win at everything all the time. But he has been unable to explain the dissonance between that concept and his inability to effectively stop the coronavirus from crippling the economy and killing 210,000 Americans.

In his own personal battle with the disease, he has tried to project immortal strength while risking the exposure of people around him, including Secret Service members and his own top aides. To critics, it is yet another example of Trump ignoring the public health risks of the pandemic.


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