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As President Donald Trump totters to the end of his fourth year in office, many congressional Republicans, motivated mainly by self-preservation and mendacity, have begun to distance themselves from him.

In Arizona, Colorado, Iowa, Maine, Montana and North and South Carolina, GOP Senate members who are up for reelection now have grabbed their bags and jumped from the crazy train as they run ads in which there is no mention of the president.

In West Virginia, Republican Sen. Shelly Moore Capito’s new ad features a mere two-second glimpse of the president as she and others stand in the background. Mr. Trump should not be surprised at these displays of spinelessness among members of his own party who, in their slavish but superficial devotion to him, opted out of patriotism a long time ago.

At his disastrous town hall, an attendee asked Mr. Trump how he would get the economy back on track. He responded with a prediction, rather than a plan, saying only that, next year, the economy will come back. Similarly, when asked how he would protect insurance coverage for preexisting conditions, he said, “I want to give great health care.” Translation: He has no plan to protect people with preexisting conditions.

In another reckless rally rant, Trump exploded, “Joe Biden is a criminal and he has been a criminal for a long time, and [chiding a reporter] you’re a criminal for not reporting it.” Nevertheless, U.S. Attorney General William Barr has come up empty after scouring the planet for an atom or two of evidence against Biden.

Our president has advised that Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., should be “put away,” and has encouraged chants of “Lock her up,” aimed at Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, just two weeks after she was targeted for kidnapping and assassination by a clutch troglodytes. It is madness, and Republicans up and down the ballot know it.

Sadly, the president has caved on the coronavirus. He has cast aside any pretense of caring, even as case numbers accelerate in at least 40 states. Mr. Trump told the genuflectors at a recent rally, “People are saying, ‘Whatever,’” about COVID-19. Dr. Fauci is an “idiot” and a “disaster,” he sneered at an audience this month.

The president seems equally bored with COVID-19 deaths. Consumed with self-pity, constantly whining about how badly he is being treated, he evidently has washed his hands of responsibility for dealing with our worst pandemic in a hundred years.

In contrast to Mr. Trump, we are hearing the voices of individuals whose psychological maturity continued beyond adolescence. Trump’s former chief of staff, Gen. John Kelly, said the president is “the most flawed person I have ever met.” The president’s former secretary of defense, Gen. James Mattis, summed up, “He tries to divide us.”

Former director of vaccine development, Dr. Rick Bright, pointed out, “His actions are leading to more deaths from the pandemic.” A charter member of Trump’s pandemic response team, Olivia Troye, reported that the president “... manipulated the pandemic White House briefings.”

A self-described conservative, retired Adm. William McRaven, the special operation chief who led the raid that killed Osama bin Laden, has announced that he voted for Biden. Writing in The Wall Street Journal, McRaven said, “America must lead in the world with courage, conviction and a sense of honor and humility.” It was a damning commentary on the empty spaces within the character of Donald J. Trump.

On another note, previously, I described the Thalidomide disaster that caused tens of thousands of disfigured babies to be born everywhere except in the United States, a cautionary story on any rushed development of a COVID-19 vaccine. I thank the representative of a Thalidomide survivors group who contacted me to point out that there were about 50 such babies born here.

Joseph Wyatt is a Gazette-Mail contributing columnist and emeritus professor at Marshall University. Reach him at