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“I just want to say, the end of the pandemic is near.” Donald Trump, Oct. 1, 2020.

“The president has been admitted to Walter Reed Medical Center for treatment of COVID-19,” various news sources, Oct. 2, 2020.

I pray for both the president’s recovery and for his defeat in November. Both outcomes are essential to our national security.

Two days following Mr. Trump’s hospital admission, White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows said, “He’s made unbelievable improvement since yesterday morning.” Doesn’t that imply serious illness? Despite the president’s whistling-past-the-graveyard-at-midnight chirping, I fear the virus has unfinished business with him, an outcome I wish on no person.

At the White House hot spot, 30 or more people have tested positive. Among them are first lady Melania Trump, adviser Hope Hicks, Trump’s debate-prep aide and former New Jersey governor Chris Christie, National GOP Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel, Trump campaign manager Bill Stepien, senior adviser Stephen Miller, press secretary Kayleigh McEnany and two of her deputies, as well as various other White House staff members.

It is quite possible that many of those cases were launched during the introduction of Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett, where wisdom-resistant attendees mingled maskless and minus social distancing. The president is a spreader of lies. Now his recklessness spreads COVID-19. Only in sports is “dual threat” a good thing.

Upon his discharge from the hospital, Donald Trump promised a vaccine “momentarily.” He hitched that unicorn to a cheery suggestion. “Don’t be afraid of it ... You’re going to beat it,” he added in a thoughtless slap to the faces of the survivors of the more than 210,000 dead.

Then he announced, “Flu season is coming up! Many people every year, sometimes over 100,000 and despite the vaccine, die from the flu ... we have learned to live with it just like we are learning to live with Covid ...”

Aside from the likelihood that “learn to live with it” might become the all-time hand grenade of last-minute campaign slogans, the flu kills 30,000 to 40,000 Americans in a typical year, with 61,000 the high-water mark in the past 10 years. Are we witnessing the president’s denial of reality on steroids — literally?

Mr. Trump’s hospitalization has gifted his campaign with a macabre distraction from his taxes. Twenty years of his tax forms, leaked to The New York Times, reveal that he generally pays nothing, although his $70,000 deduction for hairstyling did send me digging for my Wildroot Cream Oil receipts.

The tax returns strip bare his eye-popping debt, more than $400 million in loans coming due and with no evident way to pay. If Trump loses the election, his suitcase should be checked for the White House flatware.

The president’s debt has relevance for national security. Every recent case in which one of our own intelligence professionals began passing top-secret information to another country was originated when the potential turncoat found himself desperate for cash.

Ultimately, the tax disclosures benefit Mr. Trump to roughly the same degree that Mt. Vesuvius contributed to the cultural environment of Pompeii. His financial status is so disturbing that, should he not be reelected, I suspect the president might need to take advantage of the IRS’s Fresh Start Initiative. At worst, he probably will get work on reality television. As if we haven’t suffered enough, we might yet have to endure the national indignity of a former president tripping the light fantastic on “Dancing with the Stars.”

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