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Will Trump Nation devolve into chaos upon learning of a presidential epiphany that wearing masks is “patriotic?” If that wasn’t sufficient to reverse Earth’s rotation, possibly equally discombobulating to the faithful was his confession that, up to now, he had no plan to fight the pandemic.

He admitted recently, “We are in the process of developing a strategy ...”

Thus, after six months and about 145,000 dead Americans, he has noticed that steps ought to be taken. In moments like these, we are thankful that he both “aced” a cognitive screening test and, at no additional charge, provided us with a calming mantra as we ride out the coronavirus. Continue repeating, “Person, woman, man, camera, TV.”

Unfortunately, his strategy-in-development seems to involve little that is new. At one point in the president’s rebooted COVID-19 ratings extravaganza, he reverted to telling us, “The virus will disappear ...” while also saying the coronavirus “will get worse before it gets better.” Understand, he is developing a strategy to combat a pandemic that will get worse before it gets better and then will disappear. Those who find themselves slightly confused might take comfort in the knowledge that this is how we make America great again.

For perspective and for those who tell us the coronavirus is not much different from the flu, in a typical flu season of eight months, about 30,000 Americans die of that virus. The coronavirus has killed almost five times that number in about half the time. Thus, we can agree with the president — a strategy ought to be developed.

Another of the president’s gems of perspicacity is his threat to veto military appropriations if we rename bases that presently are named for Confederate generals. Who would have thought that a self-described “stable genius” would withhold cash from our military unless it continues to honor those who fought against it?

But lay those matters aside. Now, there is the president’s campaign to scare us into voting for him by sending a cadre of unidentified troops to Portland, Oregon, where they wielded clubs and lobbed tear gas at protesters who were committing such brutal acts as painting graffiti on the federal building. Mr. Trump’s likely reason for exacerbating tensions that the city’s mayor said were winding down was to create flaming campaign video suitable for frightening voters into supporting him.

Perhaps the president is unaware that deployment of federal police into a city requires congressional approval. While federal agents are allowed to defend federal property at any time, police power is generally reserved for the states and it is only for good reason that federal troops may intervene. And when they do intervene, their authority stops at the edge of federal property. Which does not explain reports of protesters being arrested blocks from Portland’s federal building.

For that explanation, we must turn to the president’s evidently clairvoyant director of Homeland Security, Chad Wolfe, who pointed out that some protesters were “proactively arrested,” so as to “hold them accountable.” That aside, the president’s actions have indeed induced fear, given that they mimic those of a certain dictator who also used unidentified troops (who spoke Russian without accents) to invade Crimea.

Yet, we are reminded the president is not a man without empathy. He recently found a moment to say of alleged child sex trafficker Ghislaine Maxwell, “I wish her well.”

Joseph Wyatt is a Gazette-Mail

contributing columnist and emeritus professor at Marshall University.

Reach him at