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OpinionColumnistsDan Janison

Toxic levels of deception are spreading amid Trump's coronavirus

Marine One flies over the White House on

Marine One flies over the White House on Monday. Credit: The Washington Post / Matt McClain

President Donald Trump professes to be doing well, but the credibility of his White House remains in critical condition. Over the weekend, official statements succumbed to factual denial every few hours. Truthlessness from the top continues to spread unabated.

Facts do emerge, despite the worrisome fragility of Trump's image. On Monday, White House spokeswoman Kayleigh McEnany said she tested positive for the coronavirus. Soon, her aides Chad Gilmartin and Karoline Leavitt also were reported to have the virus.

No, the Oval Office had not been taking adequate measures to protect its employees and higher-ups.

Now Trump & Co. can try with no shame to twist its own personal encounters with the lethal contagion into politically useful solidarity with victims of the disease — with the U.S. death count at 210,000 and rising and no promised end in sight.

Before leaving his hospital suite, where key questions about his COVID-19 illness went unanswered, Trump tried an unconvincing self-testimonial about his personal triumph over adversity.

"Don’t be afraid of Covid. Don’t let it dominate your life. We have developed, under the Trump Administration, some really great drugs & knowledge. I feel better than I did 20 years ago!" he tweeted.

No "domination" was at issue, except by a still-mysterious virus. He hasn't devised solutions. He still won't endorse authentic medical findings or get on board with even a public-service message to protect himself and others near and far. And no, contrary to some of his weekend messaging, Trump has not learned more about the virus than those experts who consult books.

Sen. Kelly Loeffler (R-Ga.) tweeted an absurd fantasy video of Trump, in a suit, "fighting" and "beating" a representation of the virus, as if he weren't still sick from it.

The president did not appear to have just a "mild" case of the illness, as spun before the weekend. He was reportedly given dexamethasone, which is used against the threat of an inflammatory response that can lead to lung injury and organ dysfunction.

No, his fundraisers, rallies and most recent lawn party did not prove to be a good idea in light of the White House virus cluster. Nor was having Trump family members shun masks at the debate against Joe Biden. Nor was his Sunday drive-by outing during his hospital stay to greet a small gathering of supporters outside Walter Reed National Military Medical Center.

"This is insanity," tweeted Dr. James P. Phillips, an attending physician there. "Every single person in the vehicle during that completely unnecessary presidential ‘drive-by’ just now has to be quarantined for 14 days. They might get sick. They may die. For political theater. Commanded by Trump to put their lives at risk for theater."

And, no, the president has not been "targeted" for the virus as some backers are suggesting on social media — unless you whip yourself into believing another of his far-fetched conspiracy stories. Get ready for another round of those.