Perhaps what nettles Trump is that his Conway is borrowing one of the president’s favorite tactics, which is that the best defense is a good offense. He’s declared on Twitter that the battle is now joined. He tweeted, ‘So I have another idea for an ad. Orangeface isn’t going to like it.’ Probably not. But there isn’t much that Trump, who is reduced to proclaiming that he, and he alone, can revive the once-proud American economy, has to brag about. The news that he’s disbanding his coronavirus task force is further evidence that he wants to act as though it’s business as usual. The coronavirus response led by favored son-in-law Jared Kushner looks to be a mess as well. The Washington Post reports that he’s relied on volunteers from consulting and private equity firms. These bunglers have no experience ‘in the tasks to which they were assigned, exacerbating chronic problems in obtaining supplies for hospitals and other needs.’

At the same time, Trump’s vaunted distraction techniques are faltering. He’s pretty much exhausted his old bag of tricks — attacking immigrants, government officials, sports stars, China and so forth. It’s the same old, same old. None of his protestations appear to be helping boost his poll numbers which are even tanking in reliably red states such as Texas, where Biden is tied with him, and Montana, where Biden is five points behind. Even Trump’s Lincoln Memorial appearance had an inadvertently absurd cast to it. His virtual town hall was supposed to display him as a great president, but it ended up highlighting his own ineptitude and megalomania in the brooding shadow of one of America’s greatest presidents.