Trump said that under President Obama and Vice President Biden, China was allowed “to pillage our factories, plunder our communities, and steal our most precious secrets.” Trump claimed, “And I’ve stopped it largely.”

Maybe people will buy this. But Trump’s trade war with China yielded no real concessions, basically ending with his pleading for China to buy more soybeans from swing states. That is, Trump’s deal with China was going to do nothing to reverse the direction in which industrial development is going. It was his pride in his China deal, and hopes for soybean purchases, that caused Trump to overpraise China’s efforts to contain the coronavirus. Eight separate times between January 30 and the end of February, Trump said that China or Chairman Xi was “working very hard” to contain the virus. Four times he said China was running things “professionally.”

Trump faced a real crisis this year, and the job of president got more difficult. He got bored of both. And now, belatedly recognizing that the crisis is destroying his reelection bid, he’s trying to rouse himself to get interested in the nation he leads, and the world it sits in. But to any clear-eyed observer, it’s obvious he’d rather be talking about the latest Morning Joe.