Instead, he had a worldview that the cosmopolitan community considered archaic and dangerous — a worldview that emphasized national borders, played up foreign threats and treated travel bans and immigration restrictions as essential tools of state. He also had certain personal tendencies, like his famous germaphobia, that would presumably have made him favorable to masking and social distancing at a time when the expert of experts, Dr. Anthony Fauci, was still dismissing mask wearing and telling healthy Americans that it was safe to take a cruise.

In other words, Trump, much more than a typical president, was ideologically and personally well-positioned to get out ahead of the experts, to break early with their church-of-cosmopolitanism assumptions and to set an example of extreme caution long before that became the official wisdom — even to “own the libs,” if you will, by taking steps that would have been denounced as authoritarianism in late February and then recognized as wisdom by late March…

In other words, given a series of crucial choices — whether to heed his nationalist and protectionist impulses or his “don’t spook the stock market” biases, whether to listen to his germaphobia or his apparent fear of looking unmanly in a mask — he consistently chose wrongly when he could have chosen wisely. He went by his own choices from being a president who had an unique historical opportunity to vindicate his professed worldview to a president who is now infected with the very virus that is dooming his re-election bid.