Over the past few days, we have seen the sickly gasps, literally, of a fading authoritarian regime. A brush with a potentially mortal illness might change other men, but not President Donald Trump, whose immaturity and selfishness are as immutable as the elements themselves. Other men might have spoken to a concerned nation with empathy and reassurance. Trump play-acted the part of a petty dictator, mugging and saluting for the cameras. 

When the president climbed the stairs to the Truman Balcony — named for one of the many far better men to occupy the White House — and stood there gulping for air and pantomiming bravery, observers saw many images, from Mussolini to Pinochet. Broadway star Patti Lupone, who won a Tony for her portrayal of Eva Peron, had perhaps the best reaction. “I still have the lung power,” she tweeted, “and I wore less makeup. This revival is closing November 3rd.” 

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