WASHINGTON — When it comes to Donald Trump, it is increasingly difficult to distinguish between a political strategy and a nervous breakdown. His tweeted trash talk, his meandering stream of consciousness press availabilities and his shameless embrace of sleaziness are not the signs of a healthy mind. Trump’s followers may eventually look up to find they were actors in someone else’s delusion.

But Trump’s recent self-defenses at least clarify his ambitions as an ethicist. Concerning the Ukraine scandal, the president is not seeking forgiveness for a failure in judgment, or even trying to change the subject. He boldly asks Americans to accept that his actions — pressuring a foreign power to investigate a domestic political rival — were good and proper. “I don’t care about [Joe] Biden’s campaign,” Trump insists, “but I do care about corruption.” And there was “tremendous corruption with Biden.”

Michael Gerson’s email address is michaelgerson@washpost.com.

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