On Dad's favorite morning show, Junior was asked whether he was "surprised the way they've been handling the coronavirus situation, meaning Democrats."

Put aside all the problems with the question itself — put aside fair and balanced, much less smart and stupid — because the answer is so much more.

Said the First Son, Donald Trump Jr., the Prince of Trump: "Anything they can use to try to hurt Trump, they will. ... But for them to try to take a pandemic and seemingly hope that it comes here and kills millions of people so that they can end Donald Trump's streak of winning is a new level of sickness. ... You know, I don't know if this is coronavirus or Trump derangement syndrome, but these people are infected badly."

Stop.

The Democrats have criticized the president for understating the severity of the threat to American citizens and for being unprepared for the increase in its spread, which the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has said is not a matter of if but when.

How does that mean they "seemingly hope that it comes here and kills millions of people" so they could defeat Trump?

It doesn't.

No one hopes that millions of people will get killed.

Name names, Donald Trump Jr., so these individuals can sue you for defamation.

Stand by these lies, or don't lie.

It's "a new level of sickness," he says hysterically, not about the virus, not about its worldwide spread, not about those who need medicine and care. No, he isn't thinking about any of those people. He is thinking about November.

The universe revolves around Donald Trump. Everything — pandemics included — must be judged in relation to Trump's reelection. News stories have questioned what impact the virus' spread will have on the nation's economy. So if the Democrats don't take account of the suffering of tens of thousands, the "millions of people" killed (except those killed by the impact of Trump's reelection), they must be pro-pandemic.

Junior certainly would be if he were on the other side.

Everything is part of a fabric.

It doesn't help to have Democrats decrying not just Mr. Trump Senior but his supporters. Our fellow citizens may be wrong, but none of them like to be called deplorable.

But to have the son of the president suggest that Democrats are hoping millions die so it will hurt the president's campaign is hopelessly irresponsible. And the fact that it's just part of the morning roundup is a terrible sign of how far we have plunged.

There is a crisis, and it will be here. We like to think of ourselves as being our best selves in times of crisis, putting partisanship aside, putting country first. Certainly, that's what I was taught as a kid. And I'm glad, because what we are living through now is so fundamentally wrong.

Junior, who reportedly sees a future president every morning when he shaves, ended his morning-show appearance with his characteristically misplaced humor: the laugh line about how he doesn't know whether Democrats are suffering from the coronavirus or "Trump Derangement syndrome."

Who is this person?

He really does think the only thing that matters in the world is his dad's reelection.

He really does think that it matters more than whether millions do or don't get sick, or whether we are prepared for it.

He really does think he is funny, and that this is who we are and how we do our politics.

It isn't. We are better than that. And we deserve better.

Susan Estrich can be reached at sestrich@wctrib.com.