Finally, we know for sure.

William Barr is not the country’s attorney general — he is Trump’s personal attorney. Barr has done significant damage to this country with his persistent refusal to address the facts of Trump’s egregious behavior. Now he has charged our country with the legal bills and any monetary compensation that might be awarded to Ms. E. Jean Carroll resulting from her lawsuit against Trump for defamation of character.

Why? Because Trump denied during a federal investigation that he raped Ms. Carroll in a Bergdorf-Goodman dressing room some years ago. She still has the dress with the semen stain.

Barr claims Trump’s denial, now that he is president, allows Trump to charge his legal bills to the federal government. Washington Post columnist Dana Milbank calls it “government of the Donald, by the Donald and for the Donald.” Moving the case out of the New York state court and into federal court allows Barr to deny it a hearing. For the Donald.

Whether her case has merit is a question for a judge and jury. It is not the federal government’s place to pay Trump’s bills or bail him out.

In other news, Bob Woodward’s new book, “Rage,” reveals that Trump told Woodward in his Feb. 7 interview that the coronavirus is, “deadly stuff. You just breathe the air and that’s how it’s passed.” There is now no question that Trump knew the danger from COVID-19 to the public early on but he chose to deny that reality. Three days later, Trump told Fox news anchor Trish Regan and the American public that, “We have it very much under control.” But of course we didn’t.

On Feb. 28, at a rally in South Carolina, Trump said the virus was the Democrats’ “new hoax.” As Milbank says, “It was a life-or-death decision, and Trump chose himself.” Trump’s mantra — Don’t roil the stock market — won out over people’s lives.

Trump now acknowledges that he knew the danger, but says he withheld warning the public to prevent panic. But this is a man who governs by panic. He loves chaos and fosters it. He’s very much like the firebug who starts the fire and then rushes in to save the day.

It’s the same thing he did with the Black Lives Matter demonstration in front of the White House. He sent in federal police to gas and beat peaceful protesters and then marched to St. Paul’s church holding the Bible, as though he was saving the day.

Trump conflates peaceful protesters with criminals, but Trump’s interference into peaceful protests has caused the very crimes he rails against. Moreover, his rhetoric approving their violent actions gives Patriot Boys and their ilk the sense that what they are doing is right.

Trump doesn‘t seem to understand that if you hit people, they are going to hit back. Likewise, if you put tariffs on goods we import from China, China is going to put tariffs on the goods they import from us. Or, worse yet, they stop buying from us and buy from other countries who don’t have tariffs. Which leaves American farmers with no market for their grain.

So, what did Trump do? He raided our treasury to compensate farmers for their losses. This is how we got to a $26 trillion deficit, the highest per capita debt since World War II.

So now, Trump admits that he knew and did nothing. After all, he was protected by stringent prevention protocols in the White House, and he really doesn’t care about anyone else. Once again, subverting the public’s good for his own — at the cost of infecting 6 million people and the loss of 200,000 lives, along with doing major damage to the economy.

Remember Benghazi, the four deaths that consumed six GOP-controlled congressional committees for literally years? The coronavirus death toll is now more than 47,000 times the death toll in Benghazi. Or, more than 60 times the death toll from 9/11, and almost four times the death toll of the Vietnam war, which lasted 19 years. Our per-capita death rate is double Canada’s, four times higher than Germany’s, 20 times that of Australia, and 90 times that of South Korea.

It can only be explained by astounding incompetence, coupled with Trump’s need to appear he is on top of things. He reminds me of the Wizard of Oz, who calls himself the great and powerful Oz while in reality, he is just a self-aggrandizing, blustering little man, pulling levers behind a curtain.

Martha Johnson is a resident of Elizabeth City.