On Tuesday, Donald Trump and Melania made a visit to Austin, Texas to support victims ravaged by Hurricane Harvey. Inexplicably he didn’t mention those who died (19 and climbing), including Steve Perez, a 34-year veteran Houston cop. Trump also didn’t mention the grieving families or the staggering numbers who are displaced and whose lives are turned upside down. But, as usual, he did manage to pat himself on the back.
A climate change denier, (Trump said it was a Chinese hoax designed to wreck our economy) in one ad-libbed speech, he boasted to a group bragging about the crowd size that came to hear him. In a briefing of his emergency team, he commented that one member was “going to be famous from all the TV” he had been on. I wasn’t the only one appalled by Trump’s shallowness.
David Axelrod of CNN said, “Trump praised his team — and by extension, himself–but had not a word for victims. It was another dispiriting display of obtuse self-puffery for a President who just doesn’t get his role.” In the N.Y. Times, Frank Bruni’s column was entitled, “The Waters Swell. So Does Trump’s Ego.”
Brunni quoted a Trump tweet, “’Even experts have said they’ve never seen one like this!’” He went on, “Trump’s hurricane talk and tweets were like his fair-weather fare: childishly intent on superlatives, laden with boasts and lavish with discordant asides, all with an air of self-impressed wonder.” To that I note that Trump called the storm “historic” and “epic” much as he had described his electoral college victory.
We’ve never seen empathy from Donald Trump or even affection to Melania who almost always trails him as he walks to an event. He rarely hugs her or his kids, and when he does it seems awkward and unnatural. Fake hugs?
Think about it. Would a person with empathy mock the disabled? Or a Gold Star family? Recently, Trump belittled John McCain who’s fighting for his life against brain cancer. What type of person does that? I fear Trump’s obvious narcissistic disorder renders him a sociopath, one without a conscience and incapable of remorse. In a focus group, a once avid Trump supporter said, “He’s such a flawed person, I wish he were on the other side of issues I care about.”
Back to his Texas trip, never missing a chance at self-promotion, even during one of the worst natural disasters in American history, Trump was wearing a USA hat that he sells on his website for $40. In fact, a White House press release had a link to make buying the hat more convenient. The proceeds will go to Trump’s 2020 campaign or even his Russia investigation legal bills. Melania was also wearing a hat but so far hers hasn’t been posted on Trump’s website.
One could say all presidents have unusual egos. But we’ve never seen this level of narcissism. And all politicians are prone to lying or at a minimum, spinning “facts.” But Trump’s lies are in a category by themselves.
For example, the infamous “audit,” which supposedly prevented him from showing his tax returns. I knew it then, I know it now, there was no audit. It was one giant lie. Just like he didn’t send private detectives to Hawaii in pursuit of his racist birther lie. “What they found was amazing.” Nothing was found because no detectives were sent. Otherwise, Donald,show us the report.
When he could no longer take the pressure, like a spoiled child caught in a whopper (the lie, not the burger) Trump said he wouldn’t talk about the birther issue anymore. Actually, I’m convinced Trump knows the vast majority of the country knows he’s lying because he’s done it his whole life. Furthermore he doesn’t care. Why should he? He’s devoid of a conscience.
In Missouri on Wednesday, clearly on advice from aides, Trump read the words of compassion for Harvey victims. That’s the fake Trump. The real Trump is when he ad libs, like when he said, “there were some fine people” among the KKK and Nazi protesters in Charlottesville.
In Missouri the real Trump attacked, among others, Missouri Democratic Senator Claire McCaskill. And in his tax speech he showed “empathy” but for corporations. Even Ann Coulter blasted him. “It was his worst, most tone-deaf speech ever.” (I’d love to see Coulter and Trump in the octagon.)
As often happens in national tragedies, the best of human nature can be seen in action. In Houston the sights of people selflessly risking their lives to help strangers are inspiring and give us all hope. Unfortunately, Donald Trump doesn’t know the word selfless. At a time of crisis, when given a chance to unite, he divides. And when given the opportunity to be consoler in chief and help heal the country, he talks about crowd size. #Robert Mueller Please Hurry!
Jack is at facebook.com/jackneworth, twitter.com/jackneworth and firstname.lastname@example.org