Wednesday, September 12, 2018


The Washington Post's Ashley Parker reports:
... President Trump on Tuesday issued a warning about the potentially catastrophic storm that at times felt strangely exuberant.

“Tremendously big and tremendously wet — tremendous amounts of water,” Trump said, expressing something close to admiration at the expected precipitation.

Then the president turned to bragging about the federal response to past storms during his tenure, including Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico....

Trump has long struggled with public displays of empathy and with rising to the role of consoler in chief....

Storms ... have offered a particularly revealing glimpse into Trump’s penchant for the dramatic — a habit of narrating even deadly crises in superlative terms that render him more a rubbernecking bystander than a conventional commander in chief.

As Hurricane Harvey threatened the Gulf Coast last year, for example, Trump enthused on Twitter, “Many people are now saying that this is the worst storm/hurricane they have ever seen.” After Maria left Puerto Rico devastated weeks later, Trump posed for selfies, tossed paper towels into a crowd like basketballs and described his visit to the storm-ravaged island as “really lovely.”

And this week, as Florence barreled toward the Carolinas, Trump shared an image of the churning eye of the storm as if he were a Weather Channel aficionado. “The storm looks very bad!” he tweeted.
There was also his bizarre behavior yesterday both before his arrival at a 9/11 memorial ceremony in Shanksville, Pennsylvania (he pumped his fists after he stepped off his plane), and at the event location (he gave a thumbs-up at the memorial center).

This is what you do when you're a narcissist who's incapable of empathizing with other people. Presumably Trump still craves some connection with people -- but he can't feel their pain or their fears, or even their concern. None of this registers at a visceral level. Trump's only means of connecting with people is to jolly them up using his practiced used-car-salesman techniques (or rile them up by arousing their anger at a shared enemy, but that doesn't apply here).

Trump is tone-deaf in the face of disaster and suffering because boosterism and demagoguery are his only two ways of making anything resembling a human connection.

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