Wednesday, August 07, 2019


After pretending to be high-minded in his Teleprompter speech on Monday, President Trump returned to his happy place in the past 24 hours.


He's doing president-as-healer today, in a manner of speaking, but he struggles to pretend that he finds it in any way meaningful or moving.

I realize that he's led a life in which no one has ever rewarded him for expressing empathy or any other "soft" emotion -- feelings of this kind wouldn't have gotten him parental love (especially from his father), wouldn't have been required at any workplace (because he's never worked outside the family business), and don't seem to have been useful in his love life or his friendships, where he exclusively played on his reputation as a cutthroat, cocksure rich guy.

I don't expect Trump, a malignant narcissist, to actually care about other people's feelings. But it never occurs to him that appearing empathetic might confer power on him. Bill Clinton seemed to feel people's pain, as did Barack Obama, and they won reelection handily, then left office beloved and admired. George W. Bush hugged the teenage daughter of a woman who'd died in the World Trade Center on 9/11, and the hug became an ad that some people believe was responsible for his reelection in 2004.

Trump has no feelings, but you'd think he'd want this as one more weapon he can wield in the quest for dominance. But he doesn't even give money to charity, the usual way billionaire narcissists pretend to care. How has he lived 73 years without being aware that this would be useful to him? Or is his fear of appearing weak just so absolute that he can't even bring himself to fake compassion?

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