Donald Trump lacks empathy. He seems to have no capacity for it even when called upon to console the widow of a soldier killed in operations in Niger. “He knew what he signed up for…” was all the Commander in Chief could muster in terms of kindness toward the death of a husband in service to the nation.
There’s an interesting confession of sorts in what Trump said to Sgt. La David Thompson’s widow. Did Trump himself “know what he signed up for” when elected President of the United States, and by proxy, its Commander in Chief?
Trump has complained publicly that the job is hard and at times, far more complex than he imagined. In response, he has vacationed so frequently at his own luxury properties it is hard to imagine him even checking in at the White House, much less getting a full grasp of the job at hand. He wants us all to know how hard it really is, and that the nation owes him a favor for electing him in the first place.
Trump has bristled so frequently at criticism that it has become a topic of national and international disgrace. Thus the general public seems to be losing sympathy for his (lost) cause, and his approval rating is down below 40% at times. He calls everything he does not like #FakeNews and angrily attacks even people within his own political party to threaten in an attempt to force complicity. His very public arguments with John McCain and Mitch McConnell come to mind.
And let’s not forget that he demanded a creepy brand of loyalty from the fired former FBI director James Comey. The conversation between them proved that Trump will stop at nothing to get his way. Yet he is failing in that endeavor in critical ways, perhaps at a level only massive egotists can manage. When thinking about the public visage of Trump, one conjures up pictures of Nero or any number of Roman Emperors slaughtered in their tents or murdered in the Senate for their transgressions with the military or the government. It’s happening with Trump. Just give it time. If dramatic history unfolds as it has so often in the past, there is a chance he will be found murdered in his own bed by some small but disturbed minion he has insulted one too many times.
It has become all too clear that Donald Trump did not “know what he signed up for” during an ugly political campaign in which no media really challenged his domineering approach or the personal attacks he shot at opponents in both the primaries and general election. He was given a free pass by the saner channels of media culture because no one really took him seriously. No one, that is, except a voting class so enamored with their own lack of empathy and motormouth selfish instincts that Trump seemed just like the guy they needed to “Make America Great Again.”
Trump won the election precisely because he was a man with no capacity for consideration of other people’s thoughts or ideas. That’s the way his fans like him. That’s what they expect him to be. And that’s a very different thing from what the job of President truly entails. So Trump the Candidate is constantly at odds with Trump the President. That is the disturbing duality of who our president truly is.
A threat to the world
Since his election, Trump has threatened nuclear war and made promises that he would have no problem killing the women and children of those he perceived as enemies. These happen to be instincts shared with zealous believers in Old Testament religion, where genocide is seen as an acceptable practice for those whom God adorns with power. That’s what some of these people believe: that God installed Trump as president.
That’s why evangelical voters lined up to vote for Trump. He promised them Pro-Life, but throws in a healthy dose of Pro Death because real religion is always just a coin toss away from genocide. It’s all the same dangerous instincts; from Manifest Destiny to the Holocaust, the Inquisition to Islamic fatwa. If people don’t sign up to support a nation where God and Country are freely intermixed, it’s their loss. And it usually involves their lives.
I’m a winner. So much winning!
Donald Trump has portrayed himself as a winner even after numerous failures (multiple bankruptcies) scandals (pussy-grabbing) and outright hucksterism (Trump University) showed his truly flawed character.
To keep his massive ego intact, Trump has been forced to deny everything in life that does not in some way affirm his fragile sense of self-worth.
But this takes doing, and he has been forced to become a caricature of himself. The Donald Trump we see is a Donald Trump that exists outside himself, and it must be protected lest the real Donald Trump impinge on this manufactured reality. The manufactured Donald Trump can go out and threaten nuclear war and still call himself a “family man” who loves his children and his apparently estranged wife, with whom he can barely stand to hold hands.
True empathy lacking
Thus it comes as no surprise that Donald Trump lacks true empathy when faced with the personal loss of others. Donald Trump by definition of his own duality views them as losers incapable of separating themselves from the pain they feel, and therefore stand, in his eyes, as unworthy of compassion. Their loss, no matter what its legitimate source, is a sign of weakness to him. If they cannot immediately deny it, he cannot bear to be in its presence.
This fractured view of life is the source of tectonics that drives all his actions. “I fight back,” he says when questioned about any aspect of his behavior. That’s his first response. So it is likely that he viewed the public death of that soldier as a potential blight on his own reputation. Trump did not want one more dead soldier mucking up his vision of military prowess as Commander in Chief.
Trump’s real intention when calling that widow was to warn her not to blame him for her husband’s death. That is the worst fate of all to Trump, who can’t stand the merest nick to his massive ego before he bleeds all over Twitter in complaint and defiance.
Trump blames everyone else for problems that he creates himself. That’s why he’s refused to pay contractors who worked on his buildings that failed to generate the profits he promised. That’s why he lashed out at Sen. John McCain as a failed war hero for having gotten caught and tortured when Trump himself got a phony deferment for “bone spurs” or whatever excuse was cooked up on his behalf.
Just like Trump
It’s obvious now that half of America is accustomed to thinking like Trump. That’s why jingoistic fans are lining up to chastise pro football players as ‘unpatriotic’ for kneeling in protest of social injustice during the national anthem. The rah-rah fan base that supports Trump wants a faceless football fantasy in which personal pain means nothing to the interruption of their Sundays. Trump is their Savior from Political Correctness, a ‘non-politician’ who ‘says what’s on his mind’ even if it’s the most insensitive, ignorant, dull-minded nonsense in the universe.
And let’s remind ourselves that Trump’s Right Hand Man, Vice President Michael Pence is no better. He’s the jerk who orchestrated a walkout at an NFL game costing taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars so that Pence could behave like a self-righteous jerk and win favor with the Trump crowd who wants their football minus the human element.
If Trump himself does not believe in physical exercise on claims that it shortens one’s life, what is he doing talking about the sport of football at all? The same can be said about climate change, which Trump also denies, or healthcare access, in which Trump also does not believe. In fact, Donald Trump does not appear to actually believe in anything. Only that which benefits his own interests.
He is clearly a heartless bastard without the will to be honest with the American people and resign from a job that he does not want, and never really did. He no more knows “what he signed up for” than he ever did. So it may be the task of America to excuse him from the job he doesn’t deserve to hold.
Then we can all tell him, “You’re fired,” and let his warped little life come full circle.