When Donald Trump went to Texas last week he managed to spend the entire time as far away from the devastation and victims as possible. Not surprisingly, he took some flack for that. So his handlers arranged a do-over, sending him back to see if he could muster up some fake sympathy.
To some extent he achieved his goal while mingling with evacuees at the NRG stadium. Although his remarks were painfully tone deaf as he described the visit as “really nice.” He elaborated saying that “It’s been a wonderful thing,” and that “they’re doing great.” These are people who are suffering tragic losses, both personal and financial. Many of their homes were destroyed. They are sleeping on cots in a vacated sports stadium with thousands of others. “Really nice?”
Then Trump ventured out into the blue skies of a recovering Houston to address the assembled press corps. Ordinarily when he does this without a TelePrompter, he drifts off into effusive praise of himself or attacks on his perceived enemies. And that’s exactly what happened this time. He couldn’t concentrate on the victims for two minutes before he began a nauseating assault on the media. Looking them straight in the eye he said (video below):
“I hear the Coast Guard saved 11,000 people by going into winds that the media would not go into. They will not go into those winds. Unless it’s a really good story, in which case they will.”
SRSLY? He could have easily cut himself off after honoring the courageous work of the Coast Guard. And then perhaps issued a call for Americans to donate to a relief fund (which he has never done). But no. He tacked on an unprovoked slam at journalists, portraying them as exploitative and cowardly.
Trump knows very well that he’s lying. He spent the first few days after Hurricane Harvey hit land watching the reports on television. He must have seen the reporters venturing out into the winds to keep people informed of what was happening. He can’t help but have seen correspondents risking their lives to help secure public safety. There were also the numerous times reporters were shown actually saving victims from serious harm or death.
Journalists were out in the winds to interview people who were trapped and to call for aid. They featured the work of first responders and volunteers who were rescuing endangered residents. And they were right alongside those heroes as they struggled to save lives.
Trump saw all of this from the comfort of whichever White House TV he happened to be viewing. Then he goes to Houston when it’s completely safe and accuses the media of being cowards. His trip was deliberately planned to score some positive PR after his prior fumble. Yet he says the media are exploiting the tragedy. This is what psychologists would call classic projection.
Trump knows that he’s the coward who is selfishly using the pain of others to exalt himself. He’s the same ego-obsessed narcissist who took five draft deferments during the Vietnam war, then disparaged those who served, like John McCain. He regularly exploits the military for photo-ops, but he has never even visited Iraq or Afghanistan. Somewhere deep down he’s well aware of his innate cowardice. So he lashes out with a totally unnecessary attack on people who were admirably doing their jobs and saving lives. And that’s the best that we can expect from this callous and petty so-called president. Sad!