UPDATE: After sticking his foot in his mouth by saying he would have a “little fun” while meeting with the families of Texas school shooting victims, President Donald Trump managed to make a fool out of himself again.
During the meeting, a mother of one of the victims said she felt the president had a hard time having an adult conversation. She told The Associated Press that talking to Trump was like “talking to a toddler.”
Rhonda Hart, an Army veteran, was one of the grieving parents Trump met on Thursday. Her daughter, 14-year-old Kimberly Vaughn, was murdered at the Santa Fe High School shooting on May 18. But instead of offering comfort, the president only managed to make her feel out of place.
During their exchange, Hart said she told the president that schools should consider hiring veterans to serve as sentinels. To which Trump asked, “And arm them?" She replied, “No.”
Throughout the conversation, she added, he kept referring to the murderer as “wacky” and wouldn’t stop talking about arming teachers.
“It was like talking to a toddler," she explained.
"Maybe if everyone had access to mental health care, we wouldn't be in the situation," the grieving mother told the president.
It’s clear the president has a hard time showing empathy, even in the face of tragedy and when the whole world is watching. While we know this isn’t new, it's disheartening to think that the person responsible for leading and representing Americans can't even console his own citizens properly.
It seems along with other things, the president’s idea of having fun is a little distorted.
A day after meeting reality TV star Kim Kardashian to discuss prison reform, President Donald Trump arrived at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland and briefed the reporters about his schedule for the day.
“I just want to tell you we’re doing very well with North Korea … a letter is going to be delivered to me from Kim Jong Un, so I look forward to seeing what’s in the letter,” the commander-in-chief said. “…Other than that, the economy is good, stock market is up, a lot of jobs, best unemployment we’ve had in many, many decades actually. And we’re going to Dallas and Houston and we will have a little fun today.”
The fact the POTUS was, as always, in his la-la land where the economy and the American jobs are flourishing, didn’t come as much of a surprise.
However, what’s noteworthy was how he thought of comforting grieving families and shaken survivors of the Santa Fe High School shooting, as having a “fun” day.
Trump was scheduled to meet in Houston with families of the victims of the Texas school shooting, which being the 22nd school shooting of the year, claimed 10 lives. A 17-year-old student, Dimitrios Pagourtzis, was charged with conducting the school massacre that also left 13 wounded.
In the initial aftermath of the incident, the commander-in-chief posted a short tweet simply announcing there had been a shooting, noting that initial reports were “not looking good,” and concluding the post with “God bless all!”
In the wake of the latest mass shooting, heartbreaking stories about individuals involved in the incident came to light. Be it 15-year-old Christian “Riley” Garcia who sacrificed his life to save classmates from the shooter, or an exchange student from Pakistan who was preparing to return home, or sophomore Shana Fisher, whose family waited and searched and hoped while she laid dead in the art room.
After losing their beloveds, that too at such a young age, one can just imagine what the families of the victims must have gone through – which brings us back to the question why would the president even remotely consider meeting such grief-stricken parents as a “fun” activity?
However, Trump has rarely put any thought to what he says – and instances where he has actually acted upon his words are even rarer.
Following the horrific mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, the president gave empty assurances of supporting and implementing stricter gun control legislation, but he later caved to pressures from the National Rifle Association (NRA).
Even when he spoke for approximately 90 seconds on the Santa Fe shooting, offering the same tired prayers and making the same false promises to keep Americans safe, he contradicted his NRA speech which he gave two weeks prior to the incident. At the convention, Trump had said he would protect gun owners who were “under siege” by gun control activists.
Moreover, the fact he needed cliff notes when he met with shooting victims, their family members, and community members of Parkland, Florida showed the lack of empathy he had for the tragedy.
Banner Image Credits: REUTERS/Joshua Roberts