The image of George W. Bush casually looking down upon the Katrina disaster from a plane, then later saying to his inept FEMA director, “Brownie, you’re doing a heckuva job,” (video) could have dogged that president forever…had it not been for Hurricane Harvey and the visit to Texas of the unsurpassingly mutton-headed dolt currently masquerading as President of the United States.
Admittedly any leader visiting a disaster site is a no-win situation for all involved: he can’t undo the harm and he can’t do enough to remedy it. His only functions are to assure people that he has their back, that he understands their misery, that he recognizes their sacrifice and loss, and that he shares their heartbreak. The only function Trump achieved was the first, and even then he made it about him: “[W]e want to do it better than ever before,” he said. “We want to be looked at in five years, in 10 years from now as, this is the way to do it.” Really? If the man had any sense he would know that victims agonizing over their next hours and minutes care very little about their legacy or how this golf course maven will be remembered.
As with every other appearance for any reason, it was all about Donald Trump.
At least—at the very least—he could have learned the name of and specifically mentioned Steve Perez, the Houston police officer who, despite his wife’s wishes to the contrary, drove to work on Sunday morning and drowned when his car became trapped in rising waters. Perez was 60, the father of two, a 34-year veteran of the force. Steve Perez. It’s an easy name to remember, but one that Trump apparently couldn’t fit into his schedule because he was too busy “recognizing” Ben Carson and the rest of the cronies who’d tagged along. (The little rally he held afterwards to tout the size of the crowd that had come to hear him is too twisted to recount any further.)
Maybe if Trump had taken a few moments on the flight down to watch a video of personal loss or one of unusual generosity, he’d at least have been able to fake some human emotion. And if he’d just paid attention over the years—Reagan after the Challenger disaster, Clinton in Oklahoma City, Bush after 9/11, Obama in Newtown. Could Trump learn nothing about being presidential from these men, or is the truth too obvious to be overlooked anymore: his narcissism and its attendant inability to empathize are impediments he will never get past.
Every day it seems more medical experts question Trump’s mental state, and every day he provides more evidence that they’re right.