Yesterday Journalist Ari Melber of MSNBC News Show ” The Beat” Presented A Segment About The Importance Of Presidents Being Able To Show Authentic Empathy During Times Of National Crises. Watching Clips of Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, Ronald Reagan, And Barack Obama Address The Nation During Traumatic Events Revealed A Shocking Contrast To Trump’s Severe Deficit In Displaying Empathy Towards The COVID-19 Pandemic And Other Disasters During His Presidency.

Melber’s segment about a president’s ability to show empathy during a national tragedy was a reminder that Americans need a leader to help them cope and heal from traumatic events. He spoke of how empathy humanizes a president and helps unite the country in their shared grief. Clips were shown of past presidents giving speeches directly following a tragedy that rocked the nation during their term in office.Bill Clinton expressed himself in emotional terms telling the nation, “I share your pain”, after the Oklahoma City bombing. He also offered comfort in invoking faith as a way to try to cope with the horrific carnage from the bombing. George W. Bush, after the 911 attack, offered comfort with a call for prayer, and an acknowledgment of the pain and shock all Americans were experiencing. He also visited a Mosque soon after the attack and urged Americans not to turn their grief and anger against the entire Muslim community. Ronald Reagan addressed the nation expressing the sorrow that was being deeply felt by Americans dealing with the explosion of the Space Shuttle Challenger in 1986. Melber chose the clip of Barack Obama addressing the nation after the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School which killed 26 kindergartners. During the footage shown, Obama choked up, was unable to speak for a moment, and then went on to admit that he was “so angry”.Watching these former Presidents confront their role as “consolers in chief” it was obvious they were not just talking about an event, they were simultaneously sharing an emotional experience with every American. It was both a moving experience to relive those presidential moments, and an upsetting one as well. Trump is so insecure, even during times of mourning, he is focused on sounding tough. A real man’s masculinity is not threatened when he shows his vulnerability.Without actually knowing what mental health issues may apply to Donald Trump, one thing seems to be obvious; he does not seem to experience empathy. During the neo-Nazi “Unite The Right” rally in Charlottesville, NC in 2017, 32-year-old Heather D. Heyer was killed by a white supremacist who drove his car on the sidewalk where she was peacefully demonstrating.Days later Trump addressed the nation showing no anger or sadness, and announced, it was a terrible thing that happened, but “there were good people on both sides”. No heartfelt empathy for Heather’s family, no anger at the hatred spewed towards Jews during the march where White Supremacists chanted, “Jews will not replace us”. It appears Trump’s inability to show renders him incapable of being comforting and effectively managing the consequences of a crisis.In 2017, during Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico, Trump made many deprecating comments about the run-down conditions in the country prior to the storm. He also attacked the integrity of the mayor of San Juan, Carmin Yulin Cruz. On his visit to the devastated U.S. territory, the President famously through paper towels to the crowd who were probably more hungry than anything else. For months after the hurricane, despite the desperate conditions that existed, Trump continues to brag about the great job he did for Puerto Rico.During this pandemic, it has been reported Trump has spent the majority of his air time blaming China, Obama, the World Health Organization, and anyone else he can think of for the devastating loss of life by COVID-19. He is defensive, angry, but will occasionally make a comment about “there has been just too many deaths” without an inkling of being choked up about the loss of life. He fires people who report the disastrous statistics about COVID, contradicts the reported severity of the virus, and suggests the number of people reported to have died is probably inflated. His presentation during this pandemic has lacked the warmth and empathy deserving of a country that has lost more lives in 2 months than the combined deaths from the Vietnam and Korea Wars. He most recently said, ” we have to re-open our country. Some people will suffer, and maybe it will be really bad for some, but we have to restart our economy”. His rhetoric often argues money supersedes the value of lives.When you observe Trump during tragic events, he seems awkward and ill-at-ease. He comes across as if he is at a loss for what to do or say. Feeling empathy guides us to appropriately react to tragedy and loss. It helps us determine how to comfort and support those who are suffering. Trump will often make a robotic comment about how terrible or awful an event is, and then quickly pivot to what a great job he is doing at dealing with it. It’s as if he believes his words alone will prove he cares and is experiencing pain along with the sufferers. One can only wonder if he behaves in this cold, emotionless way because he suffers from a psychological problem that disables him from being able to experience empathy, or if he is just a power-hungry autocrat on a mission to destroy democracy and fill his pockets with as much money and power he can accumulate.Ari Melber was clearly moved while watching the tapes of the former presidents from both parties demonstrate their psychological ability to feel empathy, comfort others, and not bring attention to themselves. During a national crisis, a president of real character does not look for the opportunity to make a political maneuver, disparage an opponent, spread a conspiracy theory, or brag about themselves. Americans should understand how important it is to elect a President who is capable of empathy and emotionally uniting a country during difficult times instead of tearing it apart.

Leave a Reply