Sorry, I have to go on a quick rant here.
I was heading out the door, and went to turn off the TV which had MSNBC on. Trump had arrived in Houston, and it looked like there was a sort of greeting committee. And over the images, I heard the host Alex Witt say something like, "Oh, okay, there you are, Trump is now finally hugging someone.
I did something I almost never do, I literally shouted out involuntarily at the TV. "No he's not!!!" I snapped.
Trump was NOT "hugging" someone or showing empathy. He was literally doing a photo op. Two people came over to get their picture taken with him. They got on either side, and he posed with them, putting an arm around each woman. All three were smiling and cheery for the camera.
That is NOT "hugging" someone.
But it got worse. Because as I was calming down from my snap outburst, Ms. Witt then added, "So, he's showing a bit more empathy than he did before."
My body immediately twitched. I was just aghast. Empathy?? I'm just surprised that he didn't try to sell them a hat. Empathy? Hugging???
That is NOT "hugging" someone. It is NOT showing empathy. It is self-aggrandizement, making the moment about himself -- as all moments for Trump are. We know what hugging is, we know what empathy is. We know. But there was no one weeping, shaken, lost, in need of being comforted, in need of being supported by the purest of human contact. This was Trump posing for a picture with two smiling women!! It was basically a reception line. All that was missing was a waiter with a tray holding the hors d'oeuvres.
And the host talks about how this is "hugging" and showing a bit of "empathy."
And that's the polite term.
I mean, not only was it clearly not hugging and empathy -- but even if it had been, any reporter should have utterly know by this time in the Trump administration that it would have obviously been set up by his handlers as "This is really something you seriously have to do, sir, as much as you hate it." That is not "empathy." That's an empty soul of callousness. Only if we saw a real, true, outbreak of human emotion at the suffering of others would that show any human understanding, and given that we haven't seen it from Trump in 30 years, it seems incomprehensible that Ms. Witt thought it suddenly broke through here -- as he smiled, posing for the camera.
And more to the point, when are some hosts going to stop looking for a "pivot" from Trump. This is who he is. for god's sake. He's 71 years old, he's not changing. He's not pivoting. He's not pivoting to suddenly become "empathetic." You don't pivot to empathy. You're either an empathetic person or your not. And without detailing every instance that's pummeled us for the past two years, Trump is not an empathetic person. And he doesn't hug. Unless it's too his benefit. And even then, probably not.
So, just -- please. "Trump is finally hugging someone."
He was posing for a smiling picture with his arms around two people!!!
Dear Miss Witt, I know you can do better.
End of rant. Now I can go out...
Robert J. Elisberg is a political commentator, screenwriter, novelist, tech writer and also some other things that I just tend to keep forgetting.
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