Everything is always about him.
His ego, not the nation, is President Donald Trump’s first priority.
If he proved anything this week, it’s that the consoler-in-chief role isn’t made for a man with his short-circuited emotional range.
President Trump is tone deaf. He can’t even carry out a condolence call to a pregnant widow with kind words that comfort like an embrace. He can’t muster the pathos and empathy that the depths of grief call for.
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He doesn’t have it in him to be compassionate.
He doesn’t have it him to show, God forbid, an ounce of humility.
He doesn’t have it him to carry himself with the dignity and tact the presidency requires.
During the last 10 months, he’s shown that he’s one lousy commander in chief.
His latest infamy began with the whopping lie that President Barack Obama — who according to the accounts of those he touched with his words had all the class that Trump lacks — didn’t call the surviving relatives of servicemen and women killed in action.
There’s always an agenda behind Trump’s lies, sometimes hidden, sometimes in plain sight.
In the Obama lie, the agenda was his and his administration’s failure to explain for two weeks how and why four U.S. soldiers were killed in Niger. Stationed with hundreds of other troops to help locals fight terrorism, the soldiers were told not to expect enemy contact on what turned out to be a fatal mission to meet with community leaders.
With lots of unanswered questions, the president turned to the Obama lie to excuse his own conduct. He had not even thought to call the dead men’s families. From there, his behavior has only deteriorated.
Instead of honoring the fallen soldiers by highlighting who they were and what we lost — they truly were exemplary men — Trump brought new grief, especially to a Miami Gardens family.
Say his name, Mr. President: Sgt. La David Johnson.
Father. Husband. Son. Brother. Nephew.
He died a hero fighting terrorism with the U.S. Special Forces in Africa and now the nation knows him. He was loved in his community, too. “Willie King 305,” they called him in his neighborhood and on social media for his prowess riding a one-wheel bike of his creation.
He was 25. He promised his wife he would come home. His body wasn’t recovered for two days.
Say his widow’s name, Myeshia, Mr. President. He had her name tattooed across his chest.
She’s not “the woman,” as Trump has called her in his denials that he made disrespectful comments to this fallen hero’s wife just as she was about to meet his flag-draped coffin at Miami International Airport.
No, Congresswoman Frederica Wilson, a Miami Democrat who was in the car with Myeshia and heard part of the call on speaker, wasn’t lying when she said that Trump told the young widow that her husband knew “what he was signing up for.” As if his death were his fault. Nor was Wilson miscasting the comment that followed the impropriety, an also awkward acknowledgment by Trump that her husband’s death must hurt.
As he persists defending the indefensible, Trump engages in the same kind of tactless talk he used on the phone with Myeshia, further dishonoring and dehumanizing a grieving family. Trump claims it’s all “fabricated” for political reasons, but the family told the Washington Post they felt disrespected by the president. I believe them.
Anyway you look at it, President Trump botched the call to Myeshia Johnson, six months pregnant with the couple’s third child.
The scandal and its aftermath isn’t a political he said/she said. It’s another low, exposing once more the president’s basic lack of human decency.
His shortcomings are enough of a hindrance to leading and exercising the responsibilities that come with the highest office in the land. But worse yet, Trump doesn’t care to learn. What he sees in the mirror is perfect. He doesn’t care to learn how to develop compassion, humility, dignity and tact. That, in his warped mind, is a sign of weakness.
Johnson’s family deserves better than lies and distortion from a president incapable of stepping in their shoes and feeling for them.
“He didn’t sign up to die, he signed up to serve,” Wilson told the Miami Herald.
He deserves a hometown hero’s goodbye.
As if the Trump spectacle weren’t degrading enough, his local supporters are standing by their man — as they did during the campaign, when Trump verbally assaulted women, Mexicans, Muslims, and during the last 10 months as he’s told one shameless lie after another.
As the phone-call controversy raged, these people circulated on social media favorable fake Trump quotes they alleged were from the unrecorded phone call. They made fun of the congresswoman’s trademark hats and challenged her right to wear it. Not a kind word about the fallen hero.
That’s not patriotism.
It’s complicity with the Liar-in-Chief at the White House.
All the worse when a community is mourning the loss of a brave, hard-working, loving man named La David Johnson, patriot, and to his 2- and 6-year-old children, daddy. He had promised he would come home.