Amid a Rising Death Toll, Trump Leaves the Grieving to Others

Apr 30, 2020 · 542 comments
Kk (Seattle)
Deplorable is too kind. Had Trump had any shred of decency he would could have saved lives. He did not.
Chindhee (Wyoming)
Trump is a classic narcissist. He has no ability to display empathy or sympathy. Why do people still try to call him out on something he lacks? Like the definition of insanity: we do the same thing over and over and expect a different result. Trump appeals to similar people, narcissists with little or no compassion or empathy for anyone else. His gun-toting, bigoted MAGA army are much the same kinds of people. I pity their children and fear for their neighbors. Trump is indeed a monster, born and bred from monsters. His parents had to have been real pieces of work to create such a sociopath, and after all of his reckless damage, only sociopaths and narcissists will vote for him. Pity we don't have anyone better than Biden to pit against him.
Joan (nj)
in reply [email protected] a significant part of our country would do well with a “businessman”, certainly not Trump Bill Gates! innovator, earned his billions, philanthropist, humanitarian who puts his money where his mouth is, THAT is the kind of “businessman” I could vote for. Those of us who live in the NY metro area know that Trump is everything and more than we thought he would be. He has even outdone our low expectations. He is and has always been a total fraud. We can only save us from ourselves. Vote Blue in November
morphd (midwest)
Trump lacks empathy most of the time but there is his track record of pardoning war criminals and corrupt politicians to consider. It wouldn't be surprising if such empathy comes from him seeing a bit of himself in such people.
Mike S. (Eugene, OR)
I don't see this president as being at all reticent. I do see him as being reluctant. He is both unwilling and disinclined at many levels.
jackie (Canton, NY)
The guy can't win. If he's holding press briefings and saying stupid things, people want him to be invisible. Now he's trying to be invisible and people want him to be out there. There is no comparison to 911, OK City, Newtown... those were single events. Should he be out there every day consoling people?
Joan (nj)
not every day, but occasionally from the heart, not scripted. He is devoid of all emotion and humanity ( see children in cages)
Maureen (philadelphia)
The man who stood in the rubble of 9/11 and proclaimed his eponymous downtown building NYC's tallest has no empathy, kindness or sense of America. Trump is the same vapid, cruel grifter he has always been. Americans need to grieve. Flags at half stff and a moment of silence would be the only trump production worth remembering.o
Jordan Parish (Here)
Grieving is something one would only expect from those with a conscience...
bkbyers (Reston, Virginia)
Failure to show grief at the death of so many Americans reflects the president’s narcissistic fears. He’s always on defense. There are things he may realize but not acknowledge. One is the crumbling of an ancient myth that drove the founding of this nation: Puritan exceptionalism. Even with them, plagues and blights triggered hysterical reactions among the Massachusetts Bay colony. People were put to death because of their aberrant behavior. They were accused of being possessed by witches. Today, scientists are trying to get at the roots of the Covid-19 virus. It turns out that Nature does not care about American exceptionalism. Trump has frequently shown his disinterest in science and fact-based explanations about the virus. And his appointed head of the White House team combating the virus – Mike Pence – held himself safe enough so that he did not wear a mask in the Mayo Clinic. Only those deserve salvation (from the Covid-19 virus) who pay true homage and allegiance to Trump and his wacky ideas. All others are beyond the Pale. Especially Democrats, progressives and people of color. A proportional majority of Covid-19 deaths has occurred among African Americans but no single group of people has been spared. Yet, the president has not brought himself to address the nation in a day of mourning and offer encouraging words that together we will overcome this pandemic. The role of hope provider has gone to Dr. Fauci.
Sasquatch (Too close for comfort)
Someone really close to him has a coat or something like that that says something like, just a minute... I gotta remember, oh yeah, I really don't care, do U?
PoohBah2 (Oregon)
I will never forget President Barrack Obama.
dude (Philadelphia)
To be expected. And a significant part of the population loves this guy. Mourning and sympathy are liberal traits.
BillH (Seattle)
Lets face it. There are those of us who don't need donald to show empathy and those of us who would shudder at the sight of him speaking the words of grieving written for him by one of his speech writers. In other words, if he did say the words, would we believe he means them?
Allan (Virginia)
As this writing demonstrates, empathy isn't a trait exclusive to Democratic or Republican presidents - it's a critical human trait and one that needs to be demonstrated by our leaders at all levels of government and in our broader community (civic, business and religious leaders). A desire to provide hope shouldn't overtake the importance of showing deep care and concern for those families that have experience deep loss.
Casey (Memphis,TN)
Just another quality of the worst president in United States history.
PaulB67 (South Of North Carolina)
His base wouldn’t like Trump to reveal even a sliver of sympathy. They’d prefer it if he brought an AK-47 to the Oval Office, so he could aim it at cowering staff and White House reporters. Look, any President who would separate parents from their children, and place kids in wire fenced holding pens isn’t going to give a hoot for the many thousands of Covid-19 casualties. Callous indifference is all Trump’s got.
Long Time Fan (Atlanta)
His cruelty is one of the more appealing qualities for his supporters. He has an eager audience for his vileness. Gives you serious pause to think that almost half the country wants this.
Michael Gilbert (Charleston, SC)
I wonder what it would be like to have a real leader in the White House again. These past 3 years have seemed like more 30, with one unbelievable thing done by Trump followed by an even more unbelievable thing - nonstop. Of course Trump wouldn't show any compassion for the victims and their families, as he's too busy stirring up even more controversy, telling us how great he is, and fishing for compliments and thank yous to be bothered with grieving.
J. von Hettlingen (Switzerland)
In times of a national tragedy, the US president has, going back at least to Franklin Delano Roosevelt, filled the unique role of "consoler-in-chief." Lacking empathy amid a health emergency crisis, Trump weighs the economic costs, not the human ones. He seems to be thinking about something else: his own political future and his need for the economy to rebound quickly if he is to be re-elected in November. His callousness may one day come back to haunt him, especially if he loses his presidential immunity after January 2021.
Mathilda (New York)
@J. von Hettlingen You are quite right. Abraham Lincoln consoled in his inaugural addresses and in countless letters throughout the duration of the War of Rebellion. Our very first president sought to lead with mind and heart alike, and many of the presidents after him. The person who lives in the White House at present is incapable of consoling anyone, thanks to his boundless selfishness.
Michael J (California)
He views those cardboard coffins as merchandise that needs to be shipped and put out of sight, out of mind in his eyes.
The K, Not Murray (Oakland, Ca)
I thought Trump displayed a lot of empathy ... for Michael Flynn.
whaddoino (Kafka Land)
Even Giuliani felt genuine sorrow on 9/11.
G Livanos (Chapel Hill)
I value an executive who is at her/his best when things are worst. Clearly not the case for the subject of this article.
Robert (Red bank NJ)
The Times has done a very good job of covering the many faults and failures of the president. It's an exhausting job and as a reader it just increases the frustration as a citizen and as ahuman that we as a people put him in charge. I am sure his strong evangelical core have very different vews on honoring and acknowedging the departed. I hope that soon Trump departs and the Times can stop reporting on his tremendous and powerful faults. An awful president who thinks he is tremendous and continues to laud his action in this pandemic. Somehow he will blame others mainly the Chinese for this problem but the people of this country cannot forget that his denial of the threat and ignoring the scientific community has unfortunately caused too many people to become sick and perish. I blame him!
Iconoclast (Earth)
@Robert Don't forget that Trump's initial response to news of this devastating, new Corona Virus was to politicize it by claiming it was a, "Democrat Hoax." His slow response actually cost real, human lives that cannot be returned. This was all due to his dismissive arrogance.
Kent (NC)
A failure to show empathy is another indication that trump has a personality disorder. Others have written about his narcissism and empathic disorders fit this pattern. The man is NOT stable much less a stable genius.
Susan Anderson (Boston)
Trump and his henchpeople are really good at destruction. (Remember his main qualifications: bankruptcy, bullying, blaming victims, and profiteering) He doesn't care about other people's lives unless he can get some advantage from said other person.
Gustav Aschenbach (Venice)
@Susan Anderson You know who else is "really good at destruction?" The devil.
Rick Gage (Mt Dora)
That's not "resolve" Trump is emphasizing, it's a lack of empathy that is common among sociopaths. Trump isn't much for grieving. He's not much of a human being either.
patricia (NoCo)
And now he's not releasing FEMA money that can be used for burial costs resulting from disasters. This has been done for hurricane Sandy and other disasters.
Mark (Mt. Horeb)
What's been clear about Trump since the outset is that underneath all the bluster and brag is someone who is terrified. Allowing himself to feel anything but rage is unacceptable, because if he ever stops hiding from his vulnerability, he's afraid the whole facade of his ego would be destroyed. He's deeply mentally ill. I hope he can get help someday, but we can't leave him in the Oval Office while people are dying. 25th Amendment time, now.
Gustav Aschenbach (Venice)
@Mark He should be very afraid of having to answer for his corrupt and self-serving life if there really is any justice in the afterlife.
Li (Santa Cruz, CA)
Trump’s new reality show, ”Presidential Apprentice. 30 million fired.
Gustav Aschenbach (Venice)
@Li One million infected, 60,000 dead and counting: Success!
Gustav Aschenbach (Venice)
Excellent political correctness, Mr. Baker. The angle from which you portray this little man makes him look...strong, powerful, and very big, to use his own favorite words. In a world with humility, compassion and a moral compass, a man expressing empathy would be considered normal. In trumpland, however, he is mocked and laughed at, the way trumplandians derided Obama who was weak enough to shed tears when 20 children were slaughtered at close range in Newtown. Imagine how an average woman would react if president today. Thank the trump-god that we don't have to see that kind of emotionalism! In trumpland, sociopathy is the goal. People, American ideals, Christian values, are just means to an end. trumplandians thank you, Mr. Baker, for extending your calculated political correctness and helping to make sociopathic behavior palatable.
Quizical (Maine)
Trump speaks about Stanley Chera’s death like Ebenezer Scrooge expresses his emotionless inclinations about the death of his longtime partner Jacob Marley as a good “man of business”. Unfortunately, unlike Scrooge I don’t think there will be any Christmas morning epiphanies with Mr Trump....
Sam (Berkeley, CA)
Why isn’t this your top headline? Can you imagine Roosevelt, Truman, Eisenhower, Kennedy, Ford, Reagan, Bush I & II, Clinton, or Obama not mourning our dead and offering comfort, care and sympathy to fellow citizens? It’s unconscionable that our “leader” is so cold hearted and cruel. He has driven a wedge between this country’s citizens that I never thought possible and now he doesn’t even seem to care about his loyal followers. It’s horrible enough that he wouldn’t care about all of us, but does he not even realize that his supporters are dying too? Or does he think his voters are immune?
Truth (NYC)
I urge everyone to revisit paragraph #20 and click through to read the account of Bush 43's NYC visit post-9/11. Do this irrespective of your politics if you can (admittedly difficult, given W's reputation and record). What's striking is the sheer humanity. Talk about rising to an occasion and embodying what's needed in a time of crisis; President Bush had his flaws and failures, but, arguably, not on that day. By God, do we ever need a compassionate consoler-in-chief now. You know...a real President. Be safe. And please exercise your right to vote in November.
Helen (FMiami)
Trump ordered by proclamation that all American flags at military installations, federal facilities, and the White House be flown at half-staff for a nation in mourning. That was in August 2019 after the mass shootings in El Paso and Dayton. He went on to say that the nation was mourning and sharing the grief of the families. Where are those flags flying half staff today in every state in this country and left up with each daily report of the horrific death toll of this epidemic? Is it an optic he cannot afford to show for his failure to accept his responsibility in this crisis. In his twisted mind, he may just consider the departed as "collateral damage" as a war time president. Despicable.
NYer (NYC)
"Trump Leaves the Grieving to Others"? As with most things, our strutting and preening Lilliputian of a president prefers for the hard, painful work to be done by others. So he can strut some more... Leaving aside his pathological lack of any tinge of human empathy or sympathy...
Precarious (California)
He think he cares? He’s a sociopath. A sociopath is a term used to describe someone who has antisocial personality disorder (ASPD). People with ASPD can’t understand others’ feelings. They’ll often break rules or make impulsive decisions without feeling guilty for the harm they cause. People with ASPD may also use “mind games” to control friends, family members, co-workers, and even strangers. They may also be perceived as charismatic or charming.
ricardo (UK)
This is how sociopaths behave. Clearly they bond also, as Kushner demonstrated with his revolting remark that " this is a great success story and I think that that's really what needs to be told." I suspect he will need to beef up his private security detail after November.
P. Naumann (Seattle)
No grief when he's gone.
peter (ny)
"Amid a Rising Death Toll, Trump Leaves the Grieving to Others" Show of hands, who is surprised by this? No one's surprised? As expected. As a Nation, we are embarrassed by this clown and his court-jesters daily.
ROK (MPLS)
How, at this point, people don't get that the man is a sociopath is beyond me. He doesn't do empathy. He does not CHOOSE to not be empathetic - he can't empathize because he has a broken brain.
Brad Steele (Da Hood, Homie)
Trump has been avoiding the topic because he is concerned it will hurt the sales of his Trump-branded body bags and casket line.
Thomas (Hollywood)
The two most important qualities humans need to live a principled and worthwhile life are empathy and shame. Trump has neither.
TL (CT)
That's because he's too busy watching TV to check on his ratings, which is so tremendously important, even skipping lunch while doing so, as he's the hardest working US President in history, ever!
WLA (Southern California)
The right has sold heartlessness as a virtue for the past 40 years and Trump is the exact embodiment of that. Empathy and compassion is for losers in their mind.
Donya (Alexandria, VA)
Because he thinks that the country should grieve for him, since this pandemic might cost him his reelection.
k richards (kent ct.)
He should not be our President. Period.
Mikki (Oklahoma/Colorado)
Trump lacks empathy and when he does try to express empathy, it's obvious he's empty inside and feels nothing for anyone but himself. So, PLEASE spare the American people from the histrionics of him pretending to care and don't encourage him to do something he's unable to do.
Peter (Syracuse)
Trump is pathologically unable to show grief, compassion, empathy or any other remotely human emotion. That's the result of being raised by parents who spent their lives telling him he was worthless.
H. Clark (Long Island, NY)
If Trump can't muster the emotional energy to exhibit even an iota of compassion or empathy for the dead and sick, he could at least send the wife out to feign something similar. And please, don't wear the "I Don't Really Care, Do U?" jacket.
blip (St. Paul, MN)
The creature is a sociopath. It is incapable of feeling empathy. Why should it play-act at grief?
Phyliss Dalmatian (Wichita, Kansas)
We’ve gone from having a National Mourner to a National Scorner. Ain’t it just Grand. NOVEMBER.
Deb (CT)
Showing humanity is just not in trump's wheelhouse. He can't even try. It just does not exist within him to care about others. To show remorse, compassion, empathy or kindness--ever. To lead people--to give them hope, is just not something he is capable of. Most of us recognize that to be a leader you must care about the people you lead. trump has shown us over and over again--he only cares about trump. I don't know why we keep being surprised at this. I hope we can do better next time. But with trump's nasty non-stop mud slinging, a weak opposition, and now a third party candidate to sap votes from Biden, I am more discouraged than ever. Many of us have said that trump's presidency would not end well for America--each day this becomes more true. Look at where we are ......
JM (NJ)
The stronger you are, the more comfortable you are with sharing your grief. And the better you are at lending that strength to others, who need to be lifted up. That he is unable to show sorrow for others' losses is a sign of how afraid he is of his own. And his weakness is evident in his lack of ability to embolden the hearts of others. Maybe this time next year, we'll have a president who truly understands the strength you need to get through times like these.
JM (San Francisco)
@JM Let's show Trump what "powerful" and "strong" really look like in our voting response against him in November.
Pamela (NYC)
I cried during and after Andrew Cuomo's first press briefing on the COVID-19 outbreak in New York. The tears rolled down my face just from the sheer relief of hearing a normal leader give a normal, humane address at a time of terror, the kind of address we would expect and need and that brings comfort, the kind rooted in the moment and in reality and free from politics and exploitation, the kind we took for granted in the past from presidents and high officials in times of tragedy but which we as a nation have lost these three vicious years, sometimes seemingly forever it feels. I cried for New York and for our country and I cried just for the reemergence of normal sane leadership in the form of someone who could feel and express sorrow and grief and love and care - for his fellow humans, not just for himself. I've been so numb that I didn't allow myself until that moment to feel grief for all that we have lost as a nation under Trump.
Homer (Utah)
@Pamela Many of us non-New Yorkers cried with you. Cuomo is a great leader and hopefully he will be around for a while to stay part of the leadership of your state and our nation.
Zara1234 (West Orange, NJ)
@Pamela You can add New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy to the list of leaders who have consistently shown empathy, compassion and grief during this pandemic. His briefings are such a stark contrast to Trump's briefings, in which the President and his advisors even refuse to update us with the number of new cases and new deaths, and present the current situation as a remarkable and incredible success story.
JM (San Francisco)
@Pamela I write Cuomo a thank you as often as I can. Here's the link. Just takes a few seconds. https://www.governor.ny.gov/content/governor-contact-form Even from California, we need to give our attention to and support those INCREDIBLE LEADERS who exemplify ALL THAT IS GOOD IN AMERICA! Do the same for our Gov Newsome.
Ken Nyt (Chicago)
I honestly don’t believe that Donald J. Trump can even feel grief unless he can imagine himself the personally injured party. That is, Trump could only grieve for Trump. But since blame always immediately overwhelms every other instinct, this is purely a conceptual thought exercise.
adam stoler (bronx ny)
@Ken Nyt it is truly ironic that the right wing has forever portrayed the roles being played by the truly aggrieved in America, the discriminated against, the people of color , women, who ARE true victims, Yet, they have been thoroughly demeaned for acting as victims. These roles have been so cleanly usurped so that now the "victims" are white aggrieved entitled priveleged +advantaged white males. Like trump. Excuse me? You demean then co-op? Excuse me for turning my back on their "cries" in disgust .
Manuela (Mexico)
If Trump declared national mourning, he would call attention to his own culpability in the soaring death rate. And even without that, I think it is evident that empathy is not something this man has emotional access to. I have said before that if he were not in the position he were in - where he holds the future of the world in his pitifully useless hands - I would feel sorry for a man so devoid of the more normal human ability to connect with others.
R Mandl (Canoga Park CA)
Something about Trump's base always baffles me the most: How can people who claim such piety follow and worship a man who has absolutely none? President Obama was a Christian and a genuine family man, and didn't have to pretend at either- and the right vilified him. What gives?
Anand Prahlad (India)
I think Trump has read the pulse of the nation. I think most of us care about opening up the economy quickly, & so he's focused on that. Mourning while important, can wait.
jal (the heartland)
I wouldn't want him to even attempt to show compassion on a large scale for those we have lost. Imagine the poor grammar, the various unrelated trains of thought, the pure, unabashed narcissism that we would be subjected to...it would be a national embarrassment...he would do more harm than good.
John Rudoff (Portland, Oregon)
I am of a generation and background that does not automatically equate showing emotion with either strength, emotional depth, or commonality with one's fellows. But ... This ruinous imitation of a person, this Frankensteinian monster who bounds out of a helicopter to greet bereft parents after a school shooting with a huge grin and a 'thumbs up' gesture, is an example of what is missing when an essential portion of a soul is missing. Paraphrasing David Brooks, "People without social emotions like empathy are not objective decision-makers. They are sociopaths." We say we want a 'mourner in chief'; but what we really want is some signal that he is really a human being 'like us.' But he is not, never was, and can't even pretend. And, for the record, his utter lack of empathy and human understanding is the very, very least of his defects.
LizB (NY)
I'm sure that one of his few remaining aides will call his attention to this article, to be followed shortly by a sour-faced begrudging photo-op in which the president will mumble "best wishes" to a still-grieving family member. Remember, this is the man who told Christians on Twitter to have a "Happy Good Friday!"
arcadia65 (nj)
“The president does prefer promoting a public image of strength,” Mr. Nunberg said. That's not the image I get from him. I get the image that he is so far in over his head he can't function. But he can say, tremendous, strong, and powerful a lot.
HMP (Florida)
Mr. Trump can at the very least resuscitate the meaningless and shallow tweet "Melania and I keep you in our thoughts and prayers" which he has uttered after so many other tragedies in the course of his presidency. Is that so very difficult to say? We are talking about 60,000 of our fellow citizens and those they left behind. Their numbers surely would be acknowledged if they were fans at one of his self-serving rallies. Mr. Trump is a callous and cruel shell of a human being. My true sympathies go out to every soul lost in this national and world-wide epidemic.
RICHARD WILLIAMS MD`WE (DAVIS, CA)
Trump displays no empathy because he has none; he is a pure sociopath who could have stepped off the pages of a psychiatry textbook. This has long been apparent. As a single example anyone beyond elementary school age who is capable of mocking, on television, a disabled man, has a sociopathic personality disorder. This diagnosis does not mean that an individual is Ted Bundy, but that he is entirely incapable of concern for anyone except himself. As we have seen for more than three years, this precludes being an effective President. It is an untreatable an irreversible state.
Suryasmiles (AK)
He has no soul, why would he? How can anyone think he’s an actual friend, unless money is involved, “his” great this, his great that, his “great” economy. The fakeness of evangelicals fawning over him in the Oval Office praying over, or with him (he’s never truly prayed in his life) is disgraceful for those of us who are truly faithful. I’ve thought these past 5 years, if something were to befall him, it will be a sad day when we’d have to watch half the nation mourn him, the rest of us would stay home, radios and TVs off. So much for a great nation, with no respected leader. I dread that day. The American flags, MAGA hats, assault weapons, conspiracy theories of his death will abound.
Judith Nelson (NYC)
Strength is one thing. Indifference is not strength.
A. jubatus (New York City)
I think it's high time that we stop looking for character traits in our excuse for a president that simply don't exist. He is not kind or compassionate; empathetic or nurturing; intelligent or even curious. He is, however, mean and vindictive; thin-skinned and envious; vain and shallow. Keep in mind that he was elected because of his character, not in spite of it. This is what America wanted because this is what a lot of America is. Why we keep expecting something different is beyond me.
Sydney Carton (LI NY)
I believe his WH staff has tried different taped exercises with him trying to appear caring and empathetic; they watched and quickly concluded it won't work.
Joe (Redmond, WA)
It takes heart to be able to relate to suffering of others. It takes soul to be able to have empathy. It takes wisdom to know when to do the right thing. It takes leadership to be willing to admit failings and accept responsibility. No one should be surprised that Trump has not been gracious or caring about the 63,000+ dead and their mourning families and friends. The man equates that death toll as a personal affront to his re-election chances. That is why he minimizes the toll and the suffering to being "a great job when we could have lost millions". No one should have any expectation that Donald Trump is capable of human emotion beyond the constant stroking of his own ego.
quizmo (Bucks County, Pa.)
This is the president who said, in early April, that the country must open sooner rather than later, and that the global pandemic must then be "quickly forgotten." Of course. He wants no scrutiny, no evaluation nor assessment of his missteps and mishandling of this crisis from the very beginning. Just like Chernobyl, there was first outright denial. Then came minimizing the scope and impact. The big difference is that the Soviet Union eventually owned the cleanup and didn't dump it into the laps of those affected. Trump is only too happy to shirk responsibility and let states fight this with no coordinated national plan. No leadership. It's beyond shameful.
T. Giarratano (NYC)
The lack of the ability to empathize is central to many psychiatric conditions, empathy is affected by neurodevelopment and psychiatric illness. The 2017 book, "The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump" by Brandy X Lee, a forensic psychiatrist, describes with other Mental Health professionals the clear and present danger of Trump. Former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has been quoted recently as saying that if unchecked Trump is going to kill people. We've been warned. The lack of the ability to empathize is central to many psychiatric conditions, empathy is affected by neurodevelopment and psychiatric illness. The 2017 book, "The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump" by Brandy X Lee, a forensic psychiatrist, describes with other Mental Health professionals the clear and present danger of Trump. Former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has been quoted recently as saying that if unchecked Trump is going to kill people. We've been warned.
Ramesh Sargam (Bengaluru, India)
Everyone calls North Korea's Kim Jong Un as the worst dictator. But now some of Trump's actions suggest that Kim is far better than him. Absolutely no concern towards US citizens lives. Instead of grieving the 64,000 deaths, he keeps meeting the executives of some of the retail giants like Walmart and Rose Garden. What is his intention? Why he avoid meeting the grieving public? Has he already started 'fund raising' from rich business people and from big business houses to contest the next Presidential elections??
Robert Schulz (Princess Anne , Maryland)
Why is anyone surprised by Trumps behavior. He is totally and exclusively focused on himself. I doubt that he has ever had a meaningful relationship with another human being
John Burke (NYC)
Of course he doesn't want to do that or anything that underscores the massive tragedy flowing from his abysmal failure. But it's just as well since no one would believe any pretense of grief coming from Trump. Crocodile tears.
Sentient Rube (Town With One Traffic Light)
We all need to stop wasting time paying attention to Trump. It does no good whatsoever. He's historically awful in every imaginable way. Got it. Can we please move on? There is work to do, and we don't have time anymore for the clown show. Right now it's all about three things: 1. Staying safe and being responsible, supportive, and kind to each other. 2. Helping Democrats win as much as possible on November 3. If you're in a state with no competitive races, find competitive ones elsewhere and support Democrats however you can. For the presidency, it's all about the swing states, and while you're at it, Adios, Susan Collins, Don't let the door hit you on the way out, Mitch, would also be nice, for example. 3. No matter what it takes, on November 3, vote. And remember, the only thing Trump fears more than the inside of a jail cell is being ignored.
ARNP (Des Moines, IA)
Compassion? Grief? Comfort? This is the man who ridiculed the parents of an American soldier who died in combat. This is the man who denigrated John McCain for being a prisoner of war and subjected to torture. This is the man who dismissed the combat death of someone's loved one with, "He knew what he signed up for" (or words to that effect). My family member (a nurse) survived 15 days on a vent (Covid+) only to be left severely disabled. I dare Trump to call me with his "condolences."
Vernon (Bristol City)
The callous attitude of Trump should come as no surprise, since he is, and has been almost always, exhibiting egotistical and whimsical behaviors, from time immemorial. He is most likely heading towards the distinction of ''being the most obdurately affectless POTUS, so far''. As a greenhorn in politics, Trump has, apparently and singularly, refused to learn from mistakes, and declined to even acknowledge errors he has already committed, despite unshakable evidences. The kerfuffle he has created, almost singlehandedly, and aided by his retinue, most notably his son-in-law Jared Kushner, still seems to permeate in the air, and has been fouling it up as well. Trump's stone face has, perhaps, lost the ability to feel with those, who are grieving from natural and other types of calamities. He seems to be hermetically sealed in an alternate universe. During any public mourning episodes, Trump's utter lack of pathos, and his somniferous enumeration of any details have been baked into his cake of how he comported himself. One wonders if Trump is really hardwired to express only dudgeon, rather than due diligence. He had the audacity to call the COVID-19, something like a tempest in a teapot. To epitomize, he will continue to remain incorrigible.
Pat (Denver)
Those who voted for Trump in 2016 knew well what they were getting with him and this story will open none of their eyes. There are those among his supporters (and I've heard this myself) who rationalize his behavior by saying that he actually does have empathy and concern for others; he just has trouble expressing it. I'm not sure even they really believe this, however. Having said this, I do feel these kinds of articles are important. It is worthwhile to compare Trump to former presidents and point out what the qualities are that the majority of us want in our president. When supporters push back at my criticism of Trump with rationalizations and justifications, my response has become: 'Why do you tolerate all of this behavior from Trump? Why have you set the bar so low? Why shouldn't we expect more from the leader of this country?'
Martinl (Ireland)
“There are only two kinds of people who are really fascinating: people who know absolutely everything, and people who know absolutely nothing.” (Oscar Wilde) I wonder what category the President falls into.
Rolfneu (California)
Trump is incapable of empathy or genuine sympathy for others. His narcism and self-absorbed personality does not allow him to absorb the loss or grief others are experiencing. We are looking for a character trait that does not exist in Trump. Even as thousands have died and millions have been impacted by the scourge of this virus, all that Trump can do is to self congratulate and be the victim since were it not but for this virus everything was perfect because he made everything perfect. Of course we know that many structural deficiencies exist in our system which have made this virus more adversely impactful for certain groups and country as a whole. This pandemic has served to highlight the many structural problems that need to be addressed. We need a president who is capable of empathy and giving comfort to the people who have suffered so much.
Tom Brown (NYC)
The simple truth is that the man currently serving as president cares about no one other than himself. We could pile up the examples endlessly, but there is no other reasonable conclusion. I strongly disliked President GW Bush and objected to nearly all of his policies. I doubted his basic competence, but never his humanity. But this man is different. Why is it that this man is never invited to speak at any major state funeral or any other solemn occasion, such as the service for former President Bush? Because the planners know that it would be unseemly, even indecent. In Washington, that is a sentiment that crosses party lines and is fully shared even by many or most who support him politically. Probably most adults, at some point in our lives, have encountered somebody like this, the guy who thinks that it's all about him. He gets away with it because a certain number of people around him, for complicated reasons, persist in seeing something that just isn't there. A person like this benefits from the blindness, opportunism and self-deception of a critical mass of his fellow human beings. For him, others have value only as a means of self-aggrandizement. But they line up to sacrifice their happiness for him. They watch impassively as a succession of other loyalists learn just how expendable they really are. He can even be exposed repeatedly as a fraud, and yet they will keep flocking to him and angrily and aggressively defending him. That is the real mystery.
Kirk Bready (Tennessee)
People vary in their capacity for empathy and compassion. A few may, by nature, be devoid of those capacities. Others may selectively reject the inclination to care about and extend a kindness to others. In the latter case, there's a moral bargain involved; when empathy and compassion are fully engaged, they impose the often weighty burden we call conscience. Not all will accept the sacrifice it may include. So, when demagogues arise that apply their example and authority to encourage rejection of the conscience that informs a culture's better nature, many will grope into the darkness that follows... until the consequences begin to exact their toll. Behold the pale horse this time. Thus this mortal episode looms as a dark lesson about our values and the choices before us. If we respond with a generous commitment to loving care for one another, we will heal in body, mind and spirit... to prepare a better world, a brighter light for our children to follow.
H. Clark (Long Island, NY)
Trump is not only a fraud and a failure, but his palpable lack of compassion, empathy and care for his fellow human beings is mind-boggling. It's as if he came from another planet with no clue how to act like a human being. He is an unmitigated disaster on so many levels, yet it's his scarcity of empathy that is most galling. And no, Susan Collins, he certainly has not learned his lesson.
George (Chicago)
@H. Clark . Very true! I live in Chicago I but have made contributions to the campaings to oust Mitch McCconnell and Susan Collins. If he gets reelected (Heavens forbid) at least he won't get the support of those sycophants in the Senate. I hope more people do that in other crucial races!
Sue-Czar (Livonia, MI)
I did not vote for Trump and cannot imagine why anyone did. Spare me your theories of the unheard and ignored voters who just wanted to shake things up. I blame anyone who voted for him as much as I blame Trump. These voters’ willful ignorance has cost lives.
JM (East Coast)
I vividly remember him finding it inconvenient to call gold star families or when he did, he was totally devoid of comforting messages. Articles don’t even deserve to be written about his lack of empathy because it doesn’t exist. Didn’t he even talk about himself and his business success during his own father’s eulogy? Instead of dedicating space to his moral failings, we should be able to read 100 more stories celebrating those actually working, saving lives, and enduring during this pandemic.
Jane Miller (Scottsdale, Arizona)
In the distorted landmine of thought inside his head where nothing exists but money and selflove, trump must believe his name on the stimulus checks is an expression of sympathy.
db2 (Phila)
How much does grieving pay?
Andy (San Francisco)
Trump always projects. When he yells Fake News, he means it's true and he's lying. When he calls others corrupt, he's thinking of his own corruption. When he says we're strong and powerful, he clearly feels weak and out of his depth -- which he's been all along, but hasn't had to acknowledge thanks to his Republican enablers. Now, finally, the virus, the death numbers and the polls have revealed how non-existent his "leadership" (cough) is, how poorly he's performed and how helpless he's been in the face of it. He is actually the neediest and weakest (and most inept and most corrupt) leader we've ever had in the White House and it's a shame we've sunk to this level of incompetence. He has been hampered by his own neediness and weakness, by his fear of a sinking stock market. And tens of thousands of Americans have died and tens of thousands more will die before this is over. Despite being old himself, he's sacrificed the seniors in nursing homes with a zero response. Truly, the Republicans en masse, by backing this weak little man, are the collective Grim Reaper party. Many of these deaths are on them.
Janet DiLorenzo (New York, New York)
@Andy I had a conversation yesterday with a man I believe is intelligent, caring and aware of the current situation. He will vote for Trump again! Why I asked. Whatever his answer, the overriding reason is, he hates Democrats and all they stand for. Republicans are fiscally far more responsible, he detests Nancy Pelosi. When I claimed Trump to be immoral, a liar, and unfit for the office, he claimed to be aware of much of what Trump spews out, but still defended his policies. How do you argue against a man whose values begin and end with "money"?
Andy (San Francisco)
@Janet DiLorenzo You may want to point out to him that the Republicans only have the *appearance* of being fiscally responsible— but aren’t. They jawbone to deny Democrats but their actions when they’re in charge belie this. Just like they only have the appearance of being good with our security, when in reality they cozy up to Putin and actually spread his propaganda. After the Republican tax cut for the wealthiest, our deficit was trashed. Now, with COVID-19 and their response — massive but without supervision and oversight, thanks to Trump — it will be a bear to deal with for generations. I don’t know why the Republicans have a kneejerk reaction to women like Pelosi and Hillary. It’s probably their inability to deal with strong women — it gets in the way of their 1950s credo.
Michael G. (Colorado)
Do presidents routinely lead days of national mourning for the 50,000+ who die from the regular flu each season in the U.S.? Should presidents lead a national day of mourning for the 35,000 who die from car accidents every year in the U.S.? Is that what true leadership would look like?
MB (California)
Dear Michael, 63K people have died in the course of 2 months. Actually 40K in the last month. These deaths have happened while the government was apparently doing something about it. Do you not see the difference. Even in the case of the flu the infections in the population are massive and a few deaths happen over a 12 month period. In the future Covid will be one of the regular causes of death as happens. But right now it is at epidemic proportions. I realize supporting Trump is more important to his supporters than supporting the country. Perhaps we needed a pandemic to show us that there is truly evil in the world masquerading as a noble political cause.
Doug (San Francisco)
I have never particularly cared for this expectation of a president as Consoler in Chief. Grief is personal. Trump's reasons for not continuing this 'tradition' are likely driven by his desire to be seen as a 'strong leader' like Putin and Xi, but if they break the media expectation of Consoler in Chief messaging, all the better.
JD (Portland, OR)
Trump is grieving. He’s grieving that he blew it by dismissing the coronavirus earlier this year. He’s grieving that his poll numbers are dropping. He’s grieving the Dow is no longer pushing 30K. He’s grieving because his daily White House coronavirus briefings were hurting him politically. He’s grieving because he cannot hold his rallies. He’s grieving because he’s stuck in the White House. He’s grieving because hydroxychloroquine, internal UV light, or injected/ingested bleach are not a miracle treatments. He’s grieving because a vaccine likely won’t arrive until after the November election. He’s grieving because the American Covid-19 death toll—highest in the world—is hurting him politically. He’s grieving because he’s being upstaged and outsmarted by many of the nation’s governors and mayors. He’s grieving because there’s no evidence the coronavirus spilled out of a Wuhan lab. He’s grieving because his personal business industry is one of the hardest hit by the coronavirus. He is grieving because the pandemic places common good above personal liberty. He is grieving that he will likely lose to Joe Biden in 6 months. He is grieving for himself.
Janet DiLorenzo (New York, New York)
@JD I believe this to be true, first and foremost, somewhere in his soul, he may be grieving for the victims, but doesn't know how to express it. Nor it appears does his family! You can bet that Michelle Obama, would have by now been front and center consoling the bereaved.
Is_the_audit_over_yet (MD)
DJT is not ignoring the grieving. He simply does not care. There’s a difference. Vote 2020 & Support Amy McGrath for Senate!
Tom ,Retired Florida Junkman (Florida)
There is a time and there will be a place where we can grieve, the tears themselves will help to drowned out the sorrow.
Paul from Oakland (SF Bay Area)
This is a fine article, capturing Trump's utter indifference to the suffering and death that COVID-19 has brought (in part thanks to his incompetence and his" business above all" religion). But I thought the lede (in the online edition) was just misleading, using the word "resolve" as the reason for his refusal to acknowledge the 50,000 official deaths the pandemic has caused so far in the US.
Brian (Vancouver BC)
He is incapable of an empathetic response. Just as disconcerting, he is incapable of physically connecting. All Presidents need rigorous security, yet all other Presidents have found ways to be seen sometimes near, say, a sidewalk. Not this bubble boy! He is seen on the Whitehouse lawn, briefing events, Mar a Lago, exiting helicopter, on a tarmac, entering a big plane, centerstage in a tiny arena with screened attendees. But not near a sidewalk. That’s a bit creepy. This is a man, a “populist” with an aversion to the population.
KEF (Lake Oswego, OR)
For an Emperor having no clothes, that he's an empty suit as well - doesn't leave much, does it.
Dk (S Delaware)
Our profoundly immoral Trump has lost his empathy emotion decades ago . That is why he is pushing to open business up when the virus is still infecting thousands daily and still high death rates.
Mike (NYS)
Of course he leaves the grieving to others. He has no empathy for anything other than his wallet.
Trish S (Nevada)
Don't kid yourself. He has no softer side mysteriously hidden from public view. He is a crumbling, brittle, hopelessly confused dotard trying desperately to somehow face a world of people with absolutely no respect for him. If I was a patient or if I had lost a family member and his aides had talked him into "comforting" me, I would hide, run away, protest. I hope people get a choice about whether they want this apparition anywhere near them.
RLW (Chicago)
How can anyone as narcissistically self-absorbed as Donald J. Trump be concerned about the loss and pain of others. If we have learned anything about Trump over the past four years it is that Donald Trump is interested in nothing or no one else but Donald Trump. He is incapable of feeling empathy or compassion because his emotional capacity is entirely consumed with the well-being of Donald Trump. Anyone who feels that this president cares anything about individual Americans who may be hurting at this time must be as delusional as the president they worship.
Will (CA)
Having Trump lead the mourning would be a little like asking the murderer to give the eulogy at a funeral. Let's be thankful that this is yet another duty he has shirked.
uga muga (miami fl)
Now that narcissism and narcissistic personality disorder have entered the vernacular thanks to Trump, I submit a new entry. Attachment disorders. People with these conditions have no use for numerous social compacts developed over five millennea across cultures for the purpose of defining and maintaining social order down to the family level. These compacts encompass law, ethics, morality and family values.
Joshua Rose (Brooklyn, NY)
It’s high time that journalists stop ascribing Trump’s absence of empathy to his political style and call it what it is: pathological narcissism. And it’s also time that mental health professionals stop cowering behind the Goldwater Rule and publically state what they all say in private: he is psychologically unfit to be president.
lynchburglady (Oregon)
Trump doesn't understand the concept of compassion. Just like he doesn't understand the concept of truth. Trump truly doesn't care about anyone other than himself. Trump is very limited in his personality...all he has is bluster, fantasy, and fear. His fear is all about people not liking him, or him getting hurt somehow, or him not being the master of all he surveys. He really is a very small man. And he's proving that every single day.
Rick (Blaine, MN)
Craig Shirley, a longtime Republican operative and Reagan biographer, said presidents like Reagan, Abraham Lincoln and Franklin D. Roosevelt. Give me a break Shirley, how in the world can you even think of writing about Ronald Reagan is the same sentence as Lincoln and FDR, the greatest presidents of the 19th and 20th Century. President Reagan was an amiable dunce, without a teleprompter, he was lost.
Marge Keller (Midwest)
I have had friends and co-workers pass away because of this virus. Extremely sincere, comforting and supportive words have been spoken from the city's mayor. The last person I need want to hear hollow, empty and insincere condolences from is this knucklehead. I much prefer his enormous "sounds of silence" because at least in that regard, he is being truthful and honest about he sees these deaths - which is hollow, empty and and insincere. His silence is probably the only time he has been truthful or honest about anything since taking office. His silence speaks volumes.
nzierler (New Hartford NY)
I cringe watching Trump completely devoid of pathos when he speaks of the death toll. I am left to wonder, is absence of empathy innate or acquired? Listening to presidential historians Bechloss, Meacham, Kearns-Goodwin say that empathy in a president is an indispensable characteristic, it is so appalling that it is absent in Trump, who is so wrapped up in himself there is no room to feel the pain of others.
Agent 99 (SC)
‘They would like to have the people come off. I’d rather have the people stay [on the ship]. But I’d go with them. I told them to make the final decision. I would rather — because I like the numbers being where they are. I don’t need to have the numbers double because of one ship that wasn’t our fault.’ — President Trump self explanatory
Suryasmiles (AK)
Let’s hope all on that ship, remember that at the voting booth in November. “His” numbers.
Jim (Placitas)
If there is one constant in the character of Donald Trump, it is selfishness. He measures everything he says and does against a calculus of how he benefits. If there is no benefit, there is no action on his part. He would ask "Why would I do something that I don't get something out of in return?" Some might say that he would benefit by showing empathy, because it would help people see him as more human which, in turn, might boost his popularity. I don't think he's capable of making that connection, because it is too oblique, isn't a direct enough cost/benefit calculation. This is a characteristic of narcissism, an inability to think beyond the immediacy of personal gratification, no matter the cost. There is no play book or road map of presidential decorum in times of tragedy that would make sense to Donald Trump. Even the apologia offered by his supporters, that he sees public displays of emotion as weakness while he prefers to present an image of strength, clearly shows that he sees this as all about himself, his image, how he looks. The victims and their families, their needs, what they might benefit from his compassion never enters into the equation. This is a man bereft of emotion, absent of compassion. His governance of of the country reflects these deep flaws.
WTig3ner (CA)
“ 'I don’t think anybody could feel any worse than I do about all of the death and destruction that’s so needless. Nobody. . . .' ” I have to give Mr. Trump credit where credit is due. He conceals his feelings with remarkable lack of effort.
David H (Northern Virginia)
I am aghast at the comments here today which effectively aim to dehumanize Donald Trump. How can anyone reliably say that he has no empathy, that he feels no emotions, has no compassion? Basing such judgments on what we see on television is nonsensical. Even more nonsensical is expecting Mr. Trump display affect that is supposed to meet some sort of acceptable public standard.
JM (East Coast)
@David H As President, he is held to a higher standard and yes, visibly. 63,000 have died and his messaging tells us the economy/his re-election are more important than public health.
David H (Northern Virginia)
@JM That does not answer my question. How can anyone reliably say that he has no empathy, that he feels no emotions, has no compassion? He may not be comfortable showing such sentiments, but that is far and away different from saying he lacks such qualities. I suspect his grandkids might have a different opinion.
Erin (Virginia)
@David H -- I was aghast when he dehumanized women by likening them to objects that exist for male violence and consumption, and that was more than three years ago. Where have you been?
James Sterling (Mesa, AZ)
It is not ok for Americans to grieve. Ever since W told us to go shopping as the only proper response to 911, Americans know that our duty lies in protesting ourselves before the Divine Economy, then rising to sing notes of shallow optimism - and forgetting altogether both our sorrow and our hope.
Dr. Annie Johnson (NYC)
He won’t grieve the loss of the person, just the possibility of their vote for him.
Farina (Puget Sound)
“We mourn, and I say this so strongly,” is as close as he has come to outright saying anything compassionate. Naturally it misses the mark. The closest he can come to looking like he’s grieving is probably analogous to when Selina Meyers learns at her mother’s funeral that she won’t inherit and gives in to tears. But that fictional president would still be better than Trump because she actually tries.
blgreenie (Lawrenceville NJ)
Just like viruses, there are mutations in the genetic code of humans. I believe that Trump represents such a mutation, explaining how he is so different from other human beings, absence of empathy being one of many examples. In his case, as is plain to see, the mutation, when taken as a whole, is a dangerous one to the human species.
Dianne (Springfield)
For over 40 years I taught AP Language and Composition and used Presidents John F. Kennedy, Ronald Reagan,Bill Clinton,and Barack Obama's speeches and writings to teach pathos, logos,and ethos . They are all anthologized in AP text books. Today,it would be very,very difficult to use Donald J.Trump's rhetoric without being critical and insulting. His words,on a daily basis ,are totally devoid of pathos,ethos,and logos. I wonder,too,what his presidential library will look like filled with tweets and post-it-notes.
Lyd (Massachusetts)
This President has something in common with sociopaths. Neither he or they have the ability to empathize with others. Bush, Obama, Clinton, etc. all were and are quick shed sincere tears during our disasters. They addressed the nation and immediately reached out to console victims while bringing the nation together. Instead he uses medical briefings to deviate from the topic to display his hate toward democrats or anyone who disagrees with him on any matter. Our nation needs a real leader capable of empathizing with us.
Lona (Iowa)
Why would Trump even be expected to lead national mourning? Trump, a pathological narcissist, doesn't think beyond the effects of the pandemic crisis on himself. He cannot be expected to lead national mourning because he is incapable of empathy or any care about others except for how he can use them. Leave national mourning and empathy to the non psychopaths.
B. Rothman (NYC)
Most of the US can see Trump for the heartless, disorganized bully that he is, but what they find harder is to see their own Republican Congressmen and women as co-conspirators. They tend to confine their criticism to the one guy at the top, but in fact he has a “team” of thousands now starting with McConnell, McCarthy, Barr, Nunes, de Vos, the other Cabinet members, two Supreme Court Justices etc., etc. Trump is simply the top of a Republican Party whose goal is to maximize profits and minimize people. A headline today indicates that nearly 300 huge corporations scarfed up about $1 billion last week from legislation passed to support small businesses. So to that list of “wish you dead” you can add the banks that have no moral or ethical compass either and can’t tell small from big! To Evangelicals who support this group because they support gun rights and are against abortion, one has to also ask whether this is the kind of loving that Jesus had in mind when he admonished the money changers in the Temple and what does this say about you? Are you not simply tied to your “bigger goals” in ways that are equally thoughtless of others’ welfare?
David (San Jose)
“Resolve”? Donald Trump doesn’t project resolve or strength. He projects selfishness, self-pity and dishonesty. I’ve never witnessed worse leadership in any context.
scott wilson (Tucson, AZ)
All those rude, inconsiderate people getting sick, losing jobs, closing businesses and dying—instead of applauding and praising Trump for the great job he is doing. Those annoying public health officials and doctors as well—taking those sweet, sweet cameras away from Trump, after only spending half of their time lauding him.
domplein2 (terra firma)
The US erected permanent national memorials for WWII, the Vietnam War, the Korean War, and for 9/11. Over 60,000 have died in the US so far already, and by this time next year many more will have perished to covid19. Will there ever be a national memorial established for those who died in the pandemic?
Shamrock (Westfield)
@domplein2 Where is the call for a memorial for the victims of H1N1? I didn’t think there was one.
deb (inWA)
Now, out of spite at this NYT article, trump will tweet out some defensive hate, then he'll quickly arrange a 'national mourning' speech, haltingly delivered from a teleprompter, while sneering at anyone who suggested he wasn't already going to do that. Oh the whining and resentful self-soothing he'll do! If I'm wrong, I'll.....never mind. I'm not wrong.
Nido (Chicago)
I am surprised with your comparaisons to previous presidents’ reactions! Mr Trump did the same with tragedies you are citing. This one is not over yet! I guess it is his duty to give courage and show strength while we are still fighting. Give him a break.
rella (VA)
@ Nido Is that not precisely his duty, or at least something that would be extremely desirable? Would Britain have been better off if Churchill had waited until it was all over before speaking of blood, toil, tears, and sweat?
Tim C (Chicago)
@Nido I think the fair assumption here is that these other presidents mentioned would be leading AND grieving for the dead in real time. Not too much to ask since this is taking a greater toll by far than any of the other situations. "Giving courage and showing strength" starts with being honest and showing empathy which Trump is not and has not. So give US a break.
lynchburglady (Oregon)
@Nido Give him a break? Why? What on earth has Trump done that deserves a break? As to his duty...he has a duty to the People of the U.S., a duty to lead us, to be there for us, to comfort us, to help us get through this disaster. Instead the only thing Trump does is lie, cheat, demand praise, and pour hatred onto any Democrat that actually does lead and comfort. Trump is a failure at literally everything he touches.
Susan Dorn (Santa Fe, NM/Houston, TX)
Guns over butter Trump style. Acknowledging the lives lost would highlight his poor response from the beginning. Instead he wants to stand on top of the mountain like Superman and wave his cape. Only Superman would have rescued the defenseless woman and child first.
GrannyM (Charlotte, NC)
It is said that Trump is trying to channel Winston Churchill. He fails utterly in that. Churchill once said • “The price of greatness is responsibility.”
Dobbie M.B. (Worcester, MA)
Trump leaves only not grieving to others, he leaves everything a decent President would do in a national crisis to others (unfortunately the others he has populated his administration based upon on only political subservience and campaign donations, not on character, experience, knowledge or expertise). Worse, in pursuit promoting himself, he intentionally gets in the way of the federal and state governments in protecting health, safety and well being of the American public. When he says "resolve" or "strong", coming from him its an "opposite" projection of what he knows about himself, no resolve, no responsibility, utter weakness. Reportedly, he watches TV hours a day, not to better mount the response to the pandemic, but to follow reports on what is the most important thing to him, his "image". Important for image: orange bronzer, obviously applied with eye goggles on, meticulous comb over of cultivated blonde dyed hair wisps, probably a half can of hair spray, and another overlong red neck tie. Empathy is just not in his morning make up kit, neither is decency.
Pat Baker (Boston)
Personally I am glad he is not grieving in public. He would be so insincere and would alter his speechwriters' words to himself. He would be an insult to everyone.
D.E.R. (JC, NJ)
He'll make himself out to be the victim, especially if he loses the election. Which he will contest because that is who he is even while the pandemic continues. I have as much empathy for him as he has displayed for those who have suffered great losses from Covid-19. He'll probably start wearing a hat that says VICTIM. (made in China, of course)
Erin (Virginia)
Gee. I wonder if he's a totally malignant sociopath who is completely incapable of understanding how grief and empathy work? Most cognizant women have long been aware of how little regard Twitler has for human life when it doesn't exist to pleasure or serve him, and I find it enraging/perplexing how there are people who are now *just* beginning to comprehend the depths of his evil. As always, I can't wait for his dirtnap and will do a jig on his grave when he's gone. Not every life is sacred or worth celebrating.
Kenell Touryan (Colorado)
Surprise? Empathy or sympathy are utterly foreign to this narcissist epic proportions. All his life, Trump has been feeding on self-glorification, so much so that there remains no room for truly caring for others, The world turns on number One...
MEH (Ontario)
He hasn’t even shown up to support essential workers. Not even to throw appear towels.
Jo Cohen (Denver, Colorado)
When will people get a clue? He doesn't care about us (or anyone) really. His concern is and has always been himself. If there is someone out there who expects a scintilla of empathy from djt you are wasting your time.
CAM (Wallingford)
I find the comparison of the coronavirus death toll to military casualties in Vietnam reprehensible. In fact, it's well past time to retire military metaphors - war on poverty, drugs, homelessness et al and just fly a white flag.
Ollie (NY,NY)
Empathy as a 'political asset " ?? How about empathy as a requirement in being a functional human ?
E. D. (TX)
And if he were to lead a national memorial or grieving event, who would come? You have to believe in your leaders. This one should be boycotted.
PSS (Maryland)
I just hope his aides don’t now try to correct this impression of him by drafting an expression of grief for him to choke out. The only thing worse than his lack of empathy would be a message of condolence that is transparently fake. Please, spare us that.
HXB (NYC)
He sounds like the folks who voted for him: lacking empathy, logic and generosity. Only when it affects them directly on a personal level (like trump) do they get it, do they feel it, do they understand the gravity....on second thought, they may get all that, but trump is unable to (proven by his consistent behavior) that that day will ever come. Dark days in the home of the brave and the land of the free.
LimeyLass (Isle of Wight, UK)
I really can’t believe what I am hearing sometimes, isn’t there anyone who could have a word in his ear? Sorry, daft question. Visited New York last June, my heart goes out to you.
Blacktongue3 (Florida)
There's a parallel pandemic here which, so far, has defied any hope of a vaccine: utter nausea. I watched Trump's press conference yesterday where he went on and on to reassure the reporters present and the rest of the planet watching that NO ONE--and he means NO ONE--is sorrier or more saddened the HE is about the deaths and misery this catastrophe has caused. “I know many stories,” Mr. Trump told reporters. “I’ve spoken to three, maybe, I guess, four families unrelated to me. I did — I lost a very good friend. I also lost three other friends — two of whom I didn’t know as well, but they were friends and people I did business with.” Seriously?!? Gee, do you think this would have presented an opportunity for this guy to show a quark's worth of empathy for others? Of course not - it was all about him being the absolute pinnacle of sorrow and grief, with a quick pivot to her REAL concerns and cause for his grief - the economy and his reelection. Oh, and bringing back the prodigal Michael Flynn into the "family". Now there's a cause for grieving.
gb (Oregon)
Somehow it seems fitting that, since Trump is incapable of caring about anyone else, dead or alive, that the dead have proved capable of depriving Trump of what he wants most—the constant attention and adoration he craves. Trump has had to suffer through each day of this pandemic without his accustomed narcissistic “fix” of fawning and flattery. And he can’t change the channel on us because every day more people keep dying and pushing him off the stage. The dead are accomplishing what the living should have done years ago. I wish to thank them for their final good deed.
Richard Lee (Boston, MA)
A person who is unable to feel the deaths of our fellow citizens is not a patriot. A person who cannot take responsibility is not a leader. A person who cannot study and analyze a complex situation is not a stable genius. What is that person? The word for that person is Pathetic. Because that person will never feel the love, hope and connection that makes our lives worth living.
SSK (DURHAM)
Gold plated heart of ice
Science Teacher (Illinois)
Trump feels nothing for anyone else. He barely registered grief for his “friend” who died from the virus. Some time ago when reminded (told?) that his own grandfather had died from the effects of the 1918 flu pandemic, he shrugged it off with no reaction. He believes in nothing and no one. What is it in his sociopathic personality that attracts his followers, when he clearly doesn’t care about any of them, or their deceased family and friends, and none of his wonderful, great, beautiful instincts have improved their lives?
Paul Raffeld (Austin Texas)
Yes, we have a grieve less president, along with incompetent, narcissistic, angry, mean, intolerant, impatient and retaliatory. So what is new? That has always been Trump. He would sell members of his family out for a little bit of attention. Grieving is a waste of time for Trump who aspires to be King and ruler of the land. A massed shooting, severe hurricane, giant tornado, or a pandemic to Trump are all the same. They are inconvenient but get him press coverage and TV time. This is one callous president, so let's not count on him to do anything to help a bad situation. Set up "feel sorry" and "praise our leader" funds and he might smile, but without compassion or a sense of life. He is so void of emotion and depth, it is beyond belief. Let's not put him back in in November.
Quoth The Raven (Northern Michigan)
Mourning in America? Not from Trump. That's not how he rolls. He's all about getting back to business, and if you or one of your family were among those who didn't survive COVID-19, just remember that he doesn't like losers. Feel better now?
DBINSF (San Francisco)
Somehow, the phrase "nobody has more empathy than me," arises in shadow.
SD (London)
It us not the job of the US president to help people grieve. On the other hand Trump is spending lots of time putting together a team of top pharma execs and companies to create a vaccine. His job here is to choose among them and invest federal funds into those that can bring a vaccine/treatment to the market as soon as possible. He recently authorized an investment of nearly $500M Moderna to bring out a revolutionary mRNA based cure for the Corona virus showing decent leadership. This is his job and he is doing it reasonably well.
Cay (CT)
@SD , it’s not the job of the US President to muse on national television about ingestion or injection of bleach as a potential treatment or to tell the American people that the virus will just miraculously vanish in April or push for a drug treatment that hasn’t been proven and causes cardiac complications and death. Empathy? I suspect his supporters knew he had none when they voted for him, and I suspect since he’s a reflection of what they believe, they aren’t overflowing with empathy either. Doing a reasonable job? Please.
Lisa! (CT)
@SD It’s not like the scientists/ pharm corporations in the US would organize to do that themselves to make a vaccine. Did they really need a sociopath to guide them? Give me a break! Really had to dig deep to come up with that.
Salar (N. VA)
@Cay You would suspect that because the Time deletes posts that support Trump or seem to. See if you can find any here. And you probably won’t be reading this observation either.
TPC (Massachusetts)
If he had to acknowledge the dead as people, not statistics, he'd also have to confront the magnitude of his failure. He's incapable of doing either.
Julius Adams (Queens, NY)
Trump is actually quoted as saying “nobody could feel worse than I do” here. Once again, we are all just less than him as we all feel the horror and pain of this scourge. He can barely read the words put in front of him in large printed letters, so much so I am starting to believe he had, and has, a learning disability. To even think he could show one iota of true and believable grief or compassion for the growing numbers of families losing loved ones, many of whom can’t be with them or speak to them as they die.., to think this “president” even really cares about anyone nor anything other than himself is just wishful thinking. Who would believe him now anyway? He is past the time for showing any kind of truthful caring for anything other than his “winning” and calling others losers. We are all victims because we have him as our disunited country’s voice and leader. We can only hope he will not be a part of our national nightmare too much longer.
LHH (London)
Social science has convincing data demonstrating that the more a national-state mistreats its female population, the more its preponderance toward authoritarianism, corruption, and overall poor governance. The same can be said of Donald Trump.
Kara (WDC Suburbs)
It is apparent that Trump was not connected with his parents in a meaningful way and lacks the ability to love on a deeper level. These emotional wounds prevent him from being able to empathize with others. He is only able to self soothe like a small child. The fact that this man is President is terrifying. Equally as scary is that such a large percentage of Americans accept this behavior as normal. It makes one wonder about its implications for our nation as a whole.
Kathy (SF)
He was the Republicans' choice because the rest of them don't care either. Intelligence and empathy are essential requirements of the role if you want it done well. They just want to steal and consolidate their power. How many times must Republicans demonstrate their deadly contempt for Americans before enough people understand??
Simon (On a Plane)
Intelligence and empathy are negatively correlated...as intelligence increases, empathy decreases, although not in linear fashion.
Objectivist (Mass.)
The president has plenty to do right now, and whining about a lack of a national mourning effort at this point is just infantile. When it's over, there will be plenty of time for everyone to mourn, should they choose to do so.
rella (VA)
@Objectivist Other presidents had plenty to do when their particular national crises occurred, yet they found time to unite the nation with their comforting and inspiring words. Ditto for many state governors addressing their constituencies today.
Chris (CT)
@Objectivist You can't do one without the other, without empathy and care for the grieving, you end up sending meat workers to the carnage of a COVID-infested workplace, and result in more death. All because there is no care for the pain inflicted by mass death.
bas0229 (Middle Island, NY)
@Objectivist No, but somehow there is plenty of time as President to whine all morning via tweets about how no one is grateful enough, how the "fake news" media is out to get him and how "perfect" he is handling this virus. There is always time to show empathy and mourn over 63,000 Americans who have died from this horrible virus.
Socrates (Downtown Verona NJ)
“In five years of watching him, I’ve never seen Trump display a shred of empathy or grace towards another human being. I’m not sure he has that capacity...” - Jon Favreau No one sinks to the occasion like America's President.
Stevie Matthews (Oyster Bay)
What Trump and his supporters believe is a display of strength is actually a display of profound weakness and insecurity. Just like showing up at a state Capitol armed with an assault rifle while wearing a mask
In VA (Virginia)
This isn't really accurate. Trump has done plenty of grieving and shown empathy every day...for himself, which is the only human being that matters in Trump-world. Indeed, his daily briefings are full of expressions about how grief-stricken he is that governors aren't saying "Thank you," just for one example. And, aided by his collection of sycophants, he consoles his grief by praising himself constantly.
robert hunter (MD)
@In VA As a capitalistic President of the American Plantation, the only grief to be shown, is the loss pf economic production
PoohBah2 (Oregon)
@In VA Ah, yes. I forgot, "grievance" derives from "to grieve."
Paul (New Jersey)
Our Covid-19 disaster is a symptom of Trump, who himself is a symptom of McConnell. Faced with the federal GOP's leadership vacuum, we the American people are grieving among ourselves for those we have lost to the pandemic - I've lost several friends and acquaintances already - and for what we have lost as a nation. I for one resolve to help excise the dry rot in November.
KEF (Lake Oswego, OR)
For all the hoopla in sending out checks with Trump's name on the Memo line and with self-congratulatory Cover Letters - has he included laid-off workers or affected small business owners along with the 'Executives, Commissioners, Governors, Company Heads, Etc' on the stage at his briefings?
Robbiesimon (Washington)
Grieving? Why would he grieve? He hasn’t been among the dying, so the deaths are completely inconsequential to him (except to the extent that the numbers affect his re-election prospects).
Kathy B (Fort Collins)
He's too worried about having to acknowledge he bears great responsibility, thus damaging his campaign. I for one won't miss him giving a national mourning speech. It's not too difficult to imagine how badly he would botch it and ultimately turn it into a personal grievance.
rella (VA)
@Kathy B I agree, which is why, in a perverse way, his apparent decision to forgo an attempt at such a speech may be one of the few things he's done right.
Sa Ha✨✨ (Indiana)
@Relia, but just wait.... As his numbers are plunging his handlers even now are trying to pump and massage empathy into him...Im already seeing him try to tap into a non existent humanity of soul.... KEEP your eyes on the snake-oil salesman named Trump.
David Walker (France)
“In five years of watching him, I’ve never seen Trump display a shred of empathy or grace towards another human being,” Mr. Favreau said. “I’m not sure he has that capacity, at least he’s never shown it in public.” I am sure: He doesn’t have that capacity. That was well-known long before the 2016 election. So, my friends, what does that say about the ca. 40% of Americans who *still* support this man? That lack of empathy extends to them as well—otherwise, how could you possibly support Trump at a time like this? To me, it echoes the powerful words of Abraham Lincoln when he said, “A house divided against itself cannot stand.”
Anne (Long Island, NY)
@David Walker you have very appropriately recalled a quote that comes to us across the ages from a great man leading our nation in a time of civil unrest so polarizing it literally turned brother murderously against brother splitting this nation in two. What chills me most in reflecting on Lincoln is how savegedly he was gunned down for his beliefs, as are so many who come in the name of love, daring to speak and act in the name of all that is moral, just and humanitarian.
RLW (Chicago)
@David Walker "A house divided against itself cannot stand" --- Well-spoken words of a great president. And the current occupant of the White House and his chief abettor, Senate Leader McConnell are trying so hard to divide Red States from Blue Sates, instead of trying to bring us all together. What worse examples of leadership can we find than McConnell and Trump?
john g (new york)
@David Walker it Trump-world every asks "What about me..." and "Who? why should I care."
Tokyo Tea (NH, USA)
Trump does not see the presidency as a (very difficult, all-consuming) job. He sees it as an honorary position where people have chosen to elevate him, and where he should be allowed to laze around and do as he pleases. Remember, re PPE, he's "not a shipping clerk." He won't wear a mask because it wouldn't look right when he's doing important stuff. He's not doing what needs to be done. He's dodging responsibility, resisting action, and then going off to watch TV.
Robby (Utah)
This is still an ongoing battle, and just like real soldiers, we must continue to fight, the time for memorial will come soon afterwards. Not publicly showing empathy should not be mistaken with not feeling sorrow internally, and we should not presume to know what is going on in the inside of a person. Focus on deeds please.
MEH (Ontario)
@Robby and do tell what he has done? Sweet tweets?
rella (VA)
@Robby Inspirational, uniting words from the top are an important part of this process. Remember "blood, toil, tears, and sweat?"
Tim C (Chicago)
@Robby We don't need to presume what's going on inside that 'person' if that's what he is. He gives us daily status reports and things are not looking good.
Robert Henry Eller (Portland, Oregon)
If Trump would rather exhibit strength than empathy, he should strongly devote all of his time to getting testing and tracing organized and to the required numbers. That might even get Trump some empathy.
TT (Boston)
Grieving, amongst others, is a process of conciliation and helping a community to come together. There is nothing more counter to Trump's divisive character than these things.
Kathy Lollock (Santa Rosa, CA)
Donald Trump has consistently bared his soul, or lack thereof, all his adult life. He is a man who is devoid of a sense of ethics and a moral compass. With those character traits, a recipe of perdition it would seem, add the ingredient of being compassionless. Not one tear shed, not one word of sympathy, not one hand or gesture of care and concern for the 60,000 plus dead and the families left behind. No nationally-led prayers for over one million of his people stricken with Covid-19. No words of gratitude toward our doctors and nurses risking their lives to save ours. And what does it say about his Republican Party in Congress, his vice-president, aides, family, Cabinet, FOX Inc., and even his supporters at large who protest with guns in hand and vitriol? This is a portrait of a waning democracy, a nation being dragged down into a nadir of muck, a man who is only capable of exacerbating our darker sides.
SD (London)
@Kathy Lollock Boris Johnson showed a great deal of care and grief for Covid19 patients by visiting them in the hospital and talking to them. He ended up being infected and nearly died. In the time he was sick he had to leave the country to be run by others. It is not the job of the US president to grieve for others. He needs to work with scientists and pharma in finding a cure/vaccine ASAP. And fix the economy. And he is doing that reasonably well.
Homer (Utah)
@SD That may be your view about trump but you may have missed trump dismissing scientists from the get go. trump puts his gut feeling about the coronavirus magically disappearing when the sun starts to shine. trump suggested we Americans inject disinfectants and drink bleach, stuff we clean toilets with, stuff we keep locked away from our children and pets. trump told us to take hydroxychloroquine which some did, some died from taking it and others have heart damage from taking it. So, sir, what you have to say about trump is a mystery to me. trump is a disaster for our country and he will be voted out in November in overwhelming numbers.
Seelochan Beharry (Vancouver, BC. Canada)
@Kathy Lollock Well put Ms Kathy Lollock. It is not only the enablers who you so so stated. It is also a reflection of the American people or rather a large portion of the USA. America's withdrawal from the world stage is also disastrous I too often wonder if we are watching the demise of great nation from within.
Tokyo Tea (NH, USA)
"Resolve"?! Resolve implies an intention to do something or to move forward. Trump intends to do nothing. Except for lying, he's been completely passive in this crisis. The refusal to help with PPE by saying the government isn't a shipping clerk—you want to call that resolve? Telling people that maybe drinking Lysol might help—resolve? Insisting meat workers go back to work WITHOUT any protective measures—resolve? Lying about what a horrible job he's done, and blaming China for the same things he's done—resolve? Stop lying about him. Stop trying to find flattering fake explanations of this damaged person. His performance has been disgusting to any rational person. Passivity, laziness, dodging, lying, blaming, and trying to make others take dangerous action without help is not remotely "resolve."
Debbie (New York)
@Tokyo Tea thanks for saying what I was thinking. I'm so tired of the normalization of the sociopathic behavior on display every minute of every day (and night) by this man. We should all be screaming from the rooftops that this is not normal.
Lake Monster (Lake Tahoe)
@Tokyo Tea Beautifully written.
Coyoty (Hartford, CT)
He's no commander in grief.
Dersh (California)
This is completely unsurprising since malignant narcissists, like Trump, have zero empathy. Except for themselves...
SLY3 (parts unknown)
@Dersh based on 40 years of observing his health habits from afar, I can posit that he doesn't even care about himself very much either. It's all 'Id' with this one.
Larry M (Minnesota)
“I don’t think anybody could feel any worse than I do about all of the death and destruction that’s so needless. Nobody." Well of course not. Who could possibly compare? Because everything is always about him, and whatever it is, it's always experienced at a "stupendous" or "amazing" magnitude greater than anyone else has ever experienced. Nobody should be subjected every day to his insufferable, deadly, destructive, and needless self-aggrandizing. Nobody.
Ed Marth (St Charles)
Trump's life has been one of giving, giving grief, that is. He has no experience in consoling.
GBR (New England)
Good! Can you imagine how disingenuous it would sound if he pretended to grieve and/or tried lead a solemn moment of reflection? Please continue to leave the grief therapy to spiritual advisors and/or therapists.
Big Dave (East Lansing, MI)
President Trump’s problem, and his potential threat to this country, is a great deal more serious than “not caring” or “not being smart”. Multiple skilled Psychiatrists, notably Dr. John Gartner, have formed a “Duty to Warn Coalition”. In brief they refer to Trump as a “Malignant Narcissist”. As we get closer to the election he will become more and more dangerous. If he believes the election results will shame and degrade him he will do anything to avoid that result. The death and destruction of American citizens would not be important if he feels he must protect his self image. I believe it is possible, for example, that he is capable of deliberately creating a nuclear war resulting in the death of millions if he thinks it would protect his self-image. Preserving this country and its citizens requires that we start preparing NOW to be ready to remove him prior to the election if his actions demonstrate his Constitutional inability to perform the functions of his office.
John Harper (Carlsbad, CA)
@Big Dave He'll just sue to nullify the results in any state he loses. No need for nuclear war. He's got the Supreme Court locked and loaded.
Richard Monckton (San Francisco, CA)
@Big Dave You are exactly right. There are no bounds to what a malignant narcissist will do if he feels threatened. The Press is awfully unaware of the Dr. Garner's initiative or simply unwilling to talk about it.
HUnow (Vermont)
He did grieve his poll results. A President does have to have priorities in an election year. If someone told him that "only Trump supporters are dying from the virus" he might find some way to support the people that are suffering and unite the effort to manage the pandemic without blaming, shaming, and random temper tantrums. Maybe. Roll the dice.
Blueboat (New York)
Anyone expecting empathy from a malignant narcissist will be waiting a long time. And it would be difficult to create a malignant narcissist who conforms to its definition closer than Trump does. The only future in which he wants us to be confident is one in which he has all of the power and none of the responsibility, with no moral barriers to its consolidation or its use. He will not change because he cannot change.
Brian (Philadelphia)
I allowed the Queen's address several weeks ago to give me a sense of compassion that is not coming from our unfeeling non-leader in America. It was a comfort to know that something of poise, selflessness, and strength manifests in governance elsewhere. But not here.
walt amses (north calais by)
In Trumpworld the president can do no wrong. He’s done a great job, at least according to the apologists who somehow translate his every failure into a success. What’s there to mourn? This should be a time of national celebration of the president’s “unprecedented” containment of covid-19. Suggesting something like empathy or compassion would require acknowledgment of people other than him - like the 60 thousand Americans who have died or the 30 million out of work. I wouldn’t hold my breath.
Paral04 (Atlanta, GA)
@walt amses He could go around flapping his wings or he can orchestrate marshaling resources and inspiring companies,which he is doing, to step up to the plate and beat this thing. Your Hillary would ignore everything like she did in Benghazi and have a glass if wine.
Robert Roth (NYC)
What was the purpose of this sniping article about Trump not showing enough grief and empathy for those suffering in this pandemic? Who wants to be subjected to someone who has been so cruelly instrumental in intensifying the suffering of the country. Who wants to see him, hear him, be in any way subjected to the hollowness of anything he has to say? Thank goodness he at least is sparing us that.
Teri Chace (Little Falls, NY)
NOT the leader we need.
Sunny 4 Life (South Lancaster Ontario)
People have been dying for thousands of years. We have developed our various rituals and social norms to handle this fact. Typically, there is a brief pause to pay tribute to the deceased person - but otherwise, the survivors bravely get on with their lives - in part because this is what the deceased would want us to do.
Carol (Green Valley,CA)
“I know many stories,” Mr. Trump told reporters. “I’ve spoken to three, maybe, I guess, four families unrelated to me." What about the other 63,000 families. 3 or 4 is not many stories. How delusional. He is truly soulless.
Debbie (New York)
@Carol I wish someone had asked him to name them, or tell the victims story. Obviously he has expressed sympathy to no one, except maybe Michael Flynn.
Ice+ (DE)
This is a non-story. The country doesn't need a national day of mourning any more than it needs jet flyovers. Can we all just be pragmatic? Yes, we get it. Trump=bad. This isn't news. Focus on actual news and not complaints.
Peggy Daly (New York)
The man, his family and administration may as well be barbie dolls. They have no empathy which has something to do with his upbringing and the fact that he is nothing but a NYC real estate developer. He is an expert in BANKRUPTCY so maybe as companies file he can provide help.
Greg (Atlanta)
Does anyone really expect this monster to show any empathy or sympathy for another being? He is clearly only only interested in himself and what this does to him. A truly selfish and evil man.
Grey (Charleston SC)
One simply has to look at the protesters at the Michigan capitol to see who Trump is playing to. How many of the 60 million Trumpistas are mourning? They love their leader for who he is, an Un-caring, ignorant psychopath.
klm (Atlanta)
Sociopaths like serial killers have no empathy, but they learn to fake it (among other emotions) in order to manipulate others. Trump can't even do that. Sad!
Sa Ha✨✨ (Indiana)
What's the saying,"Fool me once shame on you, fool me twice shame on me." This should never ever happen again. Trump revealed himself to be the perfect storm of chaos, death and destruction. His agenda of blame, shame and hate has yielded ugly bitter fruit for Americans and the world and everybody's teeth are on edge...
Kevin (Portland, Oregon)
He is incapable of feeling empathy and compassion. As a narcissistic sociopath, his only interest is himself.
Mary (PA)
Grief is not felt by a sociopath.
bored critic (usa)
This is what the NYT is worried about? Trump have a national grieving day? For something that so far has less deaths than the normal seasonal flu? Seriously? How about a national mourning day for all the unborn children killed each year from abortions? In 2016, the most recent year the CDC has released statistics for, 623,000 unborn children's lives were aborted. This number is lower than the real amount because California, Maryland, New Hampshire, and the District of Columbia did not report to the CDC on abortion surveillance for that year.
Dr. J (CT)
This comment is an example of the attitude of many in the anti-abortion movement. Their focus is on the “unborn child.” Once the child is born, they are no longer the concern of these people. This comment displays an astonishing lack of compassion for the victims (some of them babies) and the people who loved them. Being pro-life should be about being concerned about life in all its stages and mourning the end of life especially during a crisis such as the one we are experiencing due to the Coronavirus. That is why I think it is more appropriate to use the label “anti-abortion” rather than “pro-life.” There is a difference.
rella (VA)
@bored critic What is your source for your claim about flu-related deaths? What I've seen suggests that 30-40K deaths per year is par for the course, with a few years over 60K.
SEH (NYC)
@bored critic Oh, please. The tone deaf attempt to equate the result of a legal medical procedure with the loss of lives of real living people with families and friends is deeply inappropriate.
BTO (Somerset, MA)
Trump don't care about those that died, all he cares about is himself.
Sue (London)
The man has a swinging Brick for a Heart
Robert Burns (Oregon)
There is no ducking the fact that this president has some serious issues; and for the country, issues which are in fact shredding what used to hold it together. This is a man who is singularly focused on himself—pathologically so. By now most Americans have learned and accept that they will get little or nothing from Trump, let alone in the way of empathy for our suffering. He is incapable of empathy. We will go on without him. Soon, he will just be a subject in history books, a four year bad dream, and we can repair ourselves politically and morally. We are not done yet!
Dee (Cincinnati, OH)
A sufficient number of our fellow citizens, in electorally significant locations, felt that the country would do well with a "businessman" in charge (apparently not realizing that a real estate developer with multiple bankruptcies was not the kind of businessman we should admire). Character, empathy, compassion...they knew he had none of these traits. Let's not forget, this is the man whose enjoys firing people. In a pandemic, compassion matters. It drives you to want to help others. Instead, Trump is still only focused on himself. It is truly disgraceful and makes me ashamed for my country.
Long-Term Observer (Boston)
@Dee Trump's "contribution" to the pandemic is to goad armed demonstrators into defying public health measures.
ricardo (UK)
@Dee Did not some of the other Republican candidates have business credentials, while also not endorsing the groping of women? Shame indeed.
Mike S. (Eugene, OR)
@Dee Arizona once elected two governors (Meacham and Symington) who were ran campaigns that a businessman should run the state. The first was impeached and removed from office; the second was convicted of bank fraud and resigned.
Rob (Cambridge, MA)
Mr. Trump, like the Dickens character he resembles so much, could be stirred to compassion only by a nocturnal visit from the Ghosts of Elections Past, Present, and Future. Since that won't happen, he will never change. I can imagine him feeling and expressing genuine grief if one of his children were to die, but in those cases he would be mourning an extension of himself, not expressing empathy. His "shows of strength" are a cover-up for a tremendous human weakness.
Van (Georgia)
Trump: Are you ready? "I grieve, I grieve all the time. I'm an incredible griever , in fact nobody has ever done as much grieving as I have. I know they are grieving in Italy but I gotta say their grieving compared to mine is a joke. Before I was elected grieving was at an all time low. Now look at the grieving.
shimr (Spring Valley, NY)
Of course Trump is not a man of empathy . Your article compares him to other presidents and he has none of the "human touch", the "heart", of his predecessors. But it goes beyond that. Trump is very unique, completely different from people---he is a heartless person, more like Kim of N. Korea than like any American . Our front line "heroes" who risk their lives to help others are more typical of most Americans. (Most Americans have not and will not vote for Trump; blame his victory on the Electoral System, gerrymandering, and Republican unfair tactics, like stopping mail-in votes and making voters wait on lines during a pandemic.) Trump's focus is on himself, and his "grief"---the little bit he has--- is on his own potential loss. He lashes out at his campaign managers when he sees falling polls and goes around with his grumpy expression insulting those who do not praise him. How did such a person ever manage to move up so much?
Lona (Iowa)
Trump has the appearance of a human being, but none of the empathy or sympathy for others of a human being. Trump is human in name only just as he is President in Name Only.
Marge Keller (Midwest)
"President Trump appears reluctant to talk about the 63,000 people who have died from the coronavirus in the United States." Of course he is reluctant. Why would someone who very publicly stated "I'm not taking any responsibility for this" suddenly feel compelled to address this horrific number of deceased Americans? And frankly, I'm glad he isn't doing any kind of National Address because his words would be hollow, empty and completely insincere. And, I would not doubt he would weave a campaign speech into his address as well. His words would only make people feel worse, not better nor comforted.
NJW (Massachusetts)
The worst person in all ways for this job, and never more so than now, but the worst thing for many of his supporters would apparently be to admit their error.
cbindc (dc)
Trump carnage is not mourned. That is secondary to power at all cost. The republican party way.
Tom Q (Minneapolis, MN)
So harsh, Mr. Baker. I will never forget his singular moment when he demonstrated the depth of his character and compassion for others. Perhaps you have forgotten it. When, on October 17, 2017, he threw paper towels to those in need in Puerto Rico, I knew we had a president who would go down in history like no other. Maybe soon we will see him bringing hot coffee to those on ventilators?
Michaels832 (Boston)
This is not a surprise. The man cares nothing about anyone other than himself and his re-election. He has a basic pyschological deficit: he has not empathy. But we knew that.
NOTATE REDMOND (TEJAS)
Trump does not possess empathy in any shape or form. His feelings for dead from this pandemic do not touch him. Why not? He is too wrapped up in himself to have room for the losses from this virus. He has the narcissism bug, that is his sickness.
Paul Wortman (Providence)
Trump suffers from Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) which has as one of its defining symptoms a total lack of empathy. He's never shown any empathy because he's incapable of doing so. And that explains his cruelty in putting immigrant children in cages; his unwillingness to deal with the immense suffering caused by the Covid-19 virus pandemic from offering both material and emotional aid to governors, their front-line health-care workers or their patients; and his continual urging to reopen businesses like the meatpacking plants that have produced hundreds of cases and some fatalities from the virus with absolutely no concern for forcing their workers to return. This is the very dark side of Trump that is callous, cruel, and heartless. NPD accounts for all Trump's bizarre behavior, and is and continues to be a very "existential threat" to the health and well-being of every American and to America itself.
Jackson (Virginia)
Don't you think it's premature to have a day of mourning? That implies it's over. Or do you just want to again criticize President Trump? But I'm glad you are still paying attention to the news conferences since this was asked by a reporter looking for a "gotcha" question.
Reva Cooper (Nyc)
In case you missed it, thousands have died. So they don’t deserve to be mourned? It doesn’t have to be over yet.
KEF (Lake Oswego, OR)
When the going gets tough, Trump's not responsible.
Gramercy (New York)
Like all bullies, Trump is a profoundly fearful and insecure person. He views displays of emotion and empathy as signs of personal weakness and he is terrified of being perceived as such. To embrace the common good and express empathy for those enduring so much suffering would mean that Trump would have to, as president, take responsibility for the fate of our country and its citizens. In short, he would need to stop being afraid and weak. That is far out of his reach.
Harry Finch (Vermont)
He grieves only for lost votes. In truth, he is very angry with those thousands of dead. They are jeopardizing his re-election chances. His dark heart sees their deaths as treasonous. He believes they are participants in a vast conspiracy to unseat him. Look how many are from New York!
Tarry John (NY)
He lacks empathy. He is not capable because he is such narcissist it leaves no room for others.
Dan Locker (Brooklyn)
Has the NYT nothing better to do than criticize the President over something like he isn’t mourning enough? How about some suggestions on how to better manage the country out of this unprecedented disaster. Stop just for a few months from being so political. Try bringing the country together. You have some of the best writers in the country. Use them to help not just to criticize what others are doing.
Bugzy (Potomac, MD)
@Dan Locker You do realize that all your sentences (other than the first one) apply to the President of the US too? And he represents all of us, not like the NY Times. You don't have to subscribe to the NYT, read it, or comment on it, and it will have no impact on your life. Ignoring the POTUS's way of handling things impacts all of us.
SD (New York, NY)
Trump is the Tin Man in The Wizard of Oz. He doesn't have a heart. He's also the Scarecrow, with straw for brains, and the Cowardly Lion, lacking courage. And, he is the Wizard of Oz himself, the blustering con man who hides reality.
Truth Is True (PA)
In Trump’s world real men don’t wear masks and only losers die.
A. Stanton (Dallas, TX)
He couldn’t find a single good thing to say about John McCain when he died. He goes to the CIA on his first full day as Commander-in-Chief, stands in front of the Wall of Stars that represent the 117 CIA agents who have died in service to this country --- and lashes out at his critics and the media while boasting of his appearances on magazine covers and lying about the size of the crowd at his inauguration. What should we hope he will do now? Cry about the poor old people who are dying like flies in nursing homes because of his lack of concern about the virus? Offer kids in migrant camps who he has separated from their mothers a nice place to live at Mar-a-Lago with Ivanka bringing them their meals? This is the Prince of Darkness and the King of Crude.
September1940 (Stamford CT)
And where, pray tell, is our First Lady in all of this?
Philz (Wilmington, NC)
"Psychopathy is a personality disorder characterized by a lack of empathy and remorse, shallow affect, glibness, manipulation and callousness."-American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS)
IRememberAmerica (Berkeley)
"He views public displays of sadness as weakness"... ...unless he's crying about how unfair everyone is to him. Everyone's gotta hear about HIS pain. The guy's a sociopath. That's why he has no empathy. He provokes people to murder--in a South Carolina church, in a Kansas bar, at an El Paso Walmart, and still counting the soaring numbers following his COVID advice—and all he cares about is his "numbers." He's gotta go. The world is at stake.
Tara (MI)
I weep for my Gold-Plated Cruise Line. I sorrow for my Golf Round Tomorrow. I pine for all that's mine! mine! and Mined, Amidst the grease that employed the deceased. But my hope is for National Resolve to start bookings and Michigan riots (said the headlines that went louder than dead lines) and ensure N.Y. liberals are Insolvent as I order a second of caviar.
Betrayus (Hades)
@Tar Caviar with ketchup.
Panthiest (U.S.)
If Trump is the Christian his evangelical minions believe him to be, he and they should know and say the virus is "the Lord's will." They won't. Frauds.
Expat (France)
This is not hard to understand and I don't know why The Times is even writing about this: He is a sociopath, who is incapable of empathy. It informs many of his policy positions and decisions as well. It is one among the many reasons that he is the most unfit person to be president in U.S. history.
doughboy (Wilkes-Barre, PA)
Empathy is not a Trump characteristic. His bombast and iconoclastic behavior was what won him the GOP presidential nomination, and convinced enough voters in swing states that he was “different” than the run-of-the-mill politician. In addition to tapping into ethnic, racial and religious prejudices, Trump identifies himself with the creation of wealth. Only when the pandemic could not be ignored did Trump act. His assured second term was jeopardized. Restarting the economy is not just an economic question, it is political. With the collapse of the America’s wealth, Trump sees the collapse of his electoral chances. The narcissist faces the loss of adulation and of a disgraceful departure from office. Perhaps unknowingly, Trump is channeling Machiavelli. In The Prince, a ruler should be careful. “People will sooner forget the death of a father than the loss of an inheritance.” Compassion will not get Trump re-elected. A thriving economy “trumps” all else.
David H (Northern Virginia)
@doughboy I hate to break it to you, but a "thriving economy" is all that most people care about. For the simple reason that without one, there will be far, far greater personal and financial devastation than there has been heretofore.
Tim C (Chicago)
@David H Right now it's about a 'surviving' economy. A 'thriving' economy will come only when we can find and strike the right balance in a pre-vaccine world. Of course that's what everyone wants. But it can't be a binary choice. If we just go back whole to the world pre-covid the virus will spread in greater numbers.
hjw418 (Rhode Island)
The man is an empty shell both emotionally and intellectually. His only concerns revolve around him . . . his polling numbers and the size of his crowds. This is a man who does no work, but just watches TV. He is void of any humanity.
David H (Northern Virginia)
@hjw418 "He is void of any humanity." Is that a professional diagnosis? Its appalling that anyone would say that. I am certain that Mr. Trump's grandchildren would disagree.
Bill Brasky (USA)
In the immortal words of great leader "I like heroes that don't get captured". Extend that morality to those on the front lines of the crisis and those who have fallen sick and died.
anniegt (Massachusetts)
The ability to grieve is based on a connection to others, specifically or generally. This president has no such connection.
David H (Northern Virginia)
@anniegt "This president has no such connection." That's a rather absolutist statement. Have you checked with his grandchildren?
Tony (New York City)
The country is experiencing a great lost that words can never actually describe . Trump/ GOP are just vulture capitalist who dont mind putting children in cages, and watching people die with their fake sincerity . We have the democratic governors who provide the emotional support that people need. For those of us who have lived with the Trump myth here in NYC, we were amazed that people actually voted for a con man. Now we are dying 64k and our economy is in tatters, it is pointless to listen to Trump, Pence or any of them. The on the job training did work, they destroyed the country and now we are getting a fast track vaccine that will kill us. Those testing kit components we wont need them since Trump was never going to send them anyway , Most of us never wanted time to go by so quickly till we get to November. and vote these incompetent haters out of office.
Salar (N. VA)
The idea of having the president make a show of mourning over the victims of this disease has no sincerity objective other than politics. It’s objective is clearly part of the never ending attack on Trump. which most recently included the impeachment folly at the start of this pandemic that had no chance of ever getting passed the Senate.
BEH (WI)
@Salar are you kidding me? You know there is some value to having an actual leader at the helm. Someone who can speak to the nations fear and grief. It doesn’t have to be a “show” of mourning... 50K Americans have died so far. Actual mourning is appropriate.
David H (Northern Virginia)
@Salar Bingo. 100 percent correct in my opinion.
Reva Cooper (Nyc)
But not with the majority of voters in your state, thank goodness.
Harley Leiber (Portland OR)
Trump is incapable of empathy, for sure. He isn't interested in even trying to fake it. And therein lies the problem. The nation is grieving on many levels. Loss of family members and friends from a silent killer seemingly stalking us everywhere, but also loss of precious and well established routines. Social interaction, entertainment, work routines, child care, schools and employment. Thinking about the future triggers more stress and grief. But, there are stages to grief. As a country, we are long past denial and anger. And, on our way through bargaining and ultimately acceptance. Trump, as our leader could have eased the severity of our trauma with kinds words to victims, reassurance, and consistency. All he ever had to say was "we'll get through this, I'm with you and we'll do whatever it takes to insure a brighter tomorrow". Instead we hear campaign and reelection sloganeering and wishful thinking, restive comments about the need to restart the economy and how bad the media coverage is of his work. He really is a pathetic soul. America, in it's moment of collective grief, needs some TLC from their President. Instead.. we got this mess.
David H (Northern Virginia)
@Harley Leiber "All he ever had to say was "we'll get through this, I'm with you and we'll do whatever it takes to insure a brighter tomorrow". " In fact, he has uttered such words. Anyone who expects Mr. Trump to orate in the style of MLK is sure to be highly disappointed.
Nina (Santa Fe NM)
@Harley Leiber Hi I'm so grateful to you for your good thinking and writing. You clarify a lot of my own distress over this extreme circumstance. Thank you for breaking through my sense of isolation this morning with your words. Stay safe and have as good a day as possible--May Day. Nina
PBS (New York, NY)
Trump can't be bothered to show empathy or sympathy, but he has plenty of time to blame China. Sad.
Margot LeRoy (Seattle Washington)
Frankly, he gets a campaign donation from chicken and meat processors and gets GOP Governors to threaten employees with loss of unemployment benefits.......Gotta get those "peasants" back to work and skip this "social distancing" safety garbage. The man has less empathy than a robot and can finger point every day he wants. China, Democrats, Obama, space invaders, whatever. He ignored intel briefings, warnings from WHO and played golf in January. Mass graves and he worries about Wall Street and $$$$$$. He is not a leader. He is a self promoting performer who has yet to comfort a country he has almost wrecked with his own incompetence, I myself have written comments about former Presidents who stepped up for our pain, our fear. Given us faith and strength. Now, he sends demonstrators out to harass Governors who do not "obey" him, steals their ordered protective gear off of planes and trucks...It is disgusting behavior in a time of real crisis. There is no way to measure the depth of pain and anger at a man who is so empty inside that inflicting more pain is recreational.
SomewhereOutWest (WA)
Grieving? Trump and Kushner are too busy celebrating what a wonderful, amazing job they are doing. More dead Americans than Vietnam. Well, at least it isn't Civil War numbers. We'll have to wait until the Autumn for those accomplishments. Until then, heck of a job DJT and Kush, heck of a job.
FiddlerPhoebe (SoCal)
i remember President Obama singing Amazing Grace in that church as we all mourned the needless deaths of the parishioners. And we all joined him. When words fail, music soars. There is so much to mourn right now: the deaths, the job losses, small businesses that may not make it, hungry people, sick people with no health insurance, our hopes for the future gone. Where is our mourner-in-chief to tell us he is hurting, too?
Sandy Stadtfeld (Sausalito)
Do you ever wonder why neither his prosperity gospel spiritual counselors nor his evangelical adherents ask him to pray for anything? If he is truly the Chosen One - why not appeal via direct line to the divine?
Dan (Southwestern, Ut)
Trump, our grand leader, our sympathetic, or is it pathetic president, apparently believes that not being sympathetic or show empathy is a sign of weakness. I see it as a sign of being inhuman. But, he is one of those who possibly disparaged Mr. Obama’s leading a church congregation in a hymn.
ThatGuyFromEarth (Suffolk county N.Y.)
It’s odd that he should consider public displays of sadness “a weakness” when he obviously considers public displays of weakness such as always being a victim as one of his primary strategies. He’s always a victim, always being picked on, never getting the credit he deserves, “boo-hoo-hoo poor little me”, always whining about how the world isn’t fair to him ad nauseam... He is literally the weakest president and arguably the weakest world “leader” I’ve ever been aware of. His lack of empathy isn’t about not wanting to show emotion in public, he’s quite willing to get angry and make a fool of himself... how many times have we seen him get all red in face (no easy feat from under all those layers of cheap bronzer) with his false teeth gnashing?... And always in response to his inabilities to preform his job or his popularity, never about anything else. His only passion in life is himself, his image. He’s a self obsessed sociopath with no empathy, no concern for others... other people are just props to be used and traded to gain attention and personal praise. He won’t show sadness in public because all his sadness is reserved for himself. If his campaign toadies want to make him look human, they should put together an emotional speech for him to read, then right before he goes out to read it they should tell him his poll numbers have dropped into the negative numbers. If that doesn’t make him cry, nothing will...
Amelia (Northern California)
Don't make his excuses for him: "He views displays of sadness as weakness." Oh, does he really? Or perhaps, judging from what we've witnessed for the past four years, he's incapable of empathy, period. It's astonishing, really, that his MAGAs think he's strong and smart, just because he says so. This is a weak shell of a man incapable of ordinary human emotion.
jcmom (Jersey City)
The only thing worse than Trump *not* being part of memorial services for those lost is the idea of him being part of a memorial services for those lost. It would be turned into a solipsistic, grotesque mockery of true empathy, compassion, and grief.
Thomas Payne (Blue North Carolina)
Has anyone ever seen him laugh? I mean actually break down and laugh, not just a sarcastic "ha-ha-ha?"
Anne-Marie Hislop (Chicago)
Narcissists like Trump are simply incapable of compassion. He can't do it. As to the folks who met with him, there was a clip of him sitting at the Cabinet table an appropriate distance from a young woman who told him that she had recovered, she believed, because of his pushing hydroxychloroquine. She thanked him for helping save her life. So, yeah, he was interested in their stories...
Bruce (Home)
Thank goodness we have a President that looks beyond the pandemic to a normal future where we are MAKING AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!
David (Philadelphia)
You’re talking about the president who we elected, not the president who was sworn into office.
GdkT (Boston)
There is nothing he can do to please the NYT.If he cries that would be described on these pages as fake.The deaths at NY nursing homes are at the feet of the Mayor and Governor.They did not defend the most valnurable among us.A sneeze in subway car can infect hundreds .The Mayor is doing too little too late.
DG (Idaho)
Trump would not care if 300M Americans were killed by the virus as long as he is sent back to the WH. He is the ultimate display of the "me" attitude that would be rampantly on display during the time of the end as spoken about in 2 Tim 3:1-5
Charlie (Austin)
I'm astonished that after 4-years of Donny Boy, we still keep looking for facets of humanity that simply not exist in the guy. Why do we keep looking and hoping? -C
Ford313 (Detroit)
Why is this surprising for a gaslighting narcissist? Humans are just here to create wealth. What happens on their down time is of little concern to President Trump. I figure most bosses have this attitude, and he is just the most blatant of the bunch.
Pierce208 (East of the Sun West of the Moon)
Well, he can’t “grieve”, can he? It’s like expecting a vegetable, a piece of fruit or a brick to grieve.
Christy (WA)
A callous lack of empathy more than anything else may cost Trump re-election in November. For better or for worse, some 40% of the American populace stuck with him, unfazed by affairs with porn stars, a tape-recorded confession of sexual assault, nepotism, blatant corruption, a trillion-dollar deficit to pay for unfunded tax cuts, child abuse and other crimes against humanity on our southern border, his suspicious subservience to Vladimir Putin, a disastrous trade war with China that bankrupted farmers and raised consumer prices with tariffs, babbling quack cures on TV, then lying about it on TV. But Trump's failure to grieve or even acknowledge the decomposing corpses piling up in funeral homes may be the straw that broke the camel's back. When their president can't even express sympathy for an ER doctor who commits suicide because she can no longer stand the horrors of what she had seen, even the staunchest Trumpie must sit up and take notice.
Earl M (New Haven)
In the context of normal ongoing mortality, the death counts so far are not all that high.
Glenn Strachan (Annapolis, Maryland)
Your response is illustrative of of the schism we find ourselves in today. If you believe that 62,000 dead after 60-days is not a lot then I am certain you are a supporter of the deniers. These are the people who suggest that it could have been 2,000,000 people so you view it as success. I lost a very good friend to COVID-19 and all I can say is that you need to endure the pain of such loss and then you will understand how inane your statement is. I hope it is not your wife, your child or your parent. Sadly I can easily predict that you support Trump.
Yeah (Chicago)
That’s Trump’s attitude. There’s nothing to mourn. No regret because there’s nothing to regret. Nothing to see here.
NorthStar (Minnesota)
Earl M: what is your source of data for that statement? Widely available public data contradicts your statement.
Mark Miller (WI)
This is the same Trump who blew off the pandemic for a couple months despite warnings from CDC and from WH staff, because it gave his him another opportunity to defy the experts and titillate his supporters. This the same Trump who separated children at the border without even keeping track of where many of them were "stored". The list of Trump not caring about people is too long for 1500 characters. He has no concern about anyone but himself, his family and those who can benefit him. He wouldn't let passengers off an infected cruise ship because once they touched American soil they would make his "numbers" look bad, so the number of cases mounted. He didn't even jump to the defense of an aircraft carrier Captain who was trying to save his crew. I'd like to see an article about Trump voters who caught Corona, how many of them died, and feelings of those they left behind. That might be combined with projections of how much/little corona and death we would have had if Trump had not cut CDC funding and had taken Corona seriously from the beginning.
MJAH (Flyover Country)
Compare Justin Trudeau's address to the Canadian nation after the mass shooting in Nova Scotia to Donald Trump's response in identical circumstances in El Paso. Trudeau expressed grief, empathy, and resolve that the nation would stand together and would comfort those whose lives had been devastated. Donald Trump crowed about how he had outdrawn Beto O'Rourke at a recent campaign rally. Really, a quick glance will how what leadership in crisis looks like and the extraordinary extent to which our nation lacks it. Let's Make America Decent Again.
samspade1941 (Greensboro, NC)
Trump has no time for the dead, for the suffering, or for the grieving because of critical issues that demand his attention. He has to worry about reelection and rail against his campaign staff for his abysmal polling numbers. He has to muse the latest virus conspiracies, many launched by his friends at Fox News. And every day he must fight another fake news story detailing his incredible shortcomings and mounting mistakes. Franklin Roosevelt's actions stand in stark contrast to a man totally unprepared to handle the nation's highest office and unwilling to adapt to its demands. On Dec. 8, 1941, the day after the Pearl Harbor attack, FDR, in a speech to Congress that lasted a little over seven minutes, showed more concern for our country and more determination, courage and understanding for the job ahead than Donald Trump has ever mustered in his life....
Colleen (WA)
Looking for empathy, sympathy or genuine sadness at other people's pain from Donald Trump is an unrealistic expectation. He has demonstrated over and over that he is incapable of these emotions.
T. Williams (Egg Harbor Township, NJ)
Those few ‘lucky’ enough to have their unemployment applications approved look at the measly amount, after taxes. Other GOP supporters think about that $1,200 government handout they might get, someday, and wonder about their stance against the Affordable Care Act and public assistance in general. Remember how they hated Planned Parenthood before they all desperately wondered about their own health? Remember how the tax cut left our government needing to borrow a trillion dollars from the Chinese and Saudis. Who else do you think is buying our debt in the form of US Treasury notes? Unemployed workers? Who will benefit the most during any upcoming recovery? The 1% like Trump and his family are already watching their investments quickly grow back. The Trump “Golf & party like it’s 1999” platform is dissolving like a sandcastle in the rising tide of ordinary citizen’s woes. The US holds about 5% of the world’s population and reports 25% of all Covid-19 deaths. There’s a big reason for all those additional lost mothers, fathers, rabbis, doctors, bus drivers, nurses, sisters and brothers, Trump went out golfing and holding political rallies. Our government failed us while governments in Taiwan, Korea, New Zealand, Vietnam and Hong Kong took solid measures to prevent the spread of disease. Our emperor golfed while America got infected. People want change, again. They want a real leader in-charge, not a whining baby selling snake oil and failing to feel their pain.
Jim (NC)
Other than VE and VJ Day there are no national days of anything they are needed. If there was such a day would it make the country feel better or fix problems? Nope just a big fat waste of time followed by a lot of glad handing.
Martino (SC)
Trump will never have a finest hour, only a series of complaints about how he was robbed of all the glory only he believes he so richly deserves.
Tom Debley (Oakland, CA)
I read somewhere that the human body contains about seven trillion nerves, but there does not appear to be a single atom in Donald Trump that understands grief, mourning, sympathy, empathy or the like. Let alone any skills to lead us effectively in a national crisis. And yet there are millions who support him, along with a national political party? What happened to America? I grieve daily for the tens of thousands of Americans who have died so far, along with the hundreds of thousands of their friends and families who are in mourning. And I grieve for America. What happened to the “American spirit” that arose in World War II that historian Paul Ambrose described as “we are all in this together, and we will fight it out together." Our national response to Covid-19 is “a patchwork quilt” of states divided. Politically, instead of a united fight by 50 united states, we stand divided. It is as though we are hellbent on aiding and abetting the corona virus.
Paul Ashton (CT)
Can we stop expecting Trump to act like an emotionally and psychologically healthy, decent human being? He never has been and never will be. Our only choice, to save the country, is to put him in permanent quarantine in November.
Check His Power Now (NYC)
At his core, he is not truly human. At his core, his primary traits are criminality, and a lack of any capacity whatsoever for empathy, unless it concerns himself. He is not a fully formed, normal human being. Numerous species of animals exhibit more capacity for empathy and caring, for example, elephants.
Mary (PA)
@Check His Power Now He isn't even very good at imitating a human.
Check His Power Now (NYC)
@Mary - absolutely. He even lacks the capacity to fake it, as a fully formed human being might at least try to. Thank you.
Tournachonadar (Illiana)
Trump has no human soul or the emotions that attach to it. He is the living emblem of H.P. Lovecraft's leviathans, creatures without souls that want to eat ours up and dominate humanity as an alien species. The only things that motivates him are vanity and greed.
Marcy (California)
If we are to believe our own eyes and ears, then we all know Trump has no business being the President. (I cannot put his name with the word President together.) He’s not even a decent human being. What I find odious, are the people who know how sick Trump is, continue defend him, and think that those of us, (and that’s most of the country and the world),that know how evil Trump is, are considered unpatriotic. God help us!
Kathy (SF)
The people whom you think know better put him in power because he would be and has been a massive distraction, providing cover as they wreak havoc. Some may know he's sick; others deny it because their salary depends upon their denial. Nowhere on the Republican side will you find real concern for Americans. They're stealing from and cheating us. Compassion doesn't pay. Their voters are like people who don't care that their partner is beating the kids because they like their lifestyle and never really cared about their kids.
SU (NY)
These things are far away from this man. His soul is not blessed with these types of sentiments. Even he does such a thing, it will be fake.
Dee (Cincinnati, OH)
@SU You would think that his advisors (he must have a few left?) would encourage him to make some statement of sympathy and compassion. Can't Jared or whoever writes his speeches throw something in there? The fact that he doesn't even try to fake it speaks volumes about this man's character (or lack thereof).
David Smith, smithdav46 (Narberth, PA)
As far as I can tell he cares nothing for others. It would seem that from his point of view, the victims of his incompetent administration are just collateral damage and should be ignored. Only the bank balance and net worth are important considerations.
Gene (Charleston, SC)
A hypothetical exercise for all Americans — conservatives and liberals. Imagine you and a companion are hiking deep in the wilderness. Suddenly you fall down a hillside, break your leg, and cannot walk back to civilization without assistance. Your companion is either Biden, Obama, or Trump. You get to choose. Let’s be honest. Two of those individuals would do whatever it takes to save you, even risking their own survival in the process. The third individual would save himself and later blame you for being “weak”. Empathy and integrity are qualities that matter in our leaders.
Bill Brasky (USA)
@Gene You lost me at trump hiking!
Austen Hayes (New york)
It is this characteristic that allows the man (I struggle to refer to him that way), to cage infants and children, throw paper towels at humans broken by storms, recall women he's sexually assaulted not by name, but by label - "liars", dismiss and devalue a 16 year-old climate activist, force the uneducated and frightened to return to work settings that place them in danger, ignore rampant hunger as men, women and children wait all night for a meager box of food, focus on money, wealth and power while bodies lie in refrigerated trucks. No time in our history has been, or will be as bad as watching him ignore the suffering of those who've lost loved ones, those without work, those who are hungry. He's managed to keep his followers happy giving them permission to protest protected by guns instead of masks. And they follow...as lambs to the slaughter.
Tim (Brooklyn)
If finally his minders force him to speak and try to sound compassionate, he will deliver their words with his standard monotone. It will be too little, too late and only serve as another sound bite for the Democrats. Being caring and compassionate is part of leadership. This man proves every day how disconnected he is from the American people. If he does not care about us, then we do not need to care about him. Good riddance in November.
wak (MD)
Trump is who he is. Who can really explain him when it comes to the absence of compassion at a time when others are stricken? His general public behavior, including as president, is overall unkindly. For the tragic effects of COVID-19 in particular, he may be so deeply fearful of death as a reality that “instinctively” he refuses to acknowledge it with tenderness. And especially in public. Denial of vulnerability is a problem for many. And though it’s not the same, how many of us truly grieve the number of deaths throughout the world every day from starvation, especially among infants and young children? Loving concern is inherently free; indeed, freedom itself is experienced in full measure through expressions of un-obligated, un-coerced love. None of us, including Trump, can fake this. It won’t go in any credible way even when given best try.
JB (San Tan Valley, AZ)
@wak Bush and Obama are also men of faith. Trump is not. That makes a big difference.
Sang Ze (Hyannis)
trump has no use for people. They exist merely to give him money and votes. Nothing else matters. He will "grieve" pnly when he can gain something from it.
Bonnie Huggins (Denver, CO)
“Despite Democrats and the media’s coordinated attempts to criticize this president for providing hope and optimism throughout this pandemic, President Trump has delivered a message of comfort, unity and strength while taking bold actions,” he said. Right. And I'm the head mistress of The Rainbow School for Leprechaun Children. If George Orwell were alive right now, he'd be jumping up and down saying, "guys, this is the party I warned you about! The one that commands you to reject the evidence of your own eyes and ears! Guys?"
Rebel in Disguise (TO, Canada)
Reading Trump's below quote is a good reminder of how immature, embarrassing and cringeworthy it is when an adult continually boasts about being the best human on earth. By the time my friends and I reached our 7th birthday, we had all learned this is childish and only lowers the image you project. Maybe Trump is a late bloomer who will learn this in his late 70s but time's running out. 'I don’t think anybody could feel any worse than I do about all of the death and destruction that’s so needless. Nobody,'
Dianne Olsen (North Adams, MA)
I think we all know that a statement of condolence from Mr. Trump would reek of falsity. I don’t expect him to be able to read such a thing without following it up with some outrageous unconnected remark.
Tony (New York City)
@Dianne Olsen I think the thinking public would have a riot if he even dared to pretend that he cared about anything but himself. We have seen his true colors and we dont want anything from him., his crooked family and the GOP. We just want them to leave before their incompetence kills us all
Grey (Charleston SC)
Why would you expect Trump to suddenly become compassionate? The best he will ever do is read in a sleepy monotone some words presented to him.
Harry B (Michigan)
But his supporters still adore and cherish his daily lies. The man has no friends and doesn’t like dogs. That’s enough for me to judge his character.
MLE53 (NJ)
I would not want trump anywhere near me if/when I was grieving. In this time of great sadness for our nation, please keep him from us. He is an ugly soul and I wish for nothing more than to never see or hear from him, any member of his family, or any member of his administration, ever again.
Kan (Upstate)
Trump doesn’t deal with the dead because I’m certain he thinks it will reflect back on him negatively and hurt his re-election chances. His is a zero-sum game.
Jay c (Ny)
here's a question. would trump care if his family got the disease or only grieve if he was the one who got it? it's obvious others don't really take up his time.
Debbie (New York)
Trump promised to end his imagined "American Carnage." Instead he presides, without a whit of empathy, intelligence, or concern for anything other than what it means for him, over unimaginable pain and carnage that his ineptitude and self absorption exacerbated and enabled. He is without a doubt, the wrong person at the wrong time. Resolve? Please.
Laura (CT)
The only times Trump has ‘expressed’ sympathy, he has been reading from notes or a teleprompter. He sounds like a robot. He does not connect with the words. It’s unbearable to watch.
Eric F (Shelton)
Trump’s inability to show empathy is unsurprising as he is a clinical narcissist, defined as follows: “Narcissistic personality disorder — one of several types of personality disorders — is a mental condition in which people have an inflated sense of their own importance, a deep need for excessive attention and admiration, troubled relationships, and a lack of empathy for others.” The most unfortunate part is that someone who clearly suffers from a severe mental illness remains in one of the most powerful positions on this planet during one of its worst human crises.
99percent (downtown)
Public weeping is all the rage for politicians these days. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n0L3TIqqWvc https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_7GgtDfHUsQ But there was a time when it was not fashionable for world leaders to cry in public. Dwight D. Eisenhower comes to mind. Eisenhower was our Supreme Allied Commander, and made the decision which resulted in 50,000 deaths and 200,000 casualties in a month and a half, during the Battle of Normandy. How many times did he emote in public? Zero. Trump-Haters gonna hate no matter what, but it is downright silly to suggest that Trump does not feel grief simply because he doesn't show his emotions in public. But do you really want a sniveling cry baby in the time of crisis?
Deb (CT)
@99percent No we don't want a sniveling cry baby--just a drop of humanity will do. If you read the vast majority of comments from other readers you will see--that decency, humanity and kindness matters to most of us. trump is without one drop of what it takes to be a leader. Being a mensch--for one.
Tamara (Scottsdale)
It isn’t about crying in public. Tears aren’t a requirement. Its about leadership. It’s about being able to solidify and unite a wounded nation when it needs it most. There is really only one position in the country that has that power — it’s the presidency. Many, many presidents have used this soft power effectively, reaching and leading even those that did not share his politics.
Paul Ashton (CT)
Eisenhower was a General in a war fighting the Nazis. Trump is watching TV, worried about his ratings, his money and how to blame someone, anyone else for his lies and inadequacy. Later, as President, Eisenhower said; “In this hope, among the things we teach to the young are such truths as the transcendent value of the individual and the dignity of all people, the futility and stupidity of war, it’s destructiveness of life and it’s degradation of human values”.
MichaelC (Chicago)
“Stressing resolve...”?! Yeah, no, as my kids would say. Trump is delusional, completely lacking in the necessary abilities required of the office and this situation. Any situation. He is irrelevant. It’s the states that are leading, despite the local loons that are resisting their state’s efforts to keep them healthy and alive. It’s the states that are showing the resolve. I’m proud of Illinois Governor Pritzker and his staff of experts from many fields (from the medical to the National Guard) on TV every day at 2:30pm CST with detailed info and straight facts. It’s the states that are leading this battle, giving new meaning to “The United States...” Keep up the wonderful, but very difficult, work. Americans appreciate your tremendous efforts and are behind you.
Muskrat (NH)
Grieve? Our president? Not possible. The man wouldn't know empathy if it bit him on the...
Red Sox, ‘04, ‘07, ‘13, ‘18 (Boston)
Why should the deaths of 63K Americans (and counting) bother Donald Trump? He's probably thinking "They would have voted for Joe Biden."
Allison Landa (Berkeley, CA)
Lack of empathy signals a sociopath. If A plus B equals C, C in this equation would be our so-called leader.
William James (Boston)
Feeling grief would require empathy, something Donald entirely lacks.
joyce (santa fe)
Trump is only being true to his narcissism. Really, don't expect otherwise.
Pandora (IL)
First - he's incapable and second, he'd manage to twist any attempt at grief to focus on blame. He'd blame those who have passed, the medical personnel who attended the deceased, China, and the Democrats. It's better that he keep his trap shut.
Allison (Colorado)
I like the suggestion of a national day of mourning, but it's way too early for that, and Donald Trump is definitely not the right president to lead it. America is still in the early stages of fighting this pandemic. Let us continue heralding the courage of our front line workers and plan to grieve our dead when the danger is behind us.
KatieBear (TellicoVillage,TN)
How hard is it for the Press/Media to figure out these two basic things: 1) The President isn't going to anything to assist in testing because he doesn't want to have the REAL number of cases known. 2) He cannot mourn or feel sorrow. Dead eyes, no soul. But we can have our own National Day of Mourning, Moments of Silence each day. And we SHOULD. We should lead this sorrow. 3) He hasn't gone into the "war zone" to say thank you to front-line workers, or gone "near" a hot spot hospital to show his gratitude. But we as a country have done so.
Quincy Mass (Da Valley of NEPA)
Why would anyone be surprised that Trump has not led the way on national mourning? It is just not in his psychological makeup to feel sympathy or empathy. In other words, he just can’t do it, even if he wanted to.
Kvetch (Maine)
As little as Trump can muster to mention the tragic scale of human loss, as the numbers grow, he will stop completely from acknowledging the catastrophe it has become. For Trump the deaths must only exist as a number, an unspoken number, a statistic to function as just another number like the number of tests or ventilators, but the one number that he will never speak of.
Jan LLoyd (Los Angeles)
He is the same person who thinks his greatness as a president stems from the "thriving" economy, which isn't that thriving for a lot of people and he cant take credit for what was good about it anyway. He hurt many small manufacturers here by upping the price of tax on steel from China. He does not care about this country, our heritage like the national parks. I am so sorry for the people who have lost someone to this unnecessary pandemic. I hope we honor them by taking responsibility for the future ourselves now instead of waiting for the government to solve anything.
Andrew (NY)
This is hardly fair. Trump mourned repeatedly for the Stock market when it died, and has openly grieved for the fate of fossil fuel companies, the airline industry, and the plight of poor real estate developers everywhere.
Ceilidth (Boulder, CO)
@Andrew Just as he has always mourned the loss of every single dollar he has ever had to spend. He especially mourns any dollar that goes to taxes, to the undocumented workers he employs, to the contractors he agreed to pay or to any person who doesn't show complete fealty to him. Then you see emotion: the emotions of greed, hate and entitlement.
Norma Gauster (ngauster)
Has anyone heard him say anything about the tornados that devastated parts of the South recently? Has he visited these places or showcased FEMA’s great work there? Oh, now I remember, those places aren’t a big part of his base. And there are no Trump properties there where he can house his huge entourage of Secret Service, etc. at taxpayer expense, not to mention where could you possibly land Air Force One?
MH (Chicago)
Where's the surprise? Never has taken responsibility for anything adverse and only takes credit for that which he defines as positive. Heads, Trump wins; tails, the country loses.
Robin (Rwanda)
Nothing he ever did in the past before he became president demonstrated his empathy. Perhaps his favorite line was, “you’re fired!“ Which would seem to show us well before the election what kind of person he would be as president. I don’t expect him to change now. At the same time, it’s a tragedy for America when there is such a vacuum of leader ship at the top.
Ken Wood (Boulder, Co)
How can Trump display empathy when he is certain he alone is the sufferer - the victim?
Steve (Washington DC)
Anybody surprised? Grieving requires compassion and class. Trump has neither.
HUH???? (NYC)
just this week, I needed to go to the hospital. Entering the ER I started sobbing. No one was there, but still I wept. Daily, in front of their TV audiences, politicians speak of the number of dead, those intubated and those hospitalized. It is devastating. Yet somehow, people feel terrible, but these become just numbers- the brain can only tolerate so much horror. Walk into a hospital. It brings to stark reality the fact that these are not just numbers. The people, their families the world should shut down just for that realization alone. The terror of entering the hospital reminds you that you could be next. For that reason alone, though there are so, so, so many others, we should mourn -----Daily Trump needs to just enter a hospital. Wear a mask, talk to the healthcare workers - their stories up close and personal will gut you. If he doesnt feel a spark of humility and humanity there is truly no hope for him. But we know he will never do this. Just as we know he doesn't really care
silver bullet (Virginia)
The president's reluctance to express sorrow for the departed virus victims would be admitting that there is a lethal disease ravishing the country. He's not going to remind Americans of this runaway pandemic, especially now that his poll numbers in this election year are abysmal.
Martha White (Jenningsville)
Amazes me how he doesn’t have a clue that people have died, people are mourning, people will lose their small businesses, people will lose jobs, families will go hungry and families will be homeless. However according to this President, our “death toll” numbers are strong and “we are very proud of the job we have done”. He is proud of the death toll numbers. These are human beings who have died, these are human beings who had lives, loved ones, purpose and his only concern are the death toll numbers. That to me says it in a nutshell.
William Green (New York)
More recognition of our great losses would indeed be appropriate. I would also be interested in comparison and/or contrast to the recognition of losses by governors in states that have been especially hard hit.
M (Nyc)
Let’s be honest, he doesn’t care.
Janet DiLorenzo (New York, New York)
@M I couldn't say that myself, being a Christian optimist. I do observe that he is reluctant to display any part of him self which would give people a reason to think he is not in control. He's in a difficult position politically and he grieves about that. He is a narcisist remember, so it's all about him.
Coyoty (Hartford, CT)
@Janet DiLorenzo It's not just a perception of control, but he fears a perception of weakness. He thinks tenderness is an Achilles' heel and that someone will try to injure him through it. He's very protective of tender heels.
Welcome to Hard Times (Truth or Consequences, New Mexico)
@M Well, he does not care because he cannot care. He just doesn't have that capacity, which would be one thing if he were an ordinary citizen, but instead he's our cold-blooded leader, which, again, he can no more help than can a snake with its cold blood. We can't help but be who we are. Real change is fairly rare, especially big changes in personality.
Jim Sande (Delmar NY)
Trump is a man more driven by anger, contempt, mocking opponents, making up false claims, self aggrandizement, and general all around irritability. He is not a man of kind words, empathy, compassion, healing wounds, and wise self reflection. He has no empathy for the little guy or the struggling guy, and someone who is sick or dying is probably a weak person, a loser, in his mind.
KatieBear (TellicoVillage,TN)
@Jim Sande I can never forget when he was discussing viping, Melania sitting next to him. He said "she has a son..., and we have a son"
FJR - ATL (Atlanta)
Let’s give Trump a little credit. He did after all commission a COVID-19 Commemorative Coin (on sale now at the Whitehouse online gift shop).
KALB22 (NC)
@FJR - ATL I thought this was a joke, but it isn't. And, it's one of a series of coins from Trump that includes "“President Donald J. Trump: A Study in Genius.” You can't make this stuff up!
Jane (Wisconsin)
@FJR - ATL The following link is to an article stating that the organization selling these coins is called the White House Gift shop but is not affiliated with the actual White House or the president and that all proceeds ($100 per coin) go to two medical organizations. Even so, I personally think it's a pretty sick idea to have a coin that commemorates (celebrates, memorializes) a deadly disease. https://www.khou.com/article/news/verify/verify-no-the-white-house-is-not-selling-covid-19-commemorative-coins-heres-where-the-confusion-began/285-650c7fbc-cc28-48ee-8b45-0961aecb58dd
Jane (Wisconsin)
@FJR - ATL The following link is to an article stating that the organization selling these coins is called the White House Gift shop but is not affiliated with the actual White House or the president and that all proceeds ($100 per coin) go to two medical organizations. Even so, I personally think it's a pretty sick idea to have a coin that commemorates (celebrates, memorializes) a deadly disease.
Charlotte Colvin (Washington, DC)
So sad that he can't muster even a shred of leadership skill to support people who are grieving. I discovered a beautiful tribute to all who have died earlier this week - the Tulane University/Newcomb choir. I am pasting the link, but in case it does not work, just google "Tulane choir Good Night Dear Heart" and make sure to read the summary posted by the conductor. It's beautiful. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R2puz7oLBSM&feature=share&fbclid=IwAR3MXWwv3EJDGNaIBgbORxvM95liryQQkHx94WNFzVFEj6D2ZHueETUgwZc
ExPatMX (Ajijic, Jalisco Mexico)
@Charlotte Colvin Thank you o much for this. It brought tears to my eyes and peace to my heart. What a lovely gift.
WiseMan (Boise)
Yes, he lacks empathy. He’s also not very smart.
B. Rothman (NYC)
@WiseMan And given the nature of his reading, I would say it is a fair conclusion that he actually cannot read very well, which is why he avoids policy papers and reports from the various agencies. It is no doubt why he has to have others condense things for him. He’s almost pathetic— except that he’s so mean and heartless.
Bill Mahaffey (Colorado Springs)
I would prefer this had been left unsaid. Crockodilian tears with proclamations of his suffering will soon fill the screens.
SMPH (MARYLAND)
Love the shot of W with the fireman -- tells it all
steve (Seattle)
Can’t believe I miss ‘W’@SMPH
mjbarr (Burdett, NY)
He's a sad lonely heartless man.
MLE53 (NJ)
@mjbarr Sadness is a human emotion. I have seen no proof that trump fits the category.
joyce (santa fe)
If you can't feel empathy for others, can you be lonely?
Betrayus (Hades)
@joyce I think you can. A narcissist like Trump is capable of a kind of self-empathy. That's what makes him such a good and perpetual victim (poor pitiful me!). I think Trump is very lonely. However, it isn't his fault he's lonely. Other people made him lonely. Trump is never at fault.
Paul C. McGlasson (Athens, GA)
The Biden campaign in totality: When Trump wakes up in the morning, is he thinking about the welfare of you and your family, or is he thinking about himself?
John (Pa)
@Paul C. McGlasson Agree whole-heartedly! My slogan- Stay Alive/Defeat 45
Pat (Maine)
@Paul C. McGlasson That is a No Brainer.
Rebecca Stefanon (Maryland)
He has no empathy. Narcissists have none. Bullies have none. And he’s incapable of faking empathy, as he has shown us over and over.
SridharC (New York)
I always read this letter by Abraham Lincoln and I cannot see the man who sits in the White House today doing anything even remotely close. "Dear Fanny It is with deep grief that I learn of the death of your kind and brave Father; and, especially, that it is affecting your young heart beyond what is common in such cases. In this sad world of ours, sorrow comes to all; and, to the young, it comes with bitterest agony, because it takes them unawares. The older have learned to ever expect it. I am anxious to afford some alleviation of your present distress. Perfect relief is not possible, except with time. You can not now realize that you will ever feel better. Is not this so? And yet it is a mistake. You are sure to be happy again. To know this, which is certainly true, will make you some less miserable now. I have had experience enough to know what I say; and you need only to believe it, to feel better at once. The memory of your dear Father, instead of an agony, will yet be a sad sweet feeling in your heart, of a purer and holier sort than you have known before. Please present my kind regards to your afflicted mother. Your sincere friend A. Lincoln"
Robert Haberman (Old Mystic)
@SridharC Beautiful words. THANK YOU !
ThatGuyFromEarth (Suffolk county N.Y.)
@SridharC Could you imagine trump’s version? It would be a tweet of course: “FANNY... Tough break, hu? Well, your dad was rich, right? Thats a good thing. Did you catch my breefing yesterday?... looking good in polls... FAKE PRESS says no, but I’m best pesident ever. GO TURMP 2020!” Note: Misspellings added for accuracy.
Jaaron (Wa State)
@SridharC. Thank you for the example of heartfelt leadership. I'm also reminded of Lincoln's letter to a grieving mother who had lost four sons to the Civil War. (This is the one read by the Gen. Marshall character in 'Saving Private Ryan.') Real leaders not only have real emotions, they don 't hesitate to express them. May we all feel the freedom to be 'real' with each other in our shared grief.
Deirdre (New Jersey)
Donald Trump is the president who told the gold star mother that it was terrible but was what he signed up for. It was also Donald Trump that ordered the failed mission that killed that soldier and others - he takes no responsibility ever. This is not leadership - it’s psychopathy
GdkT (Boston)
@Deirdre Obama and his generals told us how well we doing in Afghanistan that caused continuing the war and needles deaths.Trump is ending it.Do you get the irony?
Blackcat66 (NJ)
@GdkT Trump is ending nothing. Believe when you see it. Ask the Kurds about his benevolence.
Betrayus (Hades)
@GdkT No. Do you know what irony is?
Frederick II (Denton, Texas)
Just say it -- Trump is a soulless sociopath. Of course he's incapable of empathizing with another person. He cannot truly understand other people's feelings, their grief, their experience -- and so consolation and sympathy are utterly beyond his powers.
Wendymairaw (Alabama)
Of course not. He has no soul.
TMOH (Chicago)
I agree with John McCain., Trump is the last person I would ever want at my funeral.
woodylimes (Palm Beach)
He can’t mourn because he knows the truth - he is at fault.
Tim (Baltimore)
Trump is one of those people who defines winning as making someone else lose. So other people's losses hit his success receptors before anything else. There is little doubt that he thonks he's winning some kind of contest with all those losers who died of Covid-19. He's an out-of-shape guy in his 70s and he gets a kick out of looking at all those others who didn't live as long as he has. And he gets to golf at his own course. So much winning...
Doctor B (White Plains, NY)
Lack of empathy is a classical feature of Narcissistic Personality Disorder. In Trump's world, the only person who ever suffers is himself. Hence, no victim of any true tragedy receives any compassion, caring, or even acknowledgement from our president. This is disgraceful. Sadly, it's just one of dozens of ways that he demonstrates how mentally unfit for the job he is.
B. Rothman (NYC)
@Doctor B And what should we conclude about the people he has chosen “to serve”? Are they not simply an extension of that personality disorder?
Unbelievable (Brooklyn, NY)
I can't believe as a country that we aren't showing our disgust with Trump. Even before the pandemic, we didn't hold mass demonstrations! No walk outs! No standing up for the American dream. Nothing! We have become a very complacent country and we allowed this. We allowed Trump. Just look at the numbers of people who voted in the last Presidential election. Really pathetic for a world super power and yet here we are complaining and moaning about a man who won a substantial amount of votes. What has happened to us as a country to allow this. Did we just get wealthy and rest on our laurels? Is it because we have become self centered on ourselves and content to just go to the mall and acquire more stuff? Trump seems like he just doesn't care for the dead. I watch his press conferences with my two teenage sons in bewilderment as I can't believe anyone their right minds thinks that he is a normal President. I try to be objective, I really do. I really listen and filter and try so my kids can make up their own minds but to no avail. I remember every President since JFK and remain perplexed by Trump. But, I remain more perplex by the have nots voting for the haves in mass. This country is pathetic and its only going to get worse. We have lost our ability to demonstrate, to strike, to vote and to be real Americans.
MLE53 (NJ)
@Unbelievable I have written to my representatives, to McConnell, to graham, to trump. I expressed my disgust with them all. The impeachment process clearly showed trump had committed a high crime. Yet the republicans refused to convict. I blame them as well as trump for the disaster we are in right now. The republicans have given this “man” cover for 4 years. Everyone of them must be sent packing and history will dishonor them for all time.
Roy M. Barbee (Washington, DC)
@Unbelievable You are right. It's easy to forget this. Where is our serious outrage at what this man is doing to us? We complain on these pages and in headlines, but where is mass action? Remember the Women's March just after Trump's election? The vigils in of front of the White House during LBJ's time? And Nixon's? They focused attention and had a serious effect - for the better. Are we cowed by the hate of the far right (and the far Left)? Do we believe we just get to keep our rights because, well, we've always had them? In this world, no one keeps rights they don't defend.
JM (New York)
“Empathy has never been considered one of Mr. Trump’s political assets.” This sentence alone deserves a “Noble” Prize as understatement of...I don't know...the century?
Geoff (Spring Island SC)
To lead the country in mourning would require empathy.
David H (Northern Virginia)
@Geoff Why do we need someone to "lead the country" in mourning? Can we not each manage that on our own??
Ellwood Nonnemacher (Pennsylvania)
So, we expected something different from such a calloused self-serving individual?
Sunnyside (Nyc)
Grieving involves spirituality a belief in a greater being. It involves introspection of the person you are grieving. Trump poses none of these traits. He insulted John McCain while he was dead and has shown contempt for others who passed who were not drinking his Kool aid. And what if you were on his team? Roy Cohen his lawyer who taught him all about dirty politics and fighting? He died of complications from HIV And trump is not visit him in the hospital because h did not want to catch AIDS. Trumps problem is that an empathizer in Chief sees it as a weakness.
SteveH (Zionsville PA)
One does not need religion to mourn. Or feel empathy. You do seem to need it to look down on your fellow humans, though. Funny how that works....
Michael Richter (Ridgefield, CT)
No surprise that Trump shows no compassion. He is less than human.
mw (cleveland)
Please never again suggest Trump leading a national mourning ceremony. It would be just about Trump, and too painful to watch.
Amelia (Mahwah, NJ)
This man insulted and demeaned several Gold Star families. No surprise here.
SLY3 (parts unknown)
@Amelia It should have been over when he openly mocked a disabled reporter, yet the rabble cheered him on even louder.
Danny (Bx)
The man just got no class. Sure do miss the one he loves to blame. How sweet the sound.
Stephen Kurtz (Windsor, Ontario)
He's been married three times and boasts of his machismo. He famously said that if he shot somebody he could get away with it. You can't get blood from a stone. Why should you expect any different now?
BA (NYC)
This so-called president is morally and emotionally bankrupt. He erroneously considers conveying condolences a sign of weakness, when it's exactly the opposite.
Ron (Pittsburgh)
No surprise here. His NPD leaves him utterly incapable of any sort of empathy for others. Mr. Trump's behavior in all things is a result of that affliction; his grandiosity, his need to be praised, his sense of entitlement and more. This is the 800-pound gorilla in the room and I am tired of people dancing around it. He is a mentally ill person and his sickness has been foisted on the world with unsurprisingly horrible results. That no one seems capable of calling it out is equally sick.
Nancy Rose Steinbock (Martha's Vineyard, MA)
I would suspect that Trump views dying as losing.
Larry (CT)
@Nancy Rose Steinbock Perhaps so. But I was thinking that he views crying = losing, too.
ThatGuyFromEarth (Suffolk county N.Y.)
@Nancy Rose Steinbock Well... then I hope he loses soon.
Ana Palos (München, Germany)
As allways I would like to begin with it what makes an extraordinary effort to my Mind speaking about understanding (of Situation): "temperatures in California reached 100 Degrees last Week". Bevor saying something so typical mine as "Really, 100 Degrees? You must be joking about?" and continuing to caricature a whole Drama of unhappy People cooked so propriately how only Canibal Lector would not stay hungry etc., I will...oh, d`mn, it`s about Fahrenheit, right? Nah, all Right, it is "just" around 38 Celsius...phuhfiiii… Mea culpa "New Jersey is reporting more new daily deaths than other States"? Well, it is not good News certainly. If we are going to take in considering how in New Jersey lives 389 citizens pro 1 km (quadratic) and, for Example in Texas it is 41 Citizen pro 1 km quadratic (source Wikipedia, 2016) then the Way of spreading is the Problem nr. 1, indeed (how an Experts are in trying to alert the People). So, step by step, back to daily Routine. The Beaches (following the logic) shall be last places for reopening even it is not easy to hold on at 38 Fahrenheit in the Air. Or, how the People are already in making of Jokes in my Dalmatia (Region of Croatia) how it will be like when next Month Sommer cames in their Towns: the Policemans will be in holding of tables with numbers and yelling aloud through the Megafon "nr. 112, 15 Minutes ins Meer"... Germany still does not have similar Problem but naturally all Schwimmbads are closed down "until further".
Peter Hornbein, PhD (Colorado)
Of course he "chooses to emphasize the positive," when your only concern is your own financial well-being, to talk about the losses others are suffering is incomprehensible. His reptilian brain can only keep two things in mind: increasing his wealth and maintaining power (if for no other reason than to avoid possible prosecution by the Southern District and by New York State).
FXQ (Cincinnati)
Traits of a Psychopath "Psychology researchers generally believe that psychopaths tends to be born — it’s likely a genetic predisposition — while sociopaths tend to be made by their environment. (Which is not to say that psychopaths may not also suffer from some sort of childhood trauma.) Psychopathy might be related to physiological brain differences. Research has shown psychopaths have underdeveloped components of the brain commonly thought to be responsible for emotion regulation and impulse control. Psychopaths, in general, have a hard time forming real emotional attachments with others. Instead, they form artificial, shallow relationships designed to be manipulated in a way that most benefits the psychopath. People are seen as pawns to be used to forward the psychopath’s goals. Psychopaths rarely feel guilt regarding any of their behaviors, no matter how much they hurt others. But psychopaths can often be seen by others as being charming and trustworthy, holding steady, normal jobs. Some even have families and seemingly-loving relationships with a partner." Remind you of anyone?
ldh (Milwaukee WI)
Trump does not care about anyone or anything that does not affect him, his money or his political interests. Therefore he has no empathy and is incapable of showing compassion. This is why his "coronavirus updates" from the White House podium are nothing but self-aggrandizing speeches.
David H (Northern Virginia)
@ldh How do you know? Have you met with him? Have you seen his interactions with his family, his grandkids?
SteveH (Zionsville PA)
He interacts with his grandkids? That. Is. Hilarious.
MIMA (heartsny)
Grieving requires feeling something for somebody else. Donald Trump does not have that ability. The thought of being expected to feel for someone can be exemplified by seeing Trump at the Bush Sr. funeral. Trump was so uncomfortable as noticed by the look on his face that it seemed he could not get out of there fast enough. After all, the people around him, the other presidents and their wives actually felt something in their hearts, Donald knew he didn’t and was afraid he might be caught on camera with the truth - the inability to care for anyone else but himself. Also, grieving has nothing to do with fame or money, bot of which are very important in life to Donald Trump. The Tin Woodman looked for a heart in the “Wizard of Oz” but Donald Trump would have no desire to search. Ever.
Rob (Chicago)
It’s more appropriate to wait until it has truly subsided. To do so now will leave out so many more who have yet to pass
RJG (NYC)
Perhaps on his way out January 20th. But then he would be crying for himself and his hopefully future as a defendant in prosecutions!
MLE53 (NJ)
@Rob I am sorry, but that is a bizarre statement. You grieve when people die. trump does not have to grieve once and check the box. We grieve every 9/11 and include those who died after as a result of the event.
PM (NYC)
@Rob - Okay, if God forbid your loved one dies now, you can grieve for her next year. Sound good?
David H (Northern Virginia)
Why do we expect the obviously emotionally awkward Mr. Trump to behave -- in public -- in ways that are either completely alien to him, or which compel him to show what he regards as manifestations of weakness? By all accounts Mr. Trump had a miserable childhood; he was sent to military school; his brother died of alcoholism. He cut his teeth in the NY real estate world -- a vicious and cutthroat environment demanding excessive bravado and displays of toughness. He is a human being. There may be additional factors at play. I have not once in my 60 years looked to a public figure to lead me in reflecting on, consolidating, and processing my emotions. For me these sorts of things are all highly personal; I need no external inspiration. Personally, I am more interested in results.
RJG (NYC)
You left out his silver spoon. Many people grow up in hard times and yet have cultivated humanity.
David H (Northern Virginia)
@RJG True. I forgot wealth. Which brings to mind his comments about somehow ingesting disenfectant... which reminded me that Trump has never once cleaned his own kitchen counters.
ThatGuyFromEarth (Suffolk county N.Y.)
@David H Well, if you are only looking for results... I’m assuming you mean economic results, national unity, the nation’s standing in the world community, quality of life, national security, future economic stability... Well then... my condolences, that’s been a tragedy too.
Julie Haught (OH)
Donald Trump is a deeply wounded person. Since he does not seem to have done any work on healing those wounds, he is completely ill-suited to fulfill his duties as President. While I share the frustration of others commenting here, I hold equal anger at those who enable this man. All but one Republican Senator chose to allow this man to continue as President when they held the power to save the country. Instead they voted in their own self-interest. I hope voters remember that in November.
David H (Northern Virginia)
@Julie Haught Impeachment is ancient history, and American voters have the aggregate political memory of a goldfish. Deeply wounded or not, most of us are looking to trump for results.
Pat (Maine)
@Julie Haught Well said. I totally agree. It is my fervent wish that all those Republicans that voted to acquit will lose their seats come November. I think/hope Susan Collins will not be reelected. Her 'aspirational' view that he'd learned something from the whole impeachment episode was devastating and any Republican who claims to value the US Constitution should go down in November. The lesson Trump* learned was that he can indeed shoot someone on 5th Avenue and get away with it. God help us all if he's reelected. Perhaps this is God's way of taking hold of the situation...
Jonquil (Michigan)
@David H Well, you've got results alright. At least 1,000,000 Covid-19 infections and almost 65,000 deaths. These are 65,000 people who will never be able to enjoy their 401-Ks. Fortunately, many of us have very , VERY long memories. May we prevail in November.
Joshua Folds (New York City)
I'm no more interested in Trump's condolences for the dead than I am for the NYTimes to feign human emotion and act as if this tragedy or your forced condolences have some rectitude or emotional meaning behind. Both this epidemic and the suffering of America are futile. There's not one drop of utility nor meaning therein. Suffering is a personal matter. We will all die sooner or later. Your inept words don't make matters any less painful. As I remember the many loss of dear loved ones I've experienced in my life, I always loathed hearing the forced, empty and distantly cold words of those who simply "didn't know" them but felt compelled to say something. Say nothing. The sentimentality, cliche catchphrases and need to apologize never came off as sincere. These "deepest sympathies" are learned affectations rather than a heartfelt emotions that most of you should learn to keep to yourselves. Allow me to grieve, cry, suffer without the emptiness of your words. It wouldn't come off as sincere when Trump does it and certainly has never sounded authentic or sincere when Times writers do it. It is reminiscent of the way the Times has always written about death. The flowery, the sappy, the emotive and the reminiscent flows from feigned lips. Keep your words and your well-wishes. Let's face that none of those things have any meaning, necessity nor utility whatsoever. Silence helps.
Rene (Washington)
@Joshua Folds I would argue the opposite: it's our shared humanity that makes us human. I'm sure you don't mean to give Trump's lack of human response a pass, but that's what you are effectively doing. I think our energy would be well-spent to demand that our leaders are actual human beings with real feelings. I also think that because Americans work hard to distance themselves from really feeling dismay, disgust, fear, empathy and sorrow on behalf of others, we end up with children in cages. I'm AM sorry that you are so wounded by your losses. And I'm also sorry that you think that these sincere words from a stranger are insincere. But I too am a human who has had losses that I'll never recover from. You don't know mine, I don't know yours, but we share that experience. I don't care for flowery words myself, but it's important to recognize the intent behind those words. The intent is to offer comfort. Trump has no capacity for normal human empathy, which is as important a character trait as any. On this we would agree: I would never want to hear Trump offer me words of condolence. His emptiness would be terrifying.
David H (Northern Virginia)
@Joshua Folds Bravo.
Noah (Canada)
His JOB is to uplift people and give them hope and courage- not to sit there crying.
The Chop (Wisconsin)
@Noah If so, I am not feeling it.
MLE53 (NJ)
@Noah Uplifting by lying is not in the job description. Sharing our pain in a national disaster should most certainly be expected of our leader. trump is neither a man nor a leader. We will never have hope or courage while he destroys our democracy.
Keitr (USA)
Republicans know that at heart people are selfish, and that contrary to liberal morality greed is good and is what has made this country the richest in the world. President Trump exemplifies this and should be praised, not condemned. Freedom!
MLE53 (NJ)
@Keitr The best of us has always been the selfless, and the generous. They help repair those damaged by the greediest among us. trump is the worst we have to offer the world. Our better days will come when he is finally left to be ravaged by history.
PM (NYC)
@Keitr - It may be the richest country in the world, but with Trump and his ilk in charge, it assuredly is not the best.
Steven (Natick)
I have my own problems processing empathy and sympathy but I know what's right and wrong to say. That Trump has emotional connection issues may be medical, but that he's in the highest office and can't communicate beyond schoolyard taunts in teenage forums - well I wasn't born on third or handed millions of dollars or given the grace of all the chemicals necessary to process every emotion but my parents sure as heck taught me how to be a human being. What a brat.
Rick (NY)
I honestly don't appreciate it when Trump tries to look sympathetic since it's not a real emotion. He always appears to be pretending.
Steve Ell (Burlington, Vermont)
“Our death totals, our numbers per million people, are really very, very strong. We are very proud of the job we have done.” Nice choice of words. Strong enough to lead the world in deaths. Uttering such a morbid statement is sickening. And it’s great that trump can remember speaking to “three, maybe four families” about their losses. Nobody expects him to speak to 63,000. trump is willing to sacrifice every one of us if it might make the economy recover and help his re-election chances. He’s the killer-in-chief. He belongs in the “big house” but not the White House.
S Venkatesh (Chennai, India)
There is a grim cartoon of a coronavirus with a face mask walking warily past Donald Trump ! The peoples of the World are horrified by the spectacle for the past 100 days, ever since China enforced an iron-fisted lockdown in Wuhan, of Donald Trump ignorantly dismissing any action to counter this epidemic. Donald Trump is the only Head of State in the World directly responsible for over a million Americans infected, over 63000 American deaths, a thriving American economy reduced to shambles & enjoying the approval of the American people for a job well done.
Carol Ring (Chicago)
Now more than 63,000 people have died. Trump doesn't have the ability to feel compassion. He dwells only on how great everything he does is and figures that will make everyone happy. It makes me sick. He cares not for the lack of PPE medical equipment, the workers in meat processing plants, people who have lost their jobs, those 1/3 of the population who for the month of April could not make their rent payments nor for states that are going bankrupt in trying to protect their citizens. He cares only about corporations and the wealthy...mostly about enriching himself.
CC (New York)
Why do you ever expect empathy from someone who has consistently shown none? Who is always the victim and never the victimizer? I can’t imagine anyone looking to him for comfort. He is not capable of giving it or even acknowledging the grief and loss for others. Good thing no one reads an actual paper because this article would have killed a tree in vain.
Moira (Ohio)
It's impossible for malignant narcissists to feel empathy for anyone or anything other than themselves. There will never be soothing words during a national disaster from this guy (if he knows any). Still, I have never in my 58 years NOT heard a president try to console the nation after or during a disaster. Yes, he is a terrible president but he's also just a reprehensible human being.
Chris (ATL)
Where are the rage by GOP Congress to Donald Trump’s irresponsibility? The pandemic has reemphasized the hypocrisy of GOP and reassure their self-interests - money and power.
Prudence (Cambridge, MA)
I for one am grateful that we haven't been subjected to Trump pretending that he cares one iota about all the people who have suffered or died in this global catastrophe.
Hey Jim (Florida)
I’ve always felt as if I were mortally wounded on a sidewalk, lying face-down on a nickel, and Donald Trump walked by, he’d push me over with the bottom of his shoe, pick up the nickel, and go on his way. He simply lacks the capacity to feel compassion, and cares for little else beyond money. It’s sad for him, but tragic for our country.
GdkT (Boston)
@Hey Jim It is impossible to read people emotions many times even your own are suppressed .What I want in a President to help the average guy.Trump has done it.
Nobody (Nowhere)
Of course he doesn't want to talk about it. He's like a drunk driver that killed 8 people but walked away from the wreck. There is nothing he can ever say or do to make it right, so the best strategy is to pretend it never happened or he wasn't there when it did.
ThatGuyFromEarth (Suffolk county N.Y.)
@Nobody That is actually a great analogy. I would add that he is the drunk driver who blames the victim for not being able to avoid him crossing into their path. His entire reign has been that of a drunk driver careening from one wreck to another, destroying everything in his path and never taking responsibility for any of it. I worked with a guy who was jailed for leading the police on a twenty mile drunk wreckfest, where after numerous collisions he finally totaled the vehicle, fell out of the car, and tried to stumble away before being caught... yet he still blamed the police for setting him up and following him out of the bar’s parking lot, despite the fact he immediately drove out of the lot the wrong way on a one way street, hit a parked car in front of a passing police car and drove off. Your analogy is spot on.
Ebrofin (Connecticut)
He’s irrelevant. Let’s treat him that way.
Susan (NH)
Trump has revealed the embodiment of the so called pro-life party. Money over lives, power over women and minorities.
SteveH (Zionsville PA)
Trump has one setting, which is self-promotion. It's why he has to focus on the script and goes monotone and loses syntax when having to do something as natural as reading. His natural voice is the unhinged madman, the carnival barker, the reality "star", the rebel rouser. Americans could have elected a serious human being to lead them, instead, we have Trump.
PM (NYC)
@SteveH - He also goes monotone when he reads because he can't understand what he reads.
Truthiness (New York)
President Trump may be wealthy financially, but he is absolutely impoverished emotionally.
Rick F (DC)
A man unwilling to show emotions, vulnerability, or maintain a human connection or empathy with others, is not to be trusted. He thinks being seen w/o feelings makes him look "strong" and "powerful" (his 2 favorite words) but all it does is make him look out of touch and inhuman. Gods help him if he tries to fake it while on the campaign trail.....
Jenny (CT)
@Rick F - correction: Trump's two favorite words "I" and "me".
Georges (Ottawa)
There needs to be more deaths to get an intelligent reaction from this man and the American public.
Truthiness (New York)
I don’t think compassion is a sign of weakness; I think fear of compassion is a sign of weakness.
HF (Florida)
I stopped reading at “emphasizing confidence about the future rather than dwelling on the present” in the sub-heading. Really? That’s how you characterize what he’s doing? My version of the sub-heading would have been “The President demonstrates, time and again, that he has no ability to empathize as he continues to focus on himself, rewriting the history of his failed response, and the ways in which he’s the real victim.”
Tokyo Tea (NH, USA)
@HF And it's not "confidence in the future"—it's ignoring the truly difficult situation we're in, and will be in even when we reopen. Do you for a second think he believes we'll make it through OK with group effort? Nope. He's just denying. Campaigning on denial, in fact.
Jeff M (NYC)
Donald Trump has nothing anywhere in his character resembling "resolve". Please do not mistake his selfish lack of concern for his fellow citizens for some kind of rectitude. His shallow compulsion to be re-elected is the only issue he cares about, including 60,000 dead Americans.
CRT (Florida)
This president has shown no sorrow for the dead and their bereaved for one simple reason: he is incapable of feeing and expressing empathy. It’s the same reason he lashed out at Peter Alexander last month when asked what he’d say to scared American families - the president was only able to interpret the question as a slight of ego. Textbook narcissistic personality disorder.
AA (NY)
Compassion and empathy would certainly be welcomed. But I’d just settle for honesty. For a president who doesn’t shirk responsibility and deny the lies he said on camera just a day earlier. Take your pick Joe Biden: “Make America Humane Again” “Make America Human Again” “Make America Normal Again” “Make America Care Again” “Make America Decent Again” “Make America America Again” and my personal choice: “Make America the United States Again”
Ed (Oklahoma City)
Acknowledging the deaths that have occurred during his watch ain't gonna happen. That's not to say he hasn't mulled over statements that range from "Traffic accidents actually kill more Americans each year than this Chinese virus has" to "Maybe it was just their time to go; I'm told that people do die when they get elderly." Oh, and this one: "I'm suffering too! It took an executive order to keep Big Macs coming to the White House."
BB (Pennsylvania)
You have to have loved to feel loss. I don't think he feels anything.
James Green (Lyman, NH)
‘ “In five years of watching him, I’ve never seen Trump display a shred of empathy or grace towards another human being,” Mr. Favreau said. “I’m not sure he has that capacity.” ‘ My sentiments exactly and it is profoundly disconcerting to have a person in the position of President who seems incapable of demonstrating true feelings of empathy, compassion and kindness. Watching the continuous self-promotion disguised as health briefings has become as unbearable as seeing the pain on the faces of health care workers struggling with the the critical issues of life and death. Instead of being the focal point demonstrating the power and ability of the Presidency and the Federal Government to step forward and guide the country through these extraordinary times, he dithers away the lives of people with his self congratulation and petty bickering with those he sees not as fellow citizens but political adversaries to be denigrated and denied the assistance so desperately needed. Unfortunately for Mr. Trump his behavior makes him look small and weak, rather than the powerful person he imagines himself to be and, sadly, we are all the poorer for it.
Rob (Philly)
As soon as he realizes he could make himself the center of attention, a national time of grieving will happen. Within 24 hours at the most.
Saints Fan (Houston, TX)
@Rob And then there was obama and the roman columns. “We are the ones we have been looking for”? Chuckle
Alternate Identity (East of Eden, in the land of Nod)
He can't show empathy. It is part of the narcissistic personality structure that other people are not important. Only he is important. It is beyond his ability to grasp, the notion that other people might be important, and might have feelings. To be sure, as a leader (!) it is his job to remain dry-eyed in a time of upset and grief and chart the way through. As citizens, family members, and bereaved, we have the luxury of mourning - the man in charge does not. Unfortunately he is also not a leader. We are left rudderless at a time of great national peril. It speaks volumes that the state Governors* have had to step up, band together, and are having to bypass the federal government in their efforts to obtain supplies and to gain control of the situation. Let us pray they succeed. And would that we had that caliber of person at the helm on the federal level. Vote in November. Vote your conscience, but get out there and vote. More than ever, we are at a crossroads. *Shoutout to Governor Cuomo. Whatever you might think of him, he is providing leadership when New York desperately needs it.
Patsy (Sedona)
As a nation we will be left with unresolved shared grief and the knowledge that we were left to mourn alone, each of us in isolation, by a leader incapable of feeling empathy. I mourn the immense loss of life and the loss of our nation’s heart. We may never recover.
Dave (NJ)
Honestly, this is the about the only thing I like about Trump's handling of the crisis. I don't want a politician-led national mourning - is there a less authentic group of people than the politicians in DC? Their emotional displays have no value or meaning to me.
L.C. Grant (Syracuse, NY)
"Beware of the man who neither laughs or cries." I heard this many years ago. I don't recall the origin, but it rings oh so true.
Tom Heintjes (Decatur, GA)
“The president does prefer promoting a public image of strength,” Mr. Nunberg said. No one doubts that he prefers to play the tough guy. But is he capable of empathy, like a psychologically healthy person with a normal range of emotions? Never mind...to ask the question is to answer it.
Jim Buttle (Lakefield, ON)
@Tom Heintjes "I'm not really the President, but I play one on TV" - DJ Trump
Beyond Belief (NJ)
We know his true colors. Any attempt at empathy and consolation that he may be encouraged to display by his advisors would ring hollow and would somehow be in service to self-aggrandizement. His inaction speaks volumes.
just Robert (North Carolina)
In this time of so much grief and fear Trump once again reveals himself as someone who knows nothing of the pain of being human. And what we are left with is a grand standing shell of a person who pretends to be our leader. It is possible to be strong and caring at the same time. Think of FDR rallying the country with 'All we have to fear is fear itself'. People followed him because they knew he had suffered in his life and felt the pain of beginning a new life in a wheel chair. But Trump, well he is no FDR.
Anne (Dartmouth, MA)
It's because he cares more for business than people. That's been his whole focus during his administration: business. If Biden wants to win this election, he'd better start talking about the sorrow of losing the 60k+ americans to the virus. Compassion may trump Trump in the long run.
Patrick alexander (Oregon)
Among other things, Donald Trump has always wanted to appear that he’s a “tough guy”. Most of us know, or have known guys like this. They’re the “wannabes “, we veterans call them “posers”. These guys think it’s a sign of weakness to show compassion, empathy, caring, etc. Those displays, in their minds are for “sissies” and for girls...definitely not for manly men. Donald Trump is one of these. He’s not a fully formed human being. All of the required visible parts are there, but inside something fundamentally human is missing.
Michael Kelly (Bellevue, Nebraska)
The only thing our "mourner-in-chief" mourns are his poll numbers. He lacks empathy, compassion and humanity. All through this crisis he's been concerned with his re-election. "Getting the economy going again" is about re-election. As the death toll bumps up again due to this ill thought out return to work don't expect any concern or acceptance of responsibility from the Donald.
ChristineMcM (Massachussetts)
"In his daily news conferences, he makes only perfunctory references to those who have died as he stiffly reads opening remarks, exhibiting more emotion when grieving his lost economic record than his lost constituents." This statement sums Trump's astounding lack of moral leadership. Not only has this transactional real estate developer not grown into the office he holds, he's cheapened it by reducing everything in American life to dollar signs. You never see pictures of presidential condolences with grieving families, only gatherings of corporate executives. It's the T Trump Show equivalent of Marie Antoinette's callous comments about the serfs she and her husband ruled over.
Peter Hornbein, PhD (Colorado)
@ChristineMcM Transactional, indeed. He is willing to give aid to red states, but the blue states must concede something; you know, a quid pro quo. I don't think he's really cognizant that the blue states are home to the majority of the population...
Susan Black (Aurora, OR)
@ChristineMcM Any encounter between "grieving families" and Trump at this point (or any) would be 100% to exploit their grief in order to assuage his ego. Any encounter arranged between "grieving families"and Trump in this circumstance, or any other, is 100% to exploit their tragedy in order to assuage his ego.
Marge Keller (Midwest)
@ChristineMcM I am so very happy, relieved and thrilled to see your comment. Gosh I have missed reading your words. And as always, your comment is spot on. Welcome back my dear. Hope all is good with you. Be safe and healthy.
Jim R (Vermont)
Offering empathy, hope and inspiration are not part of who Donald Trump is. Even his supporters must acknowledge this. Whatever his strengths are, these are not among them. So many people I know, on both side of the political divide, have just decided to move on through these difficult times without any expectations of words of encouragement or kindness from our president. So sad.
Potter (Boylston Ma)
I doubt playing the pastoral role would work for Trump. It would just go to show off that he lacks the sincerity. Instead Trump takes credit for the lower numbers than were predicted, predicted for a period that has not ended yet. As if he did the work!
David Henry (Concord)
"Asked who is in charge of the effort, Trump said he is. “I think probably, more than anything, I’m in charge. And I’m the one that gets blamed. And I get blamed anyway,” Trump said." 60K dead and HE'S THE VICTIM? Some remain astonished and still expect Trump is be something he isn't. Why pine for an illusion?
Robin (Rwanda)
@David Henry He says he’s in charge but he also said he “Doesn’t take responsibility for any of it at all”. So there we have it. He wants the glory of being the leader without the responsibility. Not like Harry Truman with “the buck stops here”.
Coyoty (Hartford, CT)
@Robin Whereas with Trump, no money gets past him.
Betrayus (Hades)
@Robin Trump: "Buck? What buck? I didn't see any buck!"
R Rogers (Florida)
Mr. trump still thinks day to day life can be managed like a TV show.How can I make myself look good in the moment? Well, it's obviously a lot more complicated than that, but beyond his intellectual and emotional capabilities. God help us and the world.
MIKEinNYC (NYC)
It's not like the dying is done. People continue to die at more or less the same rate. There is no cure or vaccination. If there has been any diminution of the infection, the sickness and the dying it is because of social distancing. Many of us have gotten smarter. When we see the making of some resolution and the nation is on the road to recovery then I expect Trump, or whoever is president, to lead the nation in mourning.
MIMA (heartsny)
@MIKEinNYC Right. Never mind sympathy or grief too soon. Where have we gone morally wrong? Cold hearted.
Elisabeth Murphy (Orcas Island)
We really have no one to turn to in this moment. The federal government has told us we’re on our own. Trump saves his sympathy for himself. Nursing his grievances in public, and expecting us to console him for how unfair this virus is to his re-election campaign.
Bob Hastings (PA)
No douibt he'll address grief after reading (or more precisely having someone reading for him) this article. Trump has been reactive, as opposed to proactive, throughout this whole crisis. If he thinks the premise of this article is gaining traction among the public, he'll feign some kind of empathy and sense of grief. It won't be convincing of course, I'm sure even his supporters sense he lacks empathy.
Bashh (Philadelphia, Pa.)
@Bob Hastings Hillary Clinton thought she needed lessons in “how to appear spontaneous”. Maybe Trump should take lessons in “how to feign sympathy.” Probably would work about as well for him as Clinton’s lessons did for her.
Patrick (Ithaca, NY)
I think you'd find a lot of Trump supporters are themselves somewhat challenged in the empathy category as well. In rallying to become the "us" against all the rest of "them," any empathy for the general suffering of humanity, let alone the concerns and suffering of fellow Americans is sorely lacking. How much can we get and keep for "us," to heck with the rest of the world is their paradigm, with Trump the natural outcome of this view. The coronavirus may serve to show we all suffer together, but for the "us," they will suffer more than all the rest, and blame "them" for it all. Sad.
NYChap (Chappaqua)
It would seem that a National morning would be held when the virus if about finished. It would be premature to hold it now while we are unsure of what the total will be and so many people are on lockdown and will be for a while yet.
Incorporeal Being (here)
We can’t mourn the SIXTY THOUSAND Americans dead from the virus? Until everyone has stopped dying? What?!?!
NYChap (Chappaqua)
@Incorporeal Being - I deliberately did not say until "everyone stops dying" because I knew someone like you would deliberately ignore my point which was the deaths were "about finished" which may be a couple of months from now or maybe not. You can morn the dead every day ten times a day if you wish. You can also morn the deaths of all the people that have died from seasonal flu too while you are at it and all the deaths from auto accidents too or murders as well if you wish. My opinion is we wait a while longer for the COVID-19 deaths before we have a National day of morning.
LHW (Boston, MA)
He is incapable of showing empathy because he thinks only of himself. And in his increasingly desperate attempts to prove that his response has been “perfect” he projects weakness and pettiness - not strength.
DS (Montreal)
It's one thing to want to portray strength and resolve but another thing to do so with grace, dignity and compassion-- you show examples of how it was possible for some in difficult times but clearly beyond Trump's capacity. His best bet -- a conspiracy theory that he can plug and exploit and will be believed by the same people who believed the birther theory.
CollegeBored (Lalaland)
He leaves the grieving to others because he has no heart, just a cold, hard pebble where it should be.
George Sogis (Riga, Latvia)
@CollegeBored Trump is the quintessence of American capitalism: "he has no heart, just a cold, hard pebble where his heart should be". Every nation deserves their leader, no exception. Sorry.
New York Times reader (USA)
Trump used to respect and look up to Queen Elizabeth, who rarely makes televised empathetic speeches, but did so in early April, addressing Covid-19. I wonder if Trump saw it, because he could have learned a few tips from it. All he has to say is something that promotes unity, like “we are all in this together”. Has he actually ever said that?
PoohBah2 (Oregon)
@CollegeBored And no soul. He sold it long ago.
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