President Donald Trump made it down to Texas earlier this week to survey damage and flood recovery efforts in the wake of Hurricane Harvey.
Ever the showman, however, Trump made sure to mention the size of the crowd that gathered to see him while he was down there. “Thank you everybody. What a crowd! What a turnout!” he said during a speech to recovery workers.
Trump did take time to thank those who were doing the hard work of helping locate, feed, and shelter victims, telling his audience that “Texas can handle anything.”
But one thing that Trump didn’t do after the speech was personally meet with anyone who were themselves victimized by the hurricane or the flooding that followed it.
Politico is reporting today that President Trump “didn’t meet a single storm victim,” nor did he experience any rainfall hitting his body while he was down in Texas. The president merely got his speech in, and spent most of his time down in the Lone Star State in the air.
His failure to meet with even one victim of the hurricane exposes what the Atlantic magazine calls Trump’s “empathy deficit” — his inability to show that he truly cares and can connect with people’s feelings on a personal level. Trump said a lot of nice words, but he has failed to demonstrate that he has genuine feelings for the citizens he’s meant to serve.
Contrast that with his predecessors (both Democratic and Republican), and it’s clear to see that Trump is an anomaly among presidents dealing with crises like these. President George W. Bush met with hundreds of victims (if not more) of the September 11 terrorist attacks in 2001. President Barack Obama made time to hug and console victims of Hurricane Sandy.
Even as far back as the 1960s, when Lyndon Johnson went to households on a small boat with a flashlight and supplies for victims of Hurricane Betsy, presidents have done their best to show empathy toward victims of tragedies, man-made or natural.
Watch video of Barack Obama consoling victims of Hurricane Sandy:
With Trump, however, that type of empathy has been missing. And while to some, it may seem like nitpicking, to others — especially those who are victims themselves of this terrible event — it means a world of difference to see their president care about them, on a personal level.
Featured image via WhiteHouse.gov