Trump’s Inability to Feel Empathy Makes Him the Most Dangerous President in History

Long before he was ever “elected,” I made it clear that the main reason why I opposed the idea of Donald Trump as “president” wasn’t because he was a Republican, but because he was completely unfit and unqualified to hold that office. Sure, I opposed nearly every campaign promise he made and most of the policies he said he supported, but all of that was secondary to my legitimate fear that this country might elect an unhinged sociopath to the most powerful position in the world.

When I say that Trump is dangerous, I’m not saying that as a progressive or a Democrat — I’m saying that as a human being who recognizes that we have someone who’s not mentally sound as our country’s “president.”

Some call him a psychopath, some call him a sociopath, while others simply claim he’s severely mentally ill. No matter what you want to think about Trump’s mental health, in my opinion, one of the things that makes him possibly the most dangerous “president” in history is what we’ve all seen time and time again: he has no ability to feel empathy.

For those who might not be entirely sure what empathy means, it’s defined as:

the action of understanding, being aware of, being sensitive to, and vicariously experiencing the feelings, thoughts, and experience of another of either the past or present without having the feelings, thoughts, and experience fully communicated in an objectively explicit manner; also :the capacity for this

Whenever Trump’s been faced with a situation that requires him to be empathetic toward others (his speech in front of the CIA memorial, his responses following an Islamic terrorist attack, during Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria, when the bodies of four U.S. troops were returned home, etc.) he’s failed miserably. In each and every one of those situations, he’s made it about him.

When he spoke in front of the CIA memorial, he spent much of his speech talking about his election victory and the size of his inauguration crowd. He seemed completely unable to grasp the brevity of the situation that he was literally standing at a memorial dedicated to those who’ve died for this country.

Every time there’s an Islamic terrorist attack somewhere in the world, instead of offering words of condolences, allowing the country and the victims to process what happened and grieve, Trump sees these tragedies as opportunities to push his anti-Muslim rhetoric. He couldn’t care less about the death or destruction that just took place. All he cares about is seizing on an opportunity to exploit the attack for his own personal agenda.

Upon his first visit to Texas after Hurricane Harvey ravaged the state, he actually bragged about the size of a crowd that showed up to see him speak. For normal human beings, that thought wouldn’t have even crossed their minds. Yet for Trump, this was literally one of the first things he said during that visit. The same visit where he apparently didn’t feel compelled to talk to or console a single victim of the historic storm. Only after he faced public backlash for seemingly using his visit as a PR stunt did Trump return and finally get that photo of him hugging victims of Harvey.

Then look at how he’s reacted to Hurricane Maria destroying Puerto Rico. After ignoring the island for days, Trump didn’t finally respond with words of hope or encouragement toward the millions of Americans living there. Instead, he spent most of his time attacking the media for reporting how incompetent his administration’s response had been, criticizing Puerto Rican government officials, and trying to brag about what a good job he had done.

Just like he did with Harvey and Irma where most of his tweets about the storms weren’t about the victims, but talking up how powerful the storms were, while boasting about his administration’s response, in what seemed like a very Trump-like attempt to essentially say, “See, I dealt with storms unlike anything anyone has ever seen and I responded better than any other president ever has.” As we all know, according to Trump, everything he does is better than it’s ever been done before.

Though Trump took his awful response to Hurricane Maria to a whole other level of deplorable when he brought up the nation’s economic issues, money they owe to Wall Street, talked about how helping them hurts his budget, and even tossed supplies to victims like he was shooting basketballs. No mentally sound human being would have ever behaved the way Trump did toward Puerto Rico and the destruction caused by Hurricane Maria, but it never even crossed his mind that his comments and behavior were appalling.

After four U.S. troops were killed in Niger, Trump said almost nothing about the deadliest attack of his “presidency” until he was finally called out for being on yet another golfing trip as their bodies returned home. Instead of simply saying he had written letters and had planned to call their families, Trump, being the soulless bastard that he is, decided he’d use this situation to make himself look morally superior to past presidents by insinuating that the way he responds to the death of U.S. solders is better than his predecessors.

Even as he faced backlash for remarks that clearly weren’t true, instead of simply saying he misspoke and would like to apologize for slandering past presidents, he evoked the death of John Kelly’s son to point out that Barack Obama hadn’t called the family back in 2010 in an inexcusable attempt to validate his lie. If I were Kelly, I would be absolutely irate that Trump had tried to use the death of my son to support his lie instead of simply admitting he was wrong when he made his remarks on Monday.

Really let that sink in for a minute.

Instead of simply admitting he made a mistake, like a normal human being would have done, Trump, lacking any ability to grasp the seriousness of the death of someone’s child, exploited the fact that John Kelly’s son was killed in combat to continue pushing his lie.

Trump’s inability to understand or care about anything other than doing what he thinks is best for him and his own interests is dangerous. As a leader of a nation, his decisions are supposed to be based on what’s best for everyone — not just him.

His inability to grasp the consequences of his actions or feel empathy for how his decisions impact other people is terrifying. The last thing any country should want is to have an egotistical, unqualified leader who lacks the cognitive abilities to understand how their words and actions impact others.

Yet that’s the situation we’re all currently facing.

As I’ve said before, if you want to know what Trump’s going to do, simply ask yourself one question: What does he think is in his best interests?

If that means starting a war with North Korea or Iran, trashing the First Amendment, colluding with Russia, attacking the credibility of U.S. intelligence agencies, or undermining the integrity of our democracy just to avoid admitting Hillary Clinton received 3 million more votes than he did — then that’s what he’s going to do.

Every. Single. Time. 

Feel free to follow me on Twitter and Facebook to let me know what you think.

Allen Clifton

Allen Clifton is a native Texan who now lives in the Austin area. He has a degree in Political Science from Sam Houston State University. Allen is a co-founder of Forward Progressives and creator of the popular Right Off A Cliff column and Facebook page. Be sure to follow Allen on Twitter and Facebook, and subscribe to his channel on YouTube as well.


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