August 30, 2017

Lawrence O'Donnell noticed last night that it wasn't just Melania's shoes that were "inappropriate" for a visit to a hurricane ravaged area. Trump's shoes were wrong because they never got wet:

LAWRENCE O'DONNELL: So the president went to Texas today. As Politico reports, he did not meet a single storm victim, get close to a flooded street. This is explained by what he said in a tweet in 2012 after Hurricane Sandy. "Obama will be seen today standing in water and rain like he is a real president. Don't fall for it. ..."

Josh Earnest talked about a time President Obama visited Baton Rouge after a storm damaged the city:

JOSH EARNEST: ...that trip was not about Barack Obama. That trip was about the President of the United States. Offering support and ongoing resilience to that community. To make sure that they understood that the rest of the court stood with them in their darkest hour. And I hope that in spite of President Trump's refusal or at least mistake in omitting reference to those who have lost so much in this tragedy, that the people of Houston understand that the rest of this country, as symbolized by the president's visit, are standing with them in this dark hour and will be standing with them long after the television cameras leave and we're ready. We've got your back. We'll be there with you as you recover from this terrible tragedy.

James Fallows noted that there are "three layers of tasks that a president faces with this kind of a disaster."

JAMES FALLOWS: The first is the very long-term effort of rebuilding a city or industry. That's going to take a long time, years, maybe even decades. That's the hardest of all to do. We'll see the second, which most presidents would have done today or in the last two or three days, is to speak for the nation. As job earnest was saying, there's a responsibility that the president has to express the wishes of the entire country in solidarity and sympathy and support and long-term hope. We saw George W. Bush was interviewed informally today, and he, in 30 seconds, rattled off from the top of his head that kind of supportive message that Ronald Reagan gave after the Challenger explosion and Barack Obama gave after many disasters and George W. Bush gave after 9/11. The third thing that presidents usually do and human beings do is have empathy and warmth with people who have lost everything. Politicians do things as stage people but most of us have that vibe of fueling, as Bill Clinton put it, "feeling your pain", of just wanting to hold people and see them and bear witness and say that I am the representative of the country but I also am a person. And I'm here to say you've been through something terrible and I'm here to offer support and sympathy and people are better or worse at that. Richard Nixon wasn't so great. The fact that Donald Trump didn't even try one of these things to speak for the country or to deal with the people, there's something unusual about him as a person that I think we saw today.

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