Compare and Contrast

Trump's words on Monday versus, well, almost every other time he speaks...

“President Trump Delivers Remarks” by The White House is in the Public Domain, CC0

On Monday August 5, 2019, President Trump addressed the nation concerning the mass shootings in El Paso and Dayton. The transcript can be found here and the video is embedded below.

In the speech he said some things that were certainly appropriate, such as:

These barbaric slaughters are an assault upon our communities, an attack upon our nation, and a crime against all of humanity.  We are outraged and sickened by this monstrous evil, the cruelty, the hatred, the malice, the bloodshed, and the terror.  Our hearts are shattered for every family whose parents, children, husbands, and wives were ripped from their arms and their lives.  America weeps for the fallen.

But, the real takeaway is the delivery. It is flat. It lakes emotion. It does not seem genuine in any way.

Contrast the above speech with the following:

Both are read, by the way, so that is not the main delineation (although he had lots o practice with “The Snake” and presumably little to none with his speech on Monday).

And look: I get that it is easier to feed off the energy of crowd than it is to infuse energy into the camera. I understand that he isn’t good with a teleprompter. But, it shouldn’t be that hard to have some heartfelt thoughts about mass murder.

Nor, I would note, should it be so easy to get so into whipping up a crowd using clearly anti-immigrant propaganda.

And, indeed, his usage of “The Snake” as anti-immigrant messaging (even if that was not the original intend of the song in question) is just one example, out of many, as to why many see clear links between his ongoing rhetoric and El Paso shooter’s motives and manifesto.

Indeed, it is worth noting that Trump connected the shootings to a need for immigration reform in tweets sent the same day as the speech:

As others have noted, Trump was basically endorsing the shooter’s message about the need for immigration reform. How is that appropriate in this context? (He asked, knowing the answer).

Still, it is not hard to find example after example of Trump deriding immigrants with passion and verve. It is almost impossible to find him genuinely empathizing with the victims of mass shootings.

FILED UNDER: Donald Trump, US Politics
Steven L. Taylor
About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is Professor of Political Science and Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Troy University. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. His most recent book is the co-authored A Different Democracy: American Government in a 31-Country Perspective. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging since 2003 (originally at the now defunct Poliblog). Follow Steven on Twitter


  1. An Interested Party says:

    Speaking of Trump’s words, who is he to ridicule anything coming out of Joe Biden’s mouth? It’s always projection with this dipshit…

  2. de stijl says:

    He lacks the ability to sell sympathy or empathy and can only fake it umsuccessfully.

    He’s obvs NPD. Perhaps sociopathic?

    The narcissism diagnosis is easy. Pro shrinks say always “He isn’t my patient so I cannot / do not feel comfortable with diagnosing him from afar.

    I had like 3 classes decades ago. Def not a pro.

    Trump is the poster child for narcissistic personality disorder. Look up NPD in the last DSM, and he’s the picture next to the article and the test case.

    There is no one more narcissistic than Donald Trump since the beginning of recorded history. Narcissus was a noob sporting a dad build.

  3. Teve says:

    “Look, we all know how much Trump struggles to do the bare minimum of being a president. But it’s still genuinely shocking just how much he struggles to do the bare minimum of being a fucking person.”

    -john oliver