Haughtiness at the Top
Terry H. Schwadron
Oct. 4, 2017
Can we talk haughtiness? You know, let-them-eat-cake haughtiness, that kind of insistence on appearing to talk about real life by using a gentile manner to smack people sarcastically on the side of the head.
How else do we explain the President’s shortened trip to Puerto Rico, a visit in which he gave himself A-plus grade for providing aid, ignored the real problems that the islands still are trying to work through and even tossing paper towels in basketball-type lobs among storm victims as if the main thing they still need is Brawny paper towels. What. . . are they going to wipe up the hurricane damage from broken roadways, downed power systems and hunger? What. . . Trump proclaiming that “only 16 people died” in Puerto Rico hurricane? What. . . It was aid to Puerto Rico and not that to Texas that is causing a problem for the federal budget? How do we explain why the President left early, without really getting out into storm-devastated parts of the islands?
This President has replaced caring with haughtiness.
How else do we explain Jared and Ivanka using three private email and private systems to handle hundreds of emails, as outlined by Politico? After a campaign that repeatedly vowed to lock-her-up for private email abuses while Hillary was Secretary of State, how is is possible to explain this kind of haughty use of private email because it is convenient for these two.
How else do we explain EPA Director Scott Pruitt meeting solely with corporate leaders, many of whom had issues pending before his agency, and eschewing the advice of scientists and environmental protection groups, all blatantly illustrated by The New York Times in getting hold of his calendars under Freedom of Information act filings.
How else do we explain an Attorney General who now is arguing for a court ruling that will allow a company to fire someone for being gay?
Haughtiness is the appearance or quality of being arrogantly superior and disdain. Exactly the seeming program of the White House. It is the opposite of caring about people, something for which we actually say we elect our leaders.
Conversations among my circle of acquaintances show as much or more reaction to the haughtiness as to the actual policies or positions being advocated by the White House. More and more, it is just an insult to listen to White House officials explain even the simplest of things, never mind the really complicated stuff out there.
In defending a seemingly slow-moving federal response in Puerto Rico, Trump had to smack local mayors, including San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz, and Puerto Rican residents and local officials for not doing enough to help themselves. Strict haughtiness, particularly from a billionaire who has oodles of folks to serve his every need. In firing Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price over his use of private airplane charters, Trump threw around the fact that other Cabinet members are using their own private planes.
This is not the face of empathy or caring or even listening to people other than himself.
Frankly, it is disappointing to an extreme, disgusting perhaps to see video of the President as he offers notes of solace even as you know that he is just going through the motions. In the end, that’s why neo-Nazis and white supremacists are only among the bad players out there, in the Trump view, rather than a stand based on our true national values.
Haughtiness allows the President to house foreign dignitaries at his own hotel, no doubt in violation of the emoluments clause of the U.S. Constitution. Haughtiness makes the President so sure in all things he espouses publicly. He knows more than the generals about how to beat ISIS. It is haughty Trump who just knows in his gut that having Secretary of State Rex W. Tillerson reach out toward North Korea through diplomatic channels as a “waste of time,” asserting that only he, Trump, can solve what previous presidents have failed to achieve.
Haughty Trump backs bills that cut health care for millions and says such an approach is “beautiful,” tax cut proposals that are aimed at the middle-class as opposed to serving the rich with tax cuts, and an anti-environmental scythe through clean and water regulations, all in the name of improving the environment.
Haughty Trump insists that Middle East Peace is easy to achieve and that Iran is cheating on its treaty operations despite international certifications otherwise. Haughty Trump insists that radical Islam terrorists are responsible, not a 64-year-old white retiree with a passel of assault rifles.
Haughtiness requires only gut checks, not facts, credo over science and political personality and slogans rather than a legislative agenda that actually helps.
The emperor has no clothes, for sure, but he also lacks any capacity for empathy.