Lacking a Compassion Gene?
Terry H. Schwadron
Nov. 2, 2017
It’s simple: Donald Trump has no compassion, no ability to show compassion.
He has selective memory and values. He only shows the trappings of compassion when it suits him.
And, once again, when the terrorism suspect turns out to be Muslim, a radicalized immigrant from Uzbekistan, not only did he attack the individual involved as an “animal,” but he attacked Sen. Chuck Schumer from New York, where the latest terrorism act took place.
He didn’t come to New York, he didn’t ask Americans of all stripe even to offer New Yorkers a moment of silence, he didn’t call Schumer to say that the federal government is there to help. Trump didn’t bring us together, he attacked, apparently to further divide those who believe that broad, unfocused swipes at visa programs and “illegal immigration” from countries that have Muslims among their population is a workable plan that reflects American values.
Through his tweets, his actions and his surrogates, Trump made clear that Americans shooting Americans in Las Vegas and lots of other places is tragic, but one lone Muslim with a deadly rental truck is cause to first attack Democrats who were part of a vote to create the visa program 25 years ago in another year’s pointless debate over immigration change, and then, maybe or maybe not, to recognize that people might want a moment from their president.
Decrying “political correctness,” a need for “toughness” and “extreme vetting, and basically calling the justice system handling terrorism cases a joke, Trump used the day following the New York attacks by an Uzbek national to call for immediate termination of the diversity visa program, which uses a lottery to assign priorities for requested immigration from countries from low-level immigration to the U.S. He proposed skipping the court system to simply send the suspect to Gitmo, and ordered Homeland Security to step up the extreme in extreme vetting.
The suspect, Sayfullo Saipov, used that lottery system to enter the U.S. in 2010, according to Homeland Security.
The White House did not expound on what additional measures the president requested.
His calls reflected some of the hallmark promises he made during the 2016 presidential campaign. Then-candidate Trump called for a complete ban on Muslims entering the U.S. before throwing his support behind “extreme vetting” measures. Trump has implemented two versions of a travel ban, both of which have been tied up in federal courts. Neither version included Uzbekistan on its list of banned countries.
“They’ll go through court for years,” Trump said. “And at the end, they’ll be — who knows what happens. We need quick justice and we need strong justice — much quicker and much stronger than we have right now.” The White House said later it views Saipov as an “enemy combatant,” which could make him eligible to be prosecuted in the military justice system, a non-issue since federal prosecutors issued terrorism charges against Saipov, guaranteeing a trial in a civilian court.
Personally, I’m all in favor of a reasoned discussion about immigration policy built, once again, on facts and thoughtfulness rather than on slogans.
No instead of doing the right thing, Trump attacked Schumer as if he were responsible for the terror incident. It required a calming remark by Sarah Huckabee Sanders to said, “Let me be really clear: The president did not blame Sen. Schumer and doesn’t feel that the senator is responsible for the attack,” she told reporters.
Other Democrats accused Trump of hypocrisy for talking up the immigration measures, citing his claim that the aftermath of the Las Vegas shooting was too early to consider new gun laws.
At the U.S. Capitol, Schumer said Trump’s handling of Tuesday’s attack contrasted sharply with how former president George W. Bush responded to the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attack at the World Trade Center in Lower Manhattan. “President Bush united us,” Schumer said. “He had us in the White House the next day saying how we would work together. All President Trump does is take advantage — horrible advantage — of a tragedy and try to politicize and divide. It doesn’t work with New Yorkers, it doesn’t work with Americans.” New York’s Democratic Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo also took umbrage at Trump’s reaction. “You play into the hands of the terrorists to the extent you disrupt and divide and frighten people in this society,” said Cuomo.
Trump announced that he had called Cuomo and New York Mayor Bill De Blasio to offer the full support of the federal government.
But who could hear it among the bellicose language. It’s why we have trouble with foreign policy, with congressional bipartisanship, with issues of opioids, health care, race, education, environment, the full array of government services. Rather than hearing people, he hears slogans, and comes up with the coarsest course.
We just need to remember: Trump has no compassion. The rest follows.