Trump Fiddles While Texas Floods

Trump Fiddles While Texas Floods August 27, 2017

A painting of Roman Emperor Nero, who, according to legend, fiddled while Rome burned.
A painting of Roman Emperor Nero, who, according to legend, fiddled while Rome burned.

While calamity befalls America, Trump, like Roman Emperor Nero, can’t stop focusing on himself.

First, if you want to help those suffering from the hurricane and flooding in Texas, I’d recommend donating to All Hands, a charity with top ratings and personnel on the ground in the state.

Second, if you want some words of guidance and comfort as calamity strikes Houston and surrounding cities, you probably shouldn’t look at Trump’s Twitter feed.

While Texas is pounded by tempests, Trump seems unable to fix attention on the disaster at hand. Instead, he’s obsessed with his usual fixation: himself. Yes, he did peck out some tweets about the hurricane, and he highlighted Cabinet meetings in which he discussed the emergency response, but his notoriously short attention span was inevitably distracted by his notoriously inflated ego. He tweeted out the following:

The streets of Houston are deluged in storm water, helpless people are scrambling to their roofs, and others are mourning their loved ones killed by the inexorable march of Nature, and what does Trump do? Tweet about his own election win, his party’s prospects for retaking the Senate, the stupid vanity project/boondoggle that is the border wall, and the empty threat of withdrawing from NAFTA. No words of consolation for those grieving, no exhortation to remain calm and avoid looting, and none of the somberness appropriate for the situation.

Speaking of somberness, to read Trump’s running Twitter commentary on Hurricane Harvey, one would think that he was watching a football game or cool special effects sequence in a movie. Observe:

“Rah, rah, rah, GO TEAM! We are the Titans! Did you see that pitch? It clocked in at 95 mph!” This the kind of talk we get from our commander-in-chief in our hour of need.

New York Times columnist Nick Kristof recently wrote an op-ed comparing Trump to another notoriously unstable figure – the Roman Emperor Caligula. But I think Kristof was off a generation or two in his historical analogy. Trump is obviously like Emperor Nero – he’s fiddling while Texas burns floods.

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