There are certain times where you should be proud to say you were right to do something, and certain times to look for congratulations. In the immediate aftermath of the worst mass shooting in United States history is not a time for either of those. Likely Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump tweeted about the Orlando club shooting early on the morning of June 12, a scant four hours after it was revealed there were dozens killed, and chose to say nothing about thinking of the families during their time of tragedy and crisis.
The problem with Trump’s tweet is not the fact that he chose to express a desire to be acknowledged for being right — it’s that he showed that he was a man without any sort of empathy. Trump has the right to hit social media and discuss any manner of news issues — that might be even part of his responsibility as he continues his run for the Oval Office — but Trump’s tweet clearly demonstrates that once again, the news of the day needed to be about him.
— Esquire (@esquire) June 13, 2016
People were grieving hard over the loss of loved ones, and while both Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders chose to express their sympathies and condolences, Trump’s tweet ignored how others might be feeling. Granted, given his untold fortune, he may have learned not to worry too much about everyone else. However, this is not a time for egocentricity — we need leaders to demonstrate genuine empathy for the people they are to lead, not to wallow in their own wonderfulness.
EW reported that celebrities had responded to Trump’s tweet with anger and disgust.
Democratic presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton spoke out against the attack and emphasized her support for those who are a part of the LGBT community.
“The gunman attacked an LGBT nightclub during Pride Month,” Clinton said. “To the LGBT community: please know that you have millions of allies across our country. I am one of them. We will keep fighting for your right to live freely, openly and without fear. Hate has absolutely no place in America.”
Washington Post writer Chris Cillizza said that Trump had a lot to learn about the other part of being president — being the empathetic leader. Trump’s tweet is a clear demonstration of that lack of necessary sensitivity.
— CBC News (@CBCNews) June 13, 2016
“While he’s mastered the role of tough and unapologetic leader, he simply cannot seem to understand that at times a president needs to be an empathetic consoler in chief, too,” Cillizza says.
Time says that Clinton is eyeing a new strategy designed to hang Trump with his own words, a feat which should not prove difficult should Trump’s tweet lead to a trend of more social media grandstanding by Trump.
Time writer Sam Frizell noted that Trump’s tweet only served to further emphasize that the would-be president is as self-involved as he seems.
“It angered Republicans and Democrats as well as some celebrities who criticized with a familiar line: that Trump is self-centered even in moments of tragedy — the shooting killed at least 50 people and is the deadliest mass shooting in American history,” Frizell writes.
To be an effective leader or human being, for that matter, empathy is paramount. If the people you are planning on leading at some point need your support, whether it be emotional or otherwise, you need to be able to do exactly that; Trump’s tweet will doubtless be used as fodder against him, as it already seems to be. What Trump has shown is that, in the wake of tragedy which has the nation reeling from the sheer horror of it, he is not ready to be the well rounded leader that America deserves — the one that is prepared to listen and be there for the people he leads.
[Photo by Jeff Swensen/Getty Images]