President Trump’s comments at a Monday afternoon news conference reveal a morally obtuse character who is blind to the impact of his own words. Whatever scripting provided by his generals, they cannot conceal Trump’s near pathological lack of concern for others.
Asked about his controversial pardon of ex-sheriff Joe Arpaio, Trump acknowledged using the hurricane — that is the impending disaster — to get ratings. “Actually, in the middle of a hurricane, even though it was a Friday evening, I assumed the ratings would be far higher than they were normally.” Trump is so lacking in empathy and simple human decency that he sees nothing wrong with taking political advantage of others’ misery.
Rather than defend his actions on the merits, he played the whataboutism game, challenging President Barack Obama’s and President Bill Clinton’s pardons. Like a child, Trump seems to think that their wrongs justify his own. Without reviewing any of the facts, Trump claims Arpaio was treated “unfairly” and commended his service. For those who know the details of Arpaio’s tenure, this is offensive in the extreme. As Andrew Cohen of the Brennan Center writes:
The truth is that “America’s toughest sheriff,” as Arpaio liked to call himself, was an incompetent buffoon, a sour mash of cruelty and inattention that cost his county hundreds of millions of dollars in fines, fees and legal settlements. The only thing he accomplished in his decades in power was to become, first, a national symbol of brutality toward jail inmates and, later, a poster child for anti-immigrant racism. But pardon decrees cannot say any of that. They cannot say: “Because no one can stop us we are today rescuing a sheriff who violated his oath of office and broke the law and never apologized for doing so.”
Trump’s pardon makes sense…