In all the media hyperventilation about how presidential Donald Trump looked when he read from the teleprompter before a joint session of Congress, was no one disturbed by the quote that still burns a week later?
Near the end of the hour-long speech, as he was defending his botched raid in Yemen, Trump introduced Carryn Owens, the widow of the Navy SEAL Senior Chief William Ryan Owens who died in the raid. She received prolonged applause while the camera stayed on her sobbing for a very long time in television terms. It was a deeply emotional moment, the most heartfelt of the evening.
When it ended Trump said this:
“Thank you,” as if the applause had been for him, not her. “Ryan is looking down right now. You know that. And he is very happy because I think he just broke a record.”
Happy? Broke a record?
I can’t speak for Ryan—nor can Donald. But I’ll venture to say that no one in the vast Senate chamber was “happy” at that moment except Donald, who was again the center of attention and treating the moment for its applause-meter rating while the widow wiped away tears.
This was the essence of Donald Trump. I was disgusted and went to bed. The next morning I read that Van Jones on CNN had seen it differently:
“He became President of the United States in that moment, period.”
“That was one of the most extraordinary moments you have ever seen in American politics.”
“If he finds a way to do that over and over again, he’s going to be there for eight years.”
Am I the only one who thought Trump’s remark was insensitive, self-adoring, and crass? That he ignored the widow’s pain in his self-aggrandizement? Will we re-elect a president who does that “over and over again”?
I’d like to hear your reaction to this moment. Thanks in advance.