You know in your heart that Donald Trump wouldn’t have been as gracious if the roles were reversed.
While the president grieved in whatever way his hardened heart allows him to over the death of his younger brother Robert yesterday evening, his opponents on the Democratic ticket dropped their partisan attacks on his campaign to offer a temporary respite from the relentless battle that allowed them to express their sincere and humanistically appropriate condolences.
Former Vice President Joe Biden references his own experience of loss and deeply felt suffering from the passing of a close family member in this tweet that he sent addressing Trump in his time of sorrow.
Mr. President, Jill and I are sad to learn of your younger brother Robert’s passing. I know the tremendous pain of losing a loved one — and I know how important family is in moments like these. I hope you know that our prayers are with you all.
— Joe Biden (@JoeBiden) August 16, 2020
In addition to losing his eldest son, Beau, to brain cancer in 2015, Biden lost his first wife, Neilia, and their 13-month-old daughter in a car accident in 1972 after a tractor-trailer broadsided their Chevrolet station wagon just days before Christmas. As a suddenly-minted single father, Biden, through the simultaneous loss of both a partner and a child, experienced some of the greatest pain and stress that a person could face, a sad situation that left him with a deep sense of compassion for anyone who is forced to mourn the unexpected departure of a loved one.
Biden’s vice-presidential running mate, Senator Kamala Harris (D-CA), joined the condolences with a tweet of her own.
Doug and I join the Biden family in sending our deepest condolences and prayers to the entire Trump family during this difficult time. Losing a loved one is never easy but know that we are thinking of you. https://t.co/j9cVKi8b5A
— Kamala Harris (@KamalaHarris) August 16, 2020
Harris wisely doesn’t mention what she is thinking about the president in her message of empathy since revealing that bit of information might undermine the tweet’s otherwise comforting message.
Given that Trump himself has offered little in the way of condolences to the families of the nearly 170,000 people who have died from COVID-19 in this country, the gesture from the Democratic candidates was more of a statement of how people imbued with compassion act towards others than something that the president has earned through his behavior.
After all, this is the man who spent the last day of his brother’s life, not by his bedside, but golfing at his Bedminster, NJ resort.
Yes, it is a polite and morally upstanding act to express sympathy for a grieving sibling mourning the loss of his brother, but it must not stop us from mourning the loss of our American values and of our democracy as we’ve known it and doing everything in our powers to stop the now sorrowful Trump from damaging our nation further.
Unless some sudden spiritual epiphany triggered by the sudden confrontation with mortality from the death of his younger brother allows Trump to emerge from his mourning period with a completely new personality and a new-found empathy for people other than billionaire oligarchs and foreign dictators, he is as dangerous as ever and must be offered no additional allowances for his already fragile mental state.
Original reporting by
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Vinnie Longobardo is a 35-year veteran of the TV, mobile & internet industries, specializing in start-ups and the international media business. His passions are politics, music and art.