Trump almost immediately replied

You know, if Trump actually intended his phone call to Myeshia Johnson to be consoling, as opposed to intending it as the performance of an irksome duty, then he would not now be brawling with her. He just wouldn’t. The intention to console or attempt to console or send a heartfelt message of intending to console would make subsequent brawling simply out of the question. Her grief would blot out his ego concerns, and that would be that.

So from his behavior now we can conclude that he never meant any genuine sympathy or kindness by the call, and that he was simply ticking off another presidential task that he doesn’t relish.

Chris Cillizza makes a similar point.

As difficult as it is emotionally, it is just as simple politically speaking. You call — or write — expressing deepest sympathies and condolences. You offer any assistance you can. The end.
On Monday, in an interview with “Good Morning America,” Johnson, the widow of slain Sgt. La David Johnson, spoke for the first time in public about her phone call with Trump. She confirmed Wilson’s account that Trump had told her that her husband “knew what he was getting into” and added: “It made me cry because I was very angry at the tone of his voice and how he said it. He couldn’t remember my husband’s name.”

To which Trump almost immediately replied via Twitter: “I had a very respectful conversation with the widow of Sgt. La David Johnson, and spoke his name from beginning, without hesitation!”

It’s staggering to consider what Trump is doing here.

After spending the weekend attacking Wilson for allegedly lying about the nature of the call between himself and Johnson — even though White House chief of staff John Kelly confirmed last week the basics of Wilson’s account of the words Trump used — the President is now suggesting that the widow of a soldier killed in action is lying.

And why? Because his attention is all on himself, and not at all on Johnson.

Here’s the thing: It is absolutely possible that, at root, this is all one big misunderstanding. Trump, awkward and unfamiliar with the empathy required to make this sort of call, came across as callous and uncaring to Johnson and Wilson in an entirely unintentional way. They were offended.

At that point, Trump could have made much — maybe all — of this go away by simply calling Myeshia Johnson back and saying something along these lines: “I’m so sorry our previous call made you upset. I struggle with every death of an American soldier and I simply am not great all the time at conveying how much your loss means to me and the country.”

Could have, but never would have in a million years. It’s not in him.

Maybe we should all be sending him letters of condolence. “We’re so sorry – it must be a nightmare having no empathy for any other human beings at all. It must be so stifling and empty to be stuck with only your own ego for your whole life. We can’t imagine anything worse, ourselves.”

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