Having fun yet?

Trump pretended to do the empathy thing in North Carolina yesterday. It went about as well as it usually does.

Trump visited North Carolina on Wednesday, as the death toll from Hurricane Florence climbed to at least 37. During a morning briefing on the damage, Trump asked a state official, “How is Lake Norman doing?”

When the official said it was doing fine, Trump replied, “I love that area. I can’t tell you why, but I love that area.” (It’s probably because there is a Trump National Golf Club in the area.)

That “I can’t tell you why” is not a dreamy expression of ineffable negative capability je ne sais quoi mystery, but a moronically coy allusion to the fact that he’s breaking the law by promoting one of his businesses on our dime.

The president remained weirdly upbeat as he visited with survivors in hard-hit New Bern.

“Is this your boat?” Trump asked an older man as he looked at a yacht that had washed ashore and crashed into the deck of his home. When the owner said no, the president answered, “At least you got a nice boat out of the deal.” Then he mulled the legality of who gets to keep the boat.

Then he told him to play a few rounds at his golf course.

Later, Trump helped distribute box lunches consisting of hot dogs, chips, and fruit, to people who had waited over an hour to collect the meal. “Got it? Have a good time,” Trump said as he handed one man a meal, prompting an MSNBC reporter to exclaim off-camera, “I think he just said, ‘Have a good time!’”

Remember the jollifications when he visited survivors of the Parkland shootings? This is like that.

During his visit to Houston a little over a year ago to meet with victims of Hurricane Harvey, Trump said, “Have a good time, everybody,” as he was leaving an emergency shelter.

Though it drew negative coverage a year ago, Trump seems fond of the remark, which might be one of the awkwardest we’ve ever seen, from the standpoint of talking.

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