From the Left



Trump's an empty vessel with nothing to say

By Leonard Pitts Jr., Tribune Content Agency on

"The crew of the space shuttle Challenger honored us by the manner in which they lived their lives. We will never forget them, nor the last time we saw them, this morning, as they prepared for their journey and waved goodbye and 'slipped the surly bonds of earth to touch the face of God.' " -- Ronald Reagan, Jan. 28, 1986

"America was targeted for attack because we're the brightest beacon for freedom and opportunity in the world. And no one will keep that light from shining. Today, our nation saw evil, the very worst of human nature, and we responded with the best of America." -- George W. Bush, Sept. 11, 2001

"Here in Newtown, I come to offer the love and prayers of a nation. I am very mindful that mere words cannot match the depths of your sorrow, nor can they heal your wounded hearts. I can only hope it helps for you to know that you're not alone in your grief, that our world, too, has been torn apart, that all across this land of ours, we have wept with you. We've pulled our children tight." -- Barack Obama, Dec. 16, 2012

"So I appreciate your support and I know you appreciate our support, because our country has really gone all out to help. And it's not only dangerous, it's expensive, it's everything. But I consider it a great honor, maybe because I know so many people from Puerto Rico that are such great people." -- Donald Trump, Oct 3, 2017

Some words about words.

Once upon a time, presidents used them as a tool to lift us up when we had been battered down. When tragedy struck or terrorists hit, when massacre came or the storm swamped our lives, they gave us words that inspired, that pointed the way up the rugged incline toward hope.

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Nor was it just in sorrow that they did this. In celebration and commemoration, too, we learned to wait to hear what the president had to say.

But that was then.

Of all the ways Donald Trump has damaged this country, arguably the most subtle yet insidious is that he's taught us not to expect the chief executive to say anything of value. It is not just that he is ineloquent, though he is. But then, George W. Bush was hardly known for rhetorical finesse.

No, Trump's problem is that he has nothing to say. And the more he says, the more obvious that becomes.


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