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Trump's an empty vessel with nothing to say

By Leonard Pitts Jr., Tribune Content Agency on

He is the proverbial empty vessel making the most noise. Asked to empathize or analyze, he throws out a confetti of words, verbal chaff that distracts but says nothing. When cornered, he tries to hide his emptiness behind a veneer of inscrutability meant to sound like confidence.

Last week, for instance, came frightening news of North Korea's latest missile launch. Not to worry, said Trump. "This situation will be handled."

Meaning what, exactly?

Meaning nothing, that's what.

"I'm very highly educated," Trump once bragged. "I know words. I know the best words." Actually, he seems to know maybe a few hundred words, most of them self-congratulatory superlatives, schoolyard insults and primary-colors emotions: biggest, best, loser, bad, sad.

As language, it is dishwater. One can't help but look back with longing on Obama's polish, Reagan's folksiness, even Bush's malapropisms. Politics aside, they understood that a president's words must speak to something noble in us, remind us of what it is we're trying to be.

 

That knowing recedes a little more every time Trump opens his mouth. Every time he speaks, our expectations of the presidency are diminished, perhaps irretrievably.

And that's a sorrow for which there are, ironically enough, no words.

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(Leonard Pitts is a columnist for The Miami Herald, 1 Herald Plaza, Miami, Fla., 33132. Readers may contact him via e-mail at lpitts@miamiherald.com.)

 

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