Will the Trump that 'Happened' in Vegas Stay in Vegas?

10/05/2017 02:28 pm ET

When Trump visited Puerto Rico nearly two weeks after Hurricane Maria devastated the island (Remember, Puerto Rico is “an island surrounded by … big water”), he first stopped by one of the least affected and most affluent districts in San Juan’s suburbs where he told one homeowner who had lost a couple of windows, “That’s fantastic…we’re going to help you out. Have a good time.”

This was before heading to Calvary Chapel where Trump creepily entertained the crowd by performing as a carnival barker distributing some packages of “Arroz Rico” and then basketball-tossing rolls of paper towels into the gathered crowd.

We won’t dwell on some of the other cringeworthy comments, insults and gaffes the clown-in-chief made, lobbed and committed during his four-hour visit.

Clay Jones describes them in his inimitable way here.

Suffice to quote The Atlantic:

If the Puerto Rico visit sought to reverse the impression that Trump has not taken Maria seriously and does not feel empathy for its victims, Tuesday’s briefing did not help the cause.

Less than 24 hours later, however, when meeting with survivors of and first responders to the Las Vegas shooting massacre, Trump appeared to have undergone a miraculous metamorphosis -- at least outwardly.

Reading stiltedly and awkwardly from a script prepared by others, Trump finally seemed to become what the nation has been craving for during the past eight months: a consoler-in-chief, a uniter-in-chief.

The nation will soon know whether this was all a temporary transformation, an aberration, because in the days and weeks ahead Trump will be asked to show real compassion, real empathy, real leadership on issues such as the one that brought him to Las Vegas in the first place.

If not, "[h]e is certain to have plenty more opportunities to practice his response to shootings during his time in office,” as The Atlantic gloomily predicts.

Or, will it be, as my friend the poet writes, "From Puerto Rico to 'The Strip,' Just another Trump Ego Trip?"

Hey, look at me: I’m showing empathy!
Despite you Puerto Ricans being ungrateful and lazy slobs: I’ve done a “fantastic” job
Hey, it wasn’t a big deal: your two hurricanes didn’t match Katrina by its death toll
Remember “Heck of a job Brownie”: my guys did better: all is fine: so here, catch some kitchen rolls
My well-oiled administration and I were well ahead of the situation
But why the rush? You didn’t vote to make me President of this nation
Puerto Rico assistance will put the budget “a little out of whack”
Maybe (just kidding) I’ll take money from loyal Texans and Floridians back
I have to think of my fame: if there are problems: others are to blame
Why after a few insults from my county club: you gave me the snub?
My empathy doesn’t come free: none for you if you didn’t vote for me
So don’t bother me: I’m off to “The Strip” to continue my ego trip!
On Las Vegas just let me say: I’ll be there for the victims to pray
And you can be sure: I’ll continue my support for our great N.R.A.
I’ll preach extreme vetting: a great wall: to keep immigrants away
And “good guys” should have guns in every house: to keep terrorists at bay
Obama took some of our sacred Second Amendment rights away
He signed an order to restrict guns from the feeble of mind
Well I cancelled that right away: I wanted to keep mine
The “no-fly” listed can’t fly: but a gun they can buy: why?
Loose and unenforced USA gun laws separate us from the saner rest
While pro-N.R.A. Trump does nothing except beat his chest
Why not silencers? That’ll fool the police: and you could shoot in peace
Semi-automatic guns galore: that even hunters can’t use any more
It’s legal to buy semi-automatic rifles and modify them to fire automatically
To anyone who has any sanity: this an example of total insanity
Yet nothing is done: the “base” must be pleased: as they pay: to support the N.R.A.
Meanwhile, Trump and Republicans say they’ll look at gun control “some day”

Lead image: Credit Prayitno

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