Donald Trump’s ‘I hear you’ cheat card draws flak

By @chelean on
U.S. President Donald Trump  holds his prepared questions as he hosts a listening session with high school students and teachers to discuss school safety at the White House in Washington, U.S., February 21, 2018.
U.S. President Donald Trump holds his prepared questions as he hosts a listening session with high school students and teachers to discuss school safety at the White House in Washington, U.S., February 21, 2018. Reuters/Jonathan Ernst

Donald Trump met with the students, parents and teachers affected by school shootings around the country at the White House on Wednesday, but he seemed to have needed reminding on how to appear compassionate with them. The US president is being ridiculed on social media for his alleged inability to act humanely without a cue card.

A week after 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz opened fire on students and teachers of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, Trump met with the survivors to hear their stories. While the survivors pled for greater protection of schoolchildren from gun violence, Trump at times peddled the idea that teachers should be armed. But for the most part, Trump listened and appeared to sympathise with them.

“I just grieve for you,” he told them. “To me, there could be nothing worse than what you’ve gone through.”

He added, “Thank you for pouring out your hearts because the world is watching and we’re going to come up with a solution.” One of the solutions, he said, would be to put emphasis on stronger background checks and mental health.

While listening to the survivors, Trump was holding a card that appeared to give him five note points on what to ask and how to act during the session. The visible items were: “1. What would you most want me to know about your experience?” “2. What can we do to help you feel sale?” and “5. I hear you.”

It is common and even expected at times for politicians to have cue cards ready when public speaking. Trump did not use a teleprompter while speaking with the survivors, which perhaps explains the presence of these cards.

However, Trump is drawing criticism for the fifth point on his notes. “I hear you,” according to social media users, is proof that the president was incapable of projecting compassion without a reminder. As apparent from his words and actions responding to this very same tragedy, Trump is said to showcase his narcissistic tendencies even in the face of tragedy.

Reactions on social media were unforgiving. Twitter users claimed that the president was insincere and that he needed to be reminded how to act in such situation that called for compassion.

Last week, Cruz killed 17 people at his former school using a .223 calibre AR-15 firearm. The school shooting was one of the deadliest school massacres in US history.