Check out the picture. It shows you Donald Trump’s hands clutching some notes he held while he listened to the pleas of those who survived the Parkland, Fla., high school massacre.
I was truly ready to give the president unvarnished props for his listening to those who survived the shooting along with the loved ones of those who perished in the carnage.
Then this picture showed up.
I am struck by the last notation: “I hear you.” Yep. It seems the president needed crib notes to remind him to offer a word of compassion to the grieving survivors and family members.
I almost don’t know how to respond to this.
OK, I won’t beat up the president too savagely over this. I have a reason. He is far from the only politician to rely on notes.
Do you remember how President Reagan would carry 3-by-5 note cards into Cabinet meetings? How he would glance at them to remind him of the talking points he wanted to address?
Get this, too: A man who represented me in Congress used the same technique when he came to visit our editorial board at the Beaumont Enterprise in Southeast Texas.
The late Rep. Jack Brooks was a ferocious Democrat who pretty much detested almost any Republican he encountered. Brooks was not the least bit bashful about denigrating Ronald Reagan’s intelligence. He actually would chide the president over the way he depended on those note cards.
Brooks, though, did precisely the same thing when he sat down with us to talk about the issues of the day. Actually, Brooks often would launch lengthy soliloquies using the notes he held in front of him.
That all said, I get that Donald Trump is employing a tactic that others have done.
I’ll just add a final thought. The only reason I mention this at all is because the president has insisted many times since running for office that he is “like, a really smart person” who knows “the best words” and who attended “the best schools.”
Does an intelligent, well-spoken, well-educated man really need note cards to remind himself to say “I hear you”?
I guess this one does.