Can anyone imagine President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, if asked about polio from a reporter stating, “It is what it is”?
Yet when Donald Trump was asked in a recent interview with Axios about the staggering loss of life in the nation from COVID-19 his response was stunning for its lack of empathy. He said, “It is what it is.”
I first read a newspaper account of this portion of the interview before watching the video, so I felt prepared for the most implausible answer to a question that even an amateur politician could have chucked over the back wall. But Trump took an off-ramp from sanity and political competency and made a statement that might be the one which best sums up his entire four years in the Oval Office.
“It is what it is.”
Many, many times over the past years we have had ample evidence as to the barren nature of Trump’s soul, and his lack of an internal compass. Frankly, I was rather certain there was no more ‘shock’ that he could create, given what he had already said and done. But when Trump was not able to comprehend the tragic scale of the loss of life during this pandemic that has crossed over each state, and deeply into the communities of our nation, and could not fashion any other response than, “It is what it is”, it left even this blogger slack-jawed.
When the interviewer, Jonathan Swan, attempted as a followup, to bring clarity in simple words that Trump might understand there was still no way to elicit any degree of empathy. Trump simply did not care to learn that the cases of COVID in our nation, per share of the population, are much worse than any other developed nation.
“It is what it is.”
I fully grasp that Trump is not mentally or emotionally able to gauge the enormity of the moment, the deadly seriousness of the virus, or the way that historians will ensure that there is no stone left unturned regarding this tragedy from his White House and Administration. The record will show that due to an uncaring, unprincipled, and incompetent president more than 157,000 deaths (as of this posting) of Americans took place on his watch. Without doubt, there will be a book from a historian titled “It is what it is.”
Those words are now the ones history will use to severely judge Trump.