The president who now tells us he would have run unarmed into a school shooting once testified under oath that he lacked the courage to walk onto the future site of Trump Tower while a demolition crew was at work.
“I tend not to walk into buildings under demolition,” President Trump testified in a 1983 lawsuit in Manhattan federal court arising from his use of undocumented Polish workers. “You have to be very brave to be in a building under demolition. I’m not sure I’m that brave.”
Trump added that there had been no necessity to place himself in danger such as he paid others a minimal wage to labor in.
“You can see it from a block away,” he said of the demolition site.
Trump was almost certainly saying that to bolster his improbable insistence that he had no idea he had hired illegals.
Just because he had sworn to tell the truth does not mean that he was.
But he may have convinced himself he actually was telling the truth on Monday when he said he would rush unarmed to face a maniac armed with an AR-15, risking all on just the chance of saving others.
“I really believe I’d run in there even if I didn’t have a weapon,” Trump said.
Such blind narcissism was remarkable even for him, though it was hardly unique.
Consider what Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel said when asked about his agency’s fumbling after it received multiple calls about the shooter-in-making. Also the failure of at least one of his deputies to enter the building during the shooting and the critical moments afterward when victims were bleeding out.
“I have given amazing leadership to this agency,” Israel replied.
Compare that to the immediate and unqualified apology FBI Director Christopher Wray offered when confirming that the FBI had failed to act on a tip about the school shooter.
“We have spoken with victims and families, and deeply regret the additional pain this causes all those affected by this horrific tragedy,” Wray said.
That is true leadership. We have seen something like it from the teenage survivors of the shooting. We have not seen it from President Trump, nor from Sheriff Israel.
Last Friday, the president and the sheriff stood together in the hospital where the wounded survivors of the school shooting are recovering.
One is a Republican and the son of a rich New York real-estate developer and has often spoken out against gun control.
The other is a Democrat and the son of a New York homicide detective turned Palm Beach undercover and has often spoken out in favor of gun control.
Yet the seemingly progressive Israel quite possibly would not have been elected in the first place without the help of a Trump pal, political dirty-trickster Roger Stone.
And thanks to a pair of tickets on top of $245,000 in campaign contributions from a Massachusetts man who had grown rich in the adult-entertainment as well as the construction business, the sheriff-elect had spent New Year’s Eve of 2012 at Mar-a-Lago. Trump was present.
“I said hello to him,” Israel later told the Sun-Sentinel. “I didn’t sit with him.”
Israel took the oath as sheriff eight days later. He hired a number of Stone associates and gave Stone’s stepson an uncommonly fast promotion to detective, but he could not have sounded any less like a Stone creation in his inaugural address.
“Our cultural change begins today by me asking our leaders not to rule by fear or retribution,” Israel declared. “I’ll do everything I can to keep assault weapons out of Broward County. Kids need books and footballs, not handguns and knives.”
There could have been no message more different than the campaign message Trump crafted with Stone’s help to rouse what would become known as his base. Trump ended up outdoing even his own grandiose sense of himself.
“You believe this sh-t?” Trump asked a Queens buddy the morning after he was elected president of the United States.
Trump went from narcissist to narcissist in chief. He proved able to interpret global problems in terms of himself. He who had once developed bone spurs at the prospect of being drafted now wants a huge military parade worthy of a despot. He quite possibly is so deluded he really does believe he would have run unarmed into gunfire.
Until Trump made that declaration Monday, the most outrageously self-regarding statement arising from the mass murder at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High was Israel’s pronouncement of his own greatness on Sunday.
By one secondhand account, Stone had advised Israel to go on CNN after the shooting as a step toward running for governor. Neither Stone nor Israel responded to a request for comment.
Whatever his reason for going on, Israel must have known he would be asked about his agency’s failings. He certainly sounded Trumpian in his response.
Rather than immediately apologize to the victims and their families, Israel focused on himself, The Scott. He refused to accept any responsibility and insisted he had been only magnificent.
The sight of President Donald Trump and Sheriff Scott Israel standing in that hospital was really a tale of two narcissists.
The Donald and The Scott.
Thank God we have those teenage survivors to lead us.