Trump was asked about the death of a legendary journalist. His answer was as self-centered and embarrassing as you'd expect
Legendary journalist Cokie Roberts, known for her groundbreaking work as a political reporter and commentator at NPR and ABC News, died Tuesday at age 75 of breast cancer.
Her death inspired wide-ranging praise and admiration for someone seen as key role model for women in her industry. But when he was asked by the press pool to comment on her death, President Donald Trump decided to make her death about him:
I never met her. She never treated me nicely. But I would like to wish her family well. She was a professional and I respect professionals. I respect you guys a lot, you people a lot. She was a real professional. Never treated me well, but I certainly respect her as a professional.
What's odd about this response is that Trump seems to know what he's supposed to say. He praised her work "as a professional" and he offered warm wishes to her family. But he still can't help focusing first on himself. He says he "never met her" — as if that should matter in commenting on her death. And he mentions twice that she supposedly didn't treat him well, echoing his reference to Meghan Markle as being "nasty" when he heard that she was critical of him.
On the flip side, Trump said when he gave NBA player Jerry West the Presidential Medal of Freedom that it "probably helped" that he was from West Virginia — a state the president won in 2016.
It's a relatively small thing, but it's revealing about why he's so poorly constituted to be president. Trump can't just comment on a woman's death with considering first whether she was on his team or not. In the president's eyes, the most important thing about a person is whether they are with him or against him.