One issue that many wonder about is [Donald Trump’s] apparent lack of empathy.
The public spotlight has shone for decades upon his business career and his place in the entertainment world, which is why we often miss the empathetic side of him that many doubt exists. Remember that he spent seven years remorselessly firing people on a television program, and this “reality television” show largely imprinted the image that we regard today as the real Donald Trump.
But it was also Donald Trump who took Jennifer Hudson under his wing when her mother, brother, and nephew were gunned down in Chicago, offering her a free apartment at Trump Tower while she grieved. She was never charged for her stay and was able to feel safe.
In 1988, Trump helped 3-year-old Andrew Ten, a boy who needed to fly to New York for special medical attention. The airline refused to let him board the plane because of his bulky medical equipment. Trump was informed of the issue and immediately sent his private jet to take the boy to New York.
In 1986, a woman named Annabell Hill was in danger of losing her family farm. Her husband had committed suicide in the misguided hope that his life insurance policy settlement would make their farm solvent. Trump heard about this woman’s plight and offered enough financial help to make sure she could keep her farm, which had been in the Hill family for three generations.
After being arrested at the Mexican border with weapons in his car in 2013, Marine vet Andrew Tahmooressi spent seven months in a Mexican prison, where he was beaten and chained to a bed. When he was released, Trump sent him a check for $25,000 to help get him back on his feet.
Darnell Barton was driving his bus across a bridge when he spotted a woman preparing to jump. He stopped the bus, approached the woman, and convinced her not to take her own life that day. When Trump heard about the story, he sent Barton $10,000, commenting, “I thought that was so beautiful to see. I think he is a great guy with an amazing heart and I said that man should be rewarded.”
Contrary to popular media belief, Donald Trump actually has a long history of helping others, as evidenced by Ivanka Trump in her RNC speech:
Over the years, on too many occasions to count, I saw my father tear stories out of the newspaper about people whom he had never met, who were facing some injustice or hardship. He’d write a note to his assistant, in a signature black felt tip pen, and request that the person be found and invited to Trump Tower to meet with him. He would talk to them and then draw upon his extensive network to find them a job or get them a break. And they would leave his office, as people so often do after having been with Donald Trump, feeling that life could be great again.
Because of Trump’s innate generosity and empathy, he will likely listen to all Americans, not just his base (he has already begun to do so) and make intelligent decisions—though the bluntness and forcefulness of his speech may lead some to believe otherwise. Time and again, Trump has displayed his innate generosity. His expressions of empathy, particularly those expressed through financial gifts, seem unusually generous when compared to those of most national public office holders. And, lest you think it is because congressional members are not wealthy, remember that the Washington Post educated us on the matter in October of 2012:
Most members weathered the financial crisis better than the average American, who saw median household net worth drop 39 percent from 2007 to 2010. The median estimated wealth of members of the current Congress rose 5 percent during the same period, according to their reported assets and liabilities. The wealthiest one-third of Congress gained 14 percent.
Whether he is helping families in need or recognizing small acts of heroism or kindness, it’s clear that Donald listened and lives in accordance with the idea that “to whom much is given, much will be required.” In the same way, he will likely listen to Americans and make intelligent decisions—though the bluntness and forcefulness of his persona may lead some to believe otherwise.
To some many of Trump’s unique personality traits may make him seem “un-presidential,” but he’s the best person for the job in our rapidly changing world. In fact, there have been many candidates in the past who could have learned a thing or two from Trump’s straightforward, unrehearsed approach.
Editor’s Note: This is an excerpt from the new book “Planes, Steak & Water: Defending Donald J. Trump” by Autry J. Pruitt.