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Brooks: Trump Has ‘Incapacity for Empathy,’ ‘Incapacity To Control His Own Attention’

On Friday’s broadcast of “PBS NewsHour,” New York Times columnist David Brooks argued that Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s statements over the last week aren’t errors, they show an “incapacity for empathy” and “an incapacity to control his own attention, and to say things that are just inappropriate for a politician or inappropriate for a human being.”

Brooks stated, “I do think they’re not missteps in a way, because they’re not errors. They’re him. I do think we’ve seen — we have seen this all along from him, two things, one, incapacity for empathy. So, a normal person looks at Mrs. Khan and sees a woman in deep pain, and has an instinctual response of respect and admiration for what she’s endured, and sympathy, and you respond in a certain way. And — but he’s shown an incapacity for that for a long time. And then the second thing is, just an incapacity to control his own attention, and to say things that are just inappropriate for a politician or inappropriate for a human being. And so you get these trains of thought that go on where a word sparks off a thought, that sparks off a thought, that sparks off a thought, and it gives the impression of someone really not in control of their own attention span. And so, these are characterological. And I think that’s what sent the shivers through the Republican Party, and it’s become the subject of the debate this week, not did he make a mistake, but is this, in a sense, who he is?”

Follow Ian Hanchett on Twitter @IanHanchett

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