The Atlantic

No One Knows Trump’s Next Move

Part of a president’s job is to be a unifying figure in times of national crisis. This president could be past the point where he can take on that role.
Source: Mandel Ngan / Stephen Jaffe / AFP / Getty / Gerald Herbert / AP / The Atlantic

Updated on August 4, 2019 at 4:26 p.m. ET

It was a part of the presidency that would come to surprise Bill Clinton, if only because of its heartrending frequency. Soon after the gun massacre at Columbine High School in the spring of 1999, Clinton flew to Littleton, Colorado, to talk with students, teachers, and parents mourning the deaths of the 13 victims. So much of his job, he told the audience, centered on a task that had nothing to do with his constitutional duties: comforting survivors of mass shootings. “More than we ever could have imagined,” he said, his role was “to be with grieving people.”

That’s not something that comes naturally to President Donald Trump. Consoling a nation calls for empathy and eloquence; Trump hasn’t

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