It’s nothing new that politicians use notes and cue cards when giving speeches. But a recent AP photo shows that Donald Trump uses notes that remind him to be sympathetic. AP photographer Carolyn Kaster managed to capture the notes president Trump used when meeting people impacted by the mass school shootings across the US. The photo made the public worried and caused a lot of reaction.
On Wednesday 21 February, Donald Trump met with those impacted by the mass school shootings, some of them being the survivors. They had a “listening session” and proposed some solutions for increasing safety in schools (some of them being pretty shocking).
Carolyn Kaster managed to snap two photos that show the president’s notes for the session. They show something that most likely wasn’t meant for the public eyes. We can see five bullet points reminding the president what to ask and what to say, although the third one isn’t fully visible:
1.What would you most want me to know about your experience?
2. What can we do to help you feel safe?
3. Do you see something […] something effective?
4. Resources? Ideas?
5. I hear you.
President Donald Trump holds notes during a White House listening session with students and parents affected by school shootings. (AP Photo by Carolyn Kaster) pic.twitter.com/Z0lZbSVaoF
— AP Politics (@AP_Politics) February 21, 2018
This AP photo shows more of what’s on Trump’s notes. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster) pic.twitter.com/mxqqteRdhs
— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) February 22, 2018
As for the first four, perhaps we can give him a pass. They are reminders about what to discuss and they help not to miss anything important. But “I hear you?” A reminder to tell people that you are hearing their concerns, a reminder to be sympathetic?
Of course, the Internet started making a joke out of the photos, photoshopping the cue cards with all kinds of drawings. One would expect something like that, I suppose. But, the majority of people who’ve seen them feel bitter and worried, and I think it’s completely understandable. If a man of such power and responsibility needs a reminder to express sympathy, we have a reason to be concerned.