Is Donald Trump Capable of Feeling Empathy?

By Andrew Witzel

Empathy is defined as the capacity to understand or feel what another person is experiencing from within the other person’s frame of reference.

Most of us have the ability to empathize with others. Whether within the context of shared experiences such as military conflict or a mutual experience as in the case of a natural disaster. Our ability to show empathy towards one another is rooted in our need to want to socialize and be considered as a member of the group. There are entire careers built on one’s ability to show empathy such as aid workers, medical doctors, veterinarians and anything that involves having to share in another’s sadness or tragedy. Some would even argue that the President of the United States is a job that requires a natural ability to show empathy since they’re presiding over an entire country.

It would be a safe assumption to say that Donald Trump, our current president, is quite literally the opposite of what we would consider an empathetic person. His entire career has been built on his ability to extract the most usefulness out of his employees so as to increase his wealth and power as quickly as possible. This model has worked for him for well over 45 years and despite multiple bankruptcies, is still rumored to be worth several hundred million. He has built an empire of hotels, golf resorts and vacation resorts around the world establishing his name, his brand, as one that makes things happen.

There in lies part of the problem for him. Now that he is president, the model he’s leaned and relied upon for 45 years is no longer applicable. Trump has about the same amount of empathy as a rock sitting on the ground in the middle of Death Valley. How can a man who has been so self-centered, immature and disrespectful towards so many others actually be expected to show an ounce of empathy in anything he does as president?

Much like a trapped bear in the woods, the desperation is starting to show in his actions and words. Trump continues to have campaign style rallies around the country but complains about the crowd size and fires his event organizer. He speaks to the country for over an hour and not once mentions the United States instead favoring his own self-proclaimed accomplishments. He heads into Texas, the site of one of the worst natural disasters in recent history and wears a hat that is conveniently available for $40 on the president’s campaign website.

Donald Trump is incapable of showing empathy because he doesn’t care about anyone but himself. Anyone that thinks, even during a massive natural disaster as Hurricane Harvey, that he can show even a second of empathy is unfortunately fooling themselves. His concern is with crowd sizes, discrediting those negative of his performance as “fake” and making sure that despite the future of his presidency, the Trump legacy is solid gold.

Americans are starting to take notice and the demand to remove him from office will only get stronger as time goes on.

I'm a middle aged tech geek with a passion for computers, technology, politics and all the bits in the middle between 0 and 1. I am what could be considered a moderate progressive and like to consider all sides of a debate before taking a position.


  1. Well said, Andrew. Even when he was making a speech about the aid Texas was going to receive, it was without the heartfelt sincerity we would have heard from President Obama. He says the words that were written for him (for the most part) but it falls flat.
    He’s much better at berating people or insulting others because that’s how he’s lived his life.
    We deserve better…and soon!

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