It’s natural to wonder how our next president would respond, on a human level, to a disaster like Orlando. The candidates have been pretty clear on policy, but how would he/she relate to a community, and country, in pain?
We ought to have some clues, since both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump were New Yorkers when the World Trade Center towers came down on Sept. 11.
Clinton was a U.S. senator at the time, so her script was pretty clear. She comforted the afflicted, joined hands with political adversaries for a show of unity, fought to get aid for the city and the survivors.
We obviously wouldn’t have expected all that from Trump, who was a private citizen. But a very rich, important one — he must have done a lot for the city and survivors, right? He once boasted to The Times’ Mark Leibovich that as president, he’d be great at reaching out in a crisis. Empathy, he said, “will be one of the strongest things about Trump.”