- REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
- A survivor of last week’s shooting at a Florida high school delivered a harsh critique of her phone call with President Donald Trump, who reached out to her while she was recovering from her wounds in the hospital.
- Samantha Fuentes told The New York Times that Trump “didn’t make me feel better in the slightest.”
- Since taking office, Trump has struggled to show empathy toward people affected by tragedies like shootings and natural disasters.
A student who survived the mass shooting last week at a high school in Parkland, Florida, had some terse words for President Donald Trump, who she said called her on the phone while she was recovering in the hospital.
Samantha Fuentes told The New York Times she did not feel comforted by Trump, who she said seemed insincere during their phone conversation.
“He said he heard that I was a big fan of his, and then he said, ‘I’m a big fan of yours, too.’ I’m pretty sure he made that up,” Fuentes told The Times in a story published Thursday night.
“Talking to the president, I’ve never been so unimpressed by a person in my life,” Fuentes said. “He didn’t make me feel better in the slightest.”
Fuentes told The Times that Trump called the gunman a “sick puppy” and said “‘oh boy, oh boy, oh boy,’ like seven times.”
Trump has struggled to show empathy after tragedies that have happened since he took office.
That became evident in September when he told people affected by Hurricane Harvey to “have a good time,” in October when he threw paper towels into a crowd of survivors of the massive storm that ravaged Puerto Rico, and later that month when the widow of one of four US Army Special Forces troops killed in an ambush in Niger said the president told her, “He knew what he signed up for.”
The conversation around what some have described as Trump’s empathy deficit resurfaced on Wednesday when news photographers captured images of personal notes Trump held during a White House listening session with students and family members affected by school shootings, including last week’s. Critics have said the notecard suggests the president needed a reminder to show compassion.
But others at the gathering in the West Wing left with a different impression, including a father who got emotional while talking about his 18-year-old daughter who died in the Parkland shooting. Andrew Pollack told The Times of Trump, “He showed us nothing but love.”
Pollack added: “He’s a regular guy. I wouldn’t have been there if I didn’t think he cared.”