Donald Trump Offers Comforting Words, But Where’s the Check?
by Aya Katz
When Donald Trump visited flood-ravaged Louisiana for a photo-op, many Americans were impressed by the gesture. Noting that President Obama was spending the day playing golf, and still critical of the policies of the Bush Administration during Hurricane Katrina, many television viewers felt that Trump was expressing the right sentiments. In a speech on August 18 in North Carolina, reading from a teleprompter, Trump was not being mealy-mouthed and insulting to various and sundry segments of the American public. Instead, the new Trump campaign, reorganized after the departure of Paul Manafort, offered a message of unity.
I’d like to take a moment to talk about the heartbreak and devastation in Louisiana, a state that is very special to me.
We are one nation. When one state hurts, we all hurt – and we must all work together to lift each other up. Working, building, restoring together.
Following up on his promise to work together to help our neighbors to make a better America, Trump took a photo-op to unload Play-Doh off a truck in Baton Rouge during his visit on August 19, and everyone agreed this was a kinder, gentler version of the tycoon. Everyone, that is, except for Neva Butkus, a Chicago native who lives in Baton Rouge and is helping to coordinate flood relief efforts. “Trump. Seriously. Where is the check. Like where is the f**ing check,” Ms. Butkus wrote on her Facebook page.
Butkus is a Senior Institutional Giving Manager at City Year. While she is a professional charity worker in the business of soliciting funds from donors, the charity she works for is one involved in education, not flood relief. A resident of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, Ms. Butkus volunteered to help with flood relief. She noted that many of her friends and co-workers had lost everything. “My friends and co-workers that haven’t lost everything are taking off work … to clean out people’s homes and rip out sheet rock and carpet. Give us money or GTFO. I don’t want to see you in your suit in AUGUST carrying boxes off a truck like you care about us.”
From the libertarian perspective, charity is a private matter. It is not the business of the government to help those in need. We would not expect a POTUS or a candidate for POTUS to solve the problems in Baton Rouge. However, as a wealthy man and a private citizen, Donald Trump could well put his money where his mouth is and make a private donation. If he has not done so, then an attempt to appear compassionate by taking a photo opportunity is exactly the sort of exploitation of human suffering that nobody wants to see. Let those who are helping help. Let everybody else get out of the way.