“This is what grudging benevolence rooted in a sense of personal superiority and belief in the power of performance looks like.”

The Washington Post: In Puerto Rico, Trump’s paper-towel toss reveals where his empathy lies.

“Nicholas Vargas, an assistant professor of sociology at the University of Florida, noted that Trump doesn’t approach everyone in such a state of callous disconnect. In August, Trump said there were “very fine people” among the white supremacists at a rally in Charlottesville that left a counterprotester dead. Soon after, he pardoned former Arizona sheriff Joe Arpaio, formally expressing concern for a man known for racially profiling Latinos and housing jail inmates outdoors in tents.

In these cases, Trump showed compassion.

“But when it comes to Puerto Rico and the humanitarian crisis there, what we see is a hands-off, bitter, hardly restrained resentment that anything is expected of him at all,” said Vargas, who studies issues related to race and ethnicity. “This is a man who has the capacity to empathize. It — even in a catastrophe — is just a selective thing.”

These images show a president without mercy for certain human beings, “people unlike him,” Vargas said. “That is women, people of color — even in the most dire of circumstances.””

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