They're using charts and graphs to help him understand what a big hurricane is. Perhaps finger puppets would help too.
The people who advise the president of the United States have learned the hard way that he is a "visual learner." Meaning, he doesn't like to read a whole bunch of words. One-pagers, preferably with bullet points and many mentions of his name, are best. Also, pictures.
So to help Trump grasp the severity of Hurricane Florence, the Washington Post reports that "officials have brought large, colored charts and graphs into the Oval Office to illustrate Florence’s dangerous path for Trump, who is a visual learner."
Perhaps this first-grade level of educating the commander in chief is necessary after his complete failure to understand the severity of last year's Hurricane Maria, which absolutely devastated the island of Puerto Rico. Trump bragged repeatedly about how masterfully he was handling that disaster — he wasn't — and then, on Thursday, he simply denied the disaster altogether, falsely claiming that thousands of Americans had not died on the island.
"3000 people did not die in the two hurricanes that hit Puerto Rico," he said. The official estimated death toll is 2,975.
That official estimate was "done by the Democrats in order to make me look as bad as possible," Trump insisted. The thousands of victims died "for any reason, like old age," he said. Now, of course, his equally dishonest enablers in right-wing media, like Fox Business host Lou Dobbs, are supporting him and agreeing that the tragic death toll is indeed a liberal hoax and "fake news."
Trump's team is likely trying to avoid the criticism and embarrassment of his reaction to last year's hurricanes, when he tweeted about the size and danger of the storm with lots of exclamation points, like an excited child at an amusement park — while hawking Trump campaign merchandise.
The education of Trump hasn't worked so far. Earlier this week, he declared of the coming hurricane, "It's tremendously big and tremendously wet, tremendous amounts of water."
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) said Trump has been calling him to get a lesson in how hurricanes work. He has at least managed to grasp that Florence will be "a really nasty one."
Hurricane Florence made landfall Friday morning, and thus far, Trump's "executive time" on Twitter has been exclusively devoted to retweeting FEMA, the National Guard, Homeland Security and other government agencies providing important information about the hurricane. He has refrained from demanding praise, or from attacking his usual list of enemies, or from denying the severity of the storm.
Given Trump's limited attention span, though, and his desperate need to be the center attention, it seems unlikely he'll stick to the traditional role of telling Americans to stay safe much longer. Unless his aides can find just the graphic to convince him to do it.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.