Donald Trump has revealed time and again—from his “both sides” remarks defending white supremacists in Charlottesville to his rescinding DACA protections for hundreds of thousands of immigrants—that he has a disdain for human lives. But a Washington Post story published on Thursday contained a tidbit that succinctly captured the fact that there are no depths to Trump’s inhumanity.
In his first day in office, Trump visited the CIA and was brought around to the agency’s drone operations floor. According to the Post, the following exchange then happened:
Later, when the agency’s head of drone operations explained that the CIA had developed special munitions to limit civilian casualties, the president seemed unimpressed. Watching a previously recorded strike in which the agency held off on firing until the target had wandered away from a house with his family inside, Trump asked, “Why did you wait?” one participant in the meeting recalled.
That’s right—Trump was reportedly confused as to why you would wait until someone was away from their family before you killed them, revealing a fundamental inability to grasp the idea of caring for lives that are not his own. It’s not stunning, given that he called for the families of militants to be killed during his presidential campaign, but it’s still awful.
To be clear, the U.S. government has long killed civilians in drone strikes with little regard (in 2015, the Intercept revealed that 90 percent of people killed in recent strikes in Afghanistan were not the intended target). But that doesn’t take away from the callousness of Trump’s remarks.