At first British citizens Charlotte and Tim Dunn were deeply grateful. It was October, 2019. President Trump was going to help them get justice for their slain boy, Harry. Trump’s office called them during a media interview and invited them to the Oval Office for a personal audience with the president himself. They immediately cancelled the interview, got on a three hour train ride to Washington DC and were duly escorted into the Oval Office. They couldn’t believe it. There, sitting at the Resolute Desk, was the president of the United States himself!
He greeted them warmly and they sat down with him. They exchanged pleasantries then got down to business. It turned out that, right next door in a little room adjacent to the Oval, the president had a surprise for them. In that room sat former American spy Anne Sacoolas, the woman who had killed their son in a tragic accident in England earlier that year. Trump had brought them together, Charlotte and Tim Dunne, Anne Sacoolas and, last but not least, Donald Trump — because he wanted a photo op.
Let me just say those words one more time. Trump wanted a photo op. With himself, the Dunns and the woman responsible for the death of their son. So he could have a picture for his scrapbook. So he could look like a peacemaker. A photo op.
Needless to say the Dunns were staggered. Who could blame them if they didn’t want to cluster together in front of a photographer, smile and say “cheese” with the woman who’d murdered their son? They hid that they were horrified at the suggestion as best they could and respectfully demurred. They had no wish whatsoever to meet this woman. They preferred instead to discuss ways that the president could get the selfsame woman in the next room, who’d fled England under diplomatic immunity after killing their son, extradited back to England where she could stand trial.
They hoped that this whole unpleasantness could be glossed over and the business at hand could be carried on. Unfortunately, that was the business at hand. Their refusal to meet with Sacoolas had a chilling effect. Trump became icy with the grieving parents. He wanted them gone. Shortly thereafter they were bum-rushed out of the Oval, never to return. Trump was finished with them. Charlotte Dunn put it this way: “He treated us absolutely despicably. They all did. None of them were pleasant at all, from the moment we said no, extremely intimidating.”
The Dunn’s learned a valuable lesson that day. And it wasn’t, “Be careful what you ask for,” either. It was that Donald Trump is a black-hearted bastard. It was that he didn’t have normal human feelings, that he was completely tone deaf to simple and obvious human emotions. They learned that somehow, some way, the American people had managed to elect an empathy-free jerk, a clown, a loser, a wanker.
Fast forward three years to October, 2022. Anne Sacoolas recently stood before a judge on video and pleaded guilty to causing the death of Harry Dunn by careless driving, following a three-year campaign for justice by the teenager’s parents. She entered the plea via video-link from Washington.
It is unclear whether or not Ms. Sacoolas will agree to travel to England to be sentenced. But at least the Dunns have finally heard the words they needed to hear, that someone, finally, was responsible for the loss of their Harry, and was willing to admit it. With no thanks to Donald Trump, of course.
There are 8 million stories about what a heartless bastard Donald Trump is, in the naked city of MAGAland. This has been one of them. And, as ever, ladies and gentlemen, brothers and sisters, comrades and friends, stay safe.
Robert Harrington is an American expat living in Britain. He is a portrait painter.