Cynic (noun) - a person who believes that people are motivated purely by self-interest rather than acting for honorable or unselfish reasons.

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before. A natural disaster strikes, homes are destroyed, Americans are dead, people need real help, and whoever the sitting president is comes to town to “tour the damage.”

Such was the case with Joe Biden on Tuesday. But how much damage did he really see? With Gov. Phil Murphy at his side the whole time, a guy who desperately wants higher office, no doubt trying to ‘connect’ politically with the president, how much did he truly see?

He landed by helicopter at 11:36 a.m. at a small airport in Hillsborough. He took off again at 3:05 p.m.. Minus the few minutes it took to get him off the chopper and then for them to take back off later, figure he spent all of only 200 minutes on the ground. As far as I can see he only toured Somerset County.

Most of New Jersey’s Ida dead died in Hunterdon County. Mullica Hill where entire homes were destroyed in an F-3 tornado is in Gloucester County. Newark Airport which was flooded with water coming up it’s escalators is in Essex County.

The list goes on.

Did he really see the damage in such a brief visit? And let’s be honest, what does “surveying the damage” really accomplish? Point people on the ground collect data and issue reports and I’m sure someone else then gives a summary of the report which then goes to some White House aide who then bullet points the summary and spoon feeds those bullet points to the president. It’s how Washington works. Or doesn’t work.

And what these presidential visits to stricken places really accomplish is good public relations especially when your poll numbers are dropping faster than an IED at the Kabul airport. Just what the doctor ordered, right?

It’s a photo-op. And some nice video of a president showing how much they care that they can use later in a re-election ad.

Just send the help. Don’t send yourself.

So did he really see the damage? Did he see the fear in a father’s eyes who is now living in a hotel room with his kids unsure about insurance coverage and if they’ll ever have a house again? Did he visit the families of the storm victims swept away in their cars and at least ask the question whether his buddy Phil Murphy could have declared a state of emergency sooner, or made a statewide emergency address asking people to not travel when the first reports of water rescues were coming in?

I can’t help but feel any president who uses loss and suffering as a backdrop for a photo-op is a person motivated by self-interest rather than acting for honorable reasons.

Where have I heard that before?

The post above reflects the thoughts and observations of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Jeff Deminski. Any opinions expressed are Jeff Deminski's own.

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