Dear Commons Community,
Earlier this week, Donald Trump’s daughter-in-law, Lara Trump, another member of his crass, boorish family, mocked former Vice President Joe Biden, for his stutter. Chesley “Sully” Sullengerger, the retired pilot and himself once a stutterer, responded to her comments in an op-ed in today’s New York Times. Here is an excerpt:
“As a small boy in Denison, Texas, I remember vividly the anguish of being called on in grade school, knowing that I was going to have a hard time getting the words out; that my words could not keep up with my mind, and they would often come out jumbled. My neck and face would quickly begin to flush a bright red, the searing heat rising all the way to the top of my head; every eye in the room on me; the intense and painful humiliation, and bullying that would follow, all because of my inability to get the words out.
Those feelings came rushing back, when I heard Lara Trump mocking former Vice President Joe Biden at a Trump campaign event, with the very words that caused my childhood agony. “Joe, can you get it out?” Ms. Trump was seen saying onstage, as a few giggles are heard from an otherwise silent audience. “Let’s get the words out, Joe.”
I too had an experience similar to Capt. Sullenberger. As a child growing up in the Bronx, I stuttered. I couldn’t start a sentence with the letter “I” or say a word that began with a “W”. “What” took at least nine or ten tries starting with “Wha..Wha..Wha..Wha..” And those letters weren’t all the troublemakers. As a result, I was a very quiet little kid and never raised my hand in class. My first-grade teacher, Miss Cassidy, noticing my condition, decided to spend her lunch hours with me and would have me say tongue twisters, very slowly at first, and then faster and faster. Within two months, my stutter was basically gone. That was fifty-five years ago. I have been grateful to her ever since.
It is a disgrace that we have members of our President’s family who feel the need to mock people. Most likely, they do it to hide their own inadequacies.