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US President Donald Trump holds notes during the listening session. Photo: AP

‘I hear you’: Donald Trump’s note to self at emotional student listening session goes viral

Spilling out wrenching tales of lost lives and stolen security, students and parents appealed to Trump to set politics aside and protect America’s schoolchildren. And he listened.

US President Donald Trump held a worthwhile listening session featuring a range of views on how to combat gun violence in schools. 

And while Trump’s at-times-meandering comments about arming teachers will certainly raise eyebrows, for the most part he did listen.

Thanks in part, it seems, to a helpful reminder. 

Photographers captured this image of Trump’s notes, which some internet sleuths suggested was in daughter Ivanka’s handwriting.

Donald Trump holds notes during the listening session with high school students. Photo: AP

At No. 5 is a talking point about telling those present that he was actually listening. After what appear to be four questions he planned to ask those assembled, No. 5 is an apparent reminder for Trump to tell people, “I hear you.” 

Even No. 1 is basically a reminder that Trump should empathise.

“What would you most want me to know about your experience?” the card reads.

So at least two-fifths of this card is dedicated to making sure the president of the United States assured those assembled that he was interested in what they had to say. (And it was not known what Nos. 3 and 4 said.)

That is at once pretty striking for a president and not at all striking for Trump. 

Samuel Zeif, student at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, left, weeps after recounting his story of the shooting incident. Photo: The Washington Post

Through tragedy after tragedy, empathy has been the quality clearly missing from Trump’s reactions. He has focused on first-responders rather than victims. 

He has joked around when he probably should have been sombre. He has attacked a political leader who wasn’t appreciative enough. Through it all, it’s been clear that expressing that he feels others’ pain just isn’t his strength.