Donald Trump Has 'Lost the Messaging' on Government Shutdown, Says Former Biographer: 'He Doesn't Care About the Human Impact'

Donald Trump has "lost the messaging" over the government shutdown and "doesn't care about the human impact," according to a biographer.

Tim O'Brien—who wrote the 2005 book TrumpNation: The Art of Being Donald—was making an appearance on MSNBC's The 11th Hour With Brian Williams when he delivered the comments.

Read more: Senators propose stopgap spending bill to end government shutdown, but Trump, Democrats remain divided

Williams began his interview with O'Brien by reading a segment of a Washington Post report that discussed the apparent lack of empathy shown by both Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross and Director of the United States National Economic Council Larry Kudlow, in recent comments regarding the shutdown.

"The twin appearances underscored a tone-deafness that has become more pronounced in the Trump administration as the plight of approximately 800,000 federal workers worsens," the report read. "Trump has made no appearances at area food banks or other gathering places for furloughed workers, nor has he used the bully pulpit of his office to spotlight their basic struggles."

Williams then asked O'Brien about whether he recognized anything in Trump's recent behavior that resonated with what he saw during his research for the biography.

O'Brien responded: "Well, he is an affluent man who was born into wealth and he doesn't have an authentic connection to the struggles and the needs of average people."

"We saw that when Puerto Rico got hit by a hurricane. It took the president a long time to go to a war zone. He didn't get out to California when the wildfires were burning, and now he's shut down a government and the people who work for him are struggling and he doesn't have any real understanding or empathy with what that struggle involves," he said.

O'Brien noted that it wasn't just Ross and Kudlow who had shown a lack of understanding for unpaid government workers in recent appearances. He singled out Lara Trump—the president's daughter-in-law—who said in an interview with BOLD TV that the shutdown was "a little bit of pain" but was worth it for the future of the country.

"All three of these individuals don't really have to work for a living," O'Brien noted. "They have income coming in from things besides their jobs, and they don't now what it's like to suddenly be cut off from a job."

"And I think beyond the lack of empathy, there is also a lack of strategic sophistication—they have lost the messaging," he said. "Symbolically now, not only has Trump said as famously as he did in December, 'I'm willing to own the shutdown,' he is also being painted publicly as someone who doesn't care about the human impact of the shutdown as well, and that will live with him for a long time."

Federal employees holding empty plates stage a rally to call for a vote on the shutdown on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., on January 23. JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images