Trump said he hasn't cried since childhood. Here's why that's nothing to brag about.

President Donald Trump accused Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer of fake crying during a press conference opposing the recent refugee and immigration executive order.

"I know him very well," Trump told reporters. "I don't see him as a crier. If he is, he's a different man. There's about a 5% chance it was real, but I think they were fake tears."

Trump's pointed attack ignores the fact that Schumer's great-grandmother and many of her children were killed in the Holocaust, so his reaction to a drastic measure preventing refugees from safe harbor may be an emotional one. Even without that familial context, Schumer's impassioned response to stranded and separated families in his home state seems more than appropriate.


Schumer stands with recently resettled refugees to push for an overturn of Trump's executive order temporarily banning immigration to the United States for refugees and some Muslim travelers at a press conference in New York. Photo by Bryan R. Smith/AFP/Getty Images.

It wasn't the first time Trump has dinged someone for crying.

He has a long history of dismissing or shaming people crying. He's called out Glenn Beck, John Boehner, and Jeb Bush on Twitter  for crying or being "cry babies" and falsely accused ABC News anchor Martha Raddatz of crying on air after the election.  

Boehner wipes a tear as Rep. Nancy Pelosi looks on during a ceremony to award the Congressional Gold Medal posthumously to Constantino Brumidi in 2012. Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images.

Despite Trump's aversion to it, there are many benefits to crying backed by science and research.

Physiologically, there are actually three types of tears: emotional, basal, and reflex.

Emotional tears are a reaction to stress or strong feelings, basal tears keep eyes lubricated, and reflex tears are secreted in response to irritants like dust or onion. All three types of tears are made up of enzymes, oils, mucus, and antibodies in saltwater. Each type of tear possess distinct molecules that are distinguishable under a microscope. William Frey, a biochemist, pharmacologist, and expert on the topic of tears, found that emotional tears contain stress hormones that are expelled from the body through crying.

President Bill Clinton tells the congregation of Mason Temple Church of God, "You've brought tears to my eyes" after listening to the previous speakers. Photo by Paul Richards/AFP/Getty Images.

Whether or not crying expels stress-related toxins from the body, the act of crying is a positive release.

"Letting down one's guard and one's defenses and [crying] is a very positive, healthy thing," Stephen Sideroff, a clinical psychologist at UCLA, told WebMD. And empathetic crying — in response to watching a touching movie or reading something sad in the news — has the same effect. "That process of opening into yourself ... it's like a lock and key," Sideroff said.

Tears drip down President George W. Bush's cheek during an East Room ceremony to present a posthumous Medal of Honor. Photo by Brian Aho/U.S. Navy via Getty Images.

Conversely, stifling or holding back tears may temporarily elevate your heart rate or blood pressure as your body's sympathetic nervous system (your fight-or-flight response) works overtime to figure out what's going on.

Not to mention, emotional crying is uniquely human and reveals our empathy for others.

President Barack Obama cried while he spoke to the country following the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau wept openly after being reunited with a Syrian refugee he welcomed to the country a year prior. Vice President Joe Biden dabbed his eyes while being awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Former Speaker of the House John Boehner was frequently moved to tears during award presentations, speeches, stirring songs, and on election night.

Biden (left) wipes his eyes as Obama presents him with Medal of Freedom. Obama (right) cries as he talks about the victims of the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting. Photos by Olivier Douliery-Pool/Getty Images and Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images.

What a gift it is to feel so moved by someone else's story, to feel their joy or misery as if it were your own. What an admirable thing it is to dedicate your life to a goal and see it come to fruition. That kind of empathy and passion shouldn't be seen as a weakness. It should be rewarded and encouraged.

That's the kind of strong, dedicated leadership we need in trying times. Someone who understands who they're working for and why we need each other.

Attorney General Eric Holder wipes his eye while resigning his position during an announcement. Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images.

But Trump says he hasn't cried since he was a baby.

Not for the birth of his children or on his wedding days. Not the deaths of his parents and brother. Not for the thousands of victims on 9/11, the children of Sandy Hook, or the men and women murdered in Charleston. Nothing. That's not strength. It's emptiness. It's cowardice. It's the kind of emotionless leadership that will prevent us from moving forward as a united country.

So whether or not he's cried, Trump could stand to do it more often.

To look in the face of the people and families his policies affect at home and abroad and find the joy or tragedy in someone else's story. He can take a cue from Schumer and Boehner and others and bring some emotion to his work. Not just to remind all of us he's human, but to remind himself.

Photo by Mandel Ngan AFP/Getty Images.

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Judy Vaughan has spent most of her life helping other women, first as the director of House of Ruth, a safe haven for homeless families in East Los Angeles, and later as the Project Coordinator for Women for Guatemala, a solidarity organization committed to raising awareness about human rights abuses.

But in 1996, she decided to take things a step further. A house became available in the mid-Wilshire area of Los Angeles and she was offered the opportunity to use it to help other women and children. So, in partnership with a group of 13 people who she knew from her years of activism, she decided to make it a transitional residence program for homeless women and their children. They called the program Alexandria House.

"I had learned from House of Ruth that families who are homeless are often isolated from the surrounding community," Judy says. "So we decided that as part of our mission, we would also be a neighborhood center and offer a number of resources and programs, including an after-school program and ESL classes."

She also decided that, unlike many other shelters in Los Angeles, she would accept mothers with their teenage boys.

"There are very few in Los Angeles [that do] due to what are considered liability issues," Judy explains. "Given the fact that there are (conservatively) 56,000 homeless people and only about 11,000 shelter beds on any one night, agencies can be selective on who they take."

Their Board of Directors had already determined that they should take families that would have difficulties finding a place. Some of these challenges include families with more than two children, immigrant families without legal documents, moms who are pregnant with other small children, families with a member who has a disability [and] families with service dogs.

"Being separated from your son or sons, especially in the early teen years, just adds to the stress that moms who are unhoused are already experiencing," Judy says.

"We were determined to offer women with teenage boys another choice."

Courtesy of Judy Vaughan

Alexandria House also doesn't kick boys out when they turn 18. For example, Judy says they currently have a mom with two daughters (21 and 2) and a son who just turned 18. The family had struggled to find a shelter that would take them all together, and once they found Alexandria House, they worried the boy would be kicked out on his 18th birthday. But, says Judy, "we were not going to ask him to leave because of his age."

Homelessness is a big issue in Los Angeles. "[It] is considered the homeless capital of the United States," Judy says. "The numbers have not changed significantly since 1984 when I was working at the House of Ruth." The COVID-19 pandemic has only compounded the problem. According to Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority (LAHSA), over 66,000 people in the greater Los Angeles area were experiencing homelessness in 2020, representing a rise of 12.7% compared with the year before.

Each woman who comes to Alexandria House has her own unique story, but some common reasons for ending up homeless include fleeing from a domestic violence or human trafficking situation, aging out of foster care and having no place to go, being priced out of an apartment, losing a job, or experiencing a family emergency with no 'cushion' to pay the rent.

"Homelessness is not a definition; it is a situation that a person finds themselves in, and in fact, it can happen to almost anyone. There are many practices and policies that make it almost impossible to break out of poverty and move out of homelessness."

And that's why Alexandria House exists: to help them move out of it. How long that takes depends on the woman, but according to Judy, families stay an average of 10 months. During that time, the women meet with support staff to identify needs and goals and put a plan of action in place.

A number of services are provided, including free childcare, programs and mentoring for school-age children, free mental health counseling, financial literacy classes and a savings program. They have also started Step Up Sisterhood LA, an entrepreneurial program to support women's dreams of starting their own businesses. "We serve as a support system for as long as a family would like," Judy says, even after they have moved on.

And so far, the program is a resounding success.

92 percent of the 200 families who stayed at Alexandria House have found financial stability and permanent housing — not becoming homeless again.

Since founding Alexandria House 25 years ago, Judy has never lost sight of her mission to join with others and create a vision of a more just society and community. That is why she is one of Tory Burch's Empowered Women this year — and the donation she receives as a nominee will go to Alexandria House and will help grow the new Start-up Sisterhood LA program.

"Alexandria House is such an important part of my life," says Judy. "It has been amazing to watch the children grow up and the moms recreate their lives for themselves and for their families. I have witnessed resiliency, courage, and heroic acts of generosity."

The difference between a politician and a public servant may be a matter of semantics, but when it comes to getting legislation passed that actually helps people, the contrast is stark.

Texas Representative James Talarico is on a mission to get his constituents the life-saving medicine they need. The 31-year-old lawmaker has just introduced legislation that would cap the price of insulin—a medicine people with type 1 diabetes need to live, which has become unaffordable for many—at $50 a month.

The mission is personal for Talarico, as he nearly died three years ago when he was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes.

He shared his story on Twitter:

"In May 2018, I was a healthy 28-year-old running for the Texas House. I decided to walk the entire length of my district and hold town halls along the way. I hike Big Bend every year, so I wasn't concerned about a 25 mile walk...

But halfway through the walk, I began feeling nauseous and fatigued. Before the town hall in Hutto, I vomited in the bathroom."

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Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
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Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

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