An undated photograph of Charlie Gard provided by his family, at Great Ormond Street Hospital, in London. (Family o f Charlie Gard/Associated Press)

Regarding the July 4 Politics & the Nation article “Trump offers to help ill British baby”:

While it is nice that President Trump has offered to help Charlie Gard, a critically ill British infant, I am surely not the only one to reflect that this sharply contrasts with the health-care bill he supports, under which many American children in similar situations would likely be at risk of being denied medical coverage. It is tempting to wonder whether the irony is entirely lost on Mr. Trump and his supporters.

However, it may be instructive to consider Mr. Trump’s public support for the Gard family in light of another article in the July 4 paper: “Putin’s strategy: Fix problems, blame the ‘elite’ ” [World]. The article focused on the Russian leader’s cynical annual “Direct Line” televised call-in show, which serves to deflect criticism and attention from his cruel and corrupt authoritarian regime through a few highly publicized “random acts of kindness.” There is, of course, nothing at all random about this.

We should not assume that Mr. Trump’s espoused concern in one tragic case is purely impulsive any more than that it is driven by moral principle. This, too, is an act of deflection, following the model of a despot whose leadership style Mr. Trump is known to admire.

W. Luther Jett, Washington Grove