Donald Trump traveled to Texas on Tuesday to assess the damage and rescue efforts from Hurricane Harvey. Another was Gregory Brent Warr, the former mayor of Gulfport, Mississippi, who admitted guilt in 2009 for improperly receiving federal disaster funds.
Many in Texas are hoping so, too.
Congress may not agree with him on that. They have no idea the damage that’s been incurred and how many people will need a place to live when this is over. Thousands of Texans were losing their homes. Thirty people have died.
Those stops were created to keep Trump at a distance from the most devastating damage in and around Houston, which has experienced historic flooding after Hurricane Harvey’s landfall on Friday.
Green, who led the federal disaster task force between 2013 and last March, said some criminal activity likely spiked even before Harvey’s landfall last week.
“People can’t stay in shelters forever”, he said.
FEMA is hiring temporary workers to supplement the disaster response. On-site officials, notably Gov. Greg Abbott, R-Texas, say the agency has done a good job so far. We should judge Trump by what he does in the coming days and weeks. The National Flood Insurance Program is now running a $25 billion deficit and set to expire altogether in a month if Congress doesn’t act.
Trump is traveling to Texas on Tuesday, and said he may return to the area on Saturday.
“Vogue contributor Lynn Yaeger asked, “(W) hat kind of message does a fly-in visit from a First Lady in sky-high stilettos send to those suffering the enormous hardship, the devastation of this natural disaster?” His budget notes FEMA has an “unobligated balance”-budgetese for unspent leftover money-from this year of $815 million”. But it’s largely up to states and local government to be first responders.
Still, Mr. Trump’s anticipated rhetoric about fixing a “system rigged for the wealthy and special interests” will risk giving ammo to his opponents, including Senate Democrats who vow to block any plan that provides new tax cuts to the top 1 percent of earners. The Democratic Obama administration’s FEMA chief pushed the same idea, but it met resistance from homeowners and died past year. Both groups are missing the point. They also must be handicap accessible. Congress did not pass an emergency funding bill until the end of January, 2013, enraging lawmakers in the northeast. Trump held multiple press conferences regarding his campaign at his hotels.
Does all this rewrite the narrative on Trump as a flawed and impetuous leader? We see friend helping friend, neighbor helping neighbor, and stranger helping stranger.