Term’s first nat­u­ral disas­ter tests pres­i­dent

Trump tweets mes­sages tout­ing ad­min­is­tra­tion’s pre­pared­ness

Houston Chronicle Sunday - - POLITICS - By Dar­lene Su­perville

WASH­ING­TON — Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump mon­i­tored Hur­ri­cane Har­vey from the seclu­sion of his of­fi­cial moun­tain­top re­treat on Satur­day, send­ing a flurry of tweets be­fore and af­ter the pow­er­ful storm made land­fall in Texas in an ef­fort to re­as­sure the pub­lic that he was fully in con­trol of man­ag­ing the first nat­u­ral disas­ter since he took of­fice.

“Closely mon­i­tor­ing #HurricaneHarvey from Camp David. We are leav­ing noth­ing to chance. City, State and Fed­eral Govs. work­ing great to­gether!” Trump tweeted in the morn­ing. In an evening tweet, he touted “Won­der­ful co­or­di­na­tion be­tween Fed­eral, State and Lo­cal Gov­ern­ments in the Great State of Texas — TEAM­WORK!”

The White House said in a state­ment Satur­day that Trump held a video tele­con­fer­ence brief­ing on the storm with Vice Pres­i­dent Mike Pence, Cab­i­net mem­bers and se­nior staff back at the White House. Trump di­rected all de­part­ments and agen­cies to “stay fully en­gaged and po­si­tioned to sup­port his num­ber one pri­or­ity of saving lives” and the gov­er­nors of Texas and Louisiana, the White House said.

Mind­ful of im­age

Trump re­minded his team that the full ef­fects of the storm will be felt over the next few days with heavy rains and flood­ing. He also thanked all the vol­un­teer and faith-based or­ga­ni­za­tions that are pro­vid­ing as­sis­tance and sent his thoughts and prayers to those who were af­fected.

Har­vey was down graded to a trop­i­cal storm on Satur­day af­ter­noon.

The White House said Trump had re­ceived mul­ti­ple storm up­dates on Fri­day and Satur­day from chief of staff John Kelly, for­merly sec­re­tary of the De­part­ment of Home­land Se­cu­rity, where the Fed­eral Emer­gency Man­age­ment Agency is housed. The White House re­leased pho­tos of Trump pre­sid­ing over Satur­day’s video tele­con­fer­ence from the Camp David pres­i­den­tial re­treat in Mary­land’s Ca­toctin Moun­tains with his ad­vis­ers gath­ered in the White House Sit­u­a­tion Room.

A busi­ness­man in ex­pe­ri­enced at man­ag­ing a nat­u­ral disas­ter, Trump has been mind­ful of his im­age dur­ing the storm.

He tweeted a photo of him­self in the Oval Of­fice on Fri­day, with his desk­top cov­ered by color-coded pa­pers. He was joined by Kelly and home­land se­cu­rity ad­viser Tom Bossert.

Trump’s tweets also cov­ered con­ver­sa­tions he had with the gov­er­nors of Texas and Louisiana, urg­ings for the pub­lic to fol­low the advice and orders of their state and lo­cal of­fi­cials, and his de­ci­sion to de­clare that a ma­jor disas­ter ex­ists in Texas, which ex­pe­dites the flow of fed­eral money for re­build­ing af­ter the storm.

‘He is fo­cused’

Bossert told re­porters that “this is right up Pres­i­dent Trump’s al­ley” when asked Fri­day what the pres­i­dent needed to do to pro­ject lead­er­ship dur­ing the storm.

“Not only has he shown lead­er­ship here, but his en­tire fo­cus has been on mak­ing Amer­ica great again,” Bossert said. “He is fo­cused on the Amer­i­cans that voted him into of­fice. He’s fo­cused on the Amer­i­cans that didn’t vote him into of­fice. He’s fo­cused on ef­fect­ing pos­i­tive change in this coun­try. And when we go in and brief him on the prepa­ra­tions for this hur­ri­cane, he is acutely fo­cused on mak­ing sure that — and just the right thing, by the way— that the Amer­i­can peo­ple in the storm’s path have what they need.”

Trump also re­sponded to Sen. Chuck Grass­ley of Iowa, who told Trump on Twitter to “keep on top of hur­ri­cane Har­vey” and not re­peat the mis­takes that Pres­i­dent Ge­orge W. Bush made with Hur­ri­cane Ka­t­rina af­ter it dev­as­tated New Or­leans at this time in 2005. Bush was crit­i­cized for a slow fed­eral govern­ment re­sponse to the storm that caused hun­dreds of deaths and tens of bil­lions of dol­lars in dam­age.

“Got your mes­sage loud and clear. We have fan­tas­tic peo­ple on the ground, got there long be­fore #Har­vey. So far, so good!” Trump tweeted back to Grass­ley.

John Daven­port / San An­to­nio Ex­press-News

Mayor Ron Niren­berg vis­its a Red Cross shel­ter Satur­day in San An­to­nio. Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump praised co­or­di­na­tion of govern­ment agen­cies.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.