Trump confronts the tricky politics of natural disasters

AP Washington Bureau Chief

WASHINGTON (AP) – George W. Bush by no means recovered from his flyover of Hurricane Katrina’s devastation. Barack Obama obtained a bipartisan increase late in his re-election marketing campaign for his dealing with of Superstorm Sandy.

Now, President Donald Trump confronts the political dangers and potential positive aspects that include main the federal authorities’s response to a lethal and damaging pure catastrophe. Hurricane Harvey, the huge storm that has dumped torrents of rain throughout Texas – flooding Houston and different cities – is the primary main pure catastrophe of Trump’s presidency, and the but-to-be-decided scope of the injury seems more likely to require a years-lengthy federal response.

The White Home has sought to color Trump as eagerly engaged within the preliminary response, together with saying plans for him to journey to Texas even earlier than Harvey made landfall. The White Home press workplace launched pictures of Trump, decked out in a “USA” hat, being briefed by prime officers. Trump has additionally despatched about two dozen tweets concerning the storm since Friday, cheering on emergency responders – “You’re doing an excellent job – the world is watching!” he wrote – and marveling on the measurement of the hurricane.

“HISTORIC rainfall in Houston, and throughout Texas. Floods are unprecedented, and extra rain coming,” Trump wrote on Saturday.

Trump advisers are properly-conscious that the hurricane poses a big check for the White Home, which has largely been mired in crises of its personal making throughout Trump’s first seven months in workplace, together with the president’s extensively-criticized response to white supremacist protests in Charlottesville, Virginia. Trump, who ran an actual property enterprise and starred in a actuality present earlier than taking workplace, additionally has no sensible expertise within the sorts of restoration efforts that will probably be required in Texas and has struggled at occasions to point out competency in governing.

In a shocking transfer, the White Home introduced Trump would go to Texas earlier than it turned clear the place the storm would hit or how dangerous the impression can be. Administrations typically tread rigorously in planning such journeys, provided that presidential visits are an unlimited logistical enterprise and may pull native regulation enforcement assets away from the catastrophe restoration efforts.

Aides stated it was Trump who pushed for the White Home to make his want to journey to Texas recognized early….

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