“What a crowd, what a turnout,” Trump said from atop this firetruck, addressing hurricane victims. pic.twitter.com/0EdsLctHDi
— Christina Wilkie (@christinawilkie) August 29, 2017
Back in 1992, Bush the Elder had to pretend he empathized with the little people. Trump’s letting the world know that those days are gone, baby, gone!
— Annie Karni (@anniekarni) August 29, 2017
… But the daylong visit, during which President Donald Trump spent far more time in the air than on the ground, gave the optics-obsessed president some of the visuals he wanted, as he checked in on the government apparatus working on relief efforts and was buoyed by a roaring crowd of locals.
And it showed that the president, who often obsesses about crowd size and fame while speaking in hyperbolic superlatives, would not drop those traits even amid hurricane cleanup. He praised his Federal Emergency Management Agency administrator, Brock Long, for becoming “famous” during his frequent TV appearances, talked repeatedly about the historic nature of the storm and marveled at adoring Texas residents who greeted him…
The trip was a surreal presidential journey around the edge of a disaster zone in which the waters are still rising. The body of a Houston police officer who drowned trying to get to work was recovered while Trump was on the ground, and thousands continued to pile into shelters across the state, displaced from their homes for months.
Officials predicted years of recovery and billions in damage, and rescue efforts in some areas were barely underway, meaning the death count could quickly rise…
Trump, aides said, was determined to make a visit early. He had even pushed to come before Tuesday, one adviser said, wanting to be on the ground as quickly as possible. From Washington, he began giving administration officials assignments and told his entire Cabinet “that everyone is focused on this,” one senior administration official said.
Advisers saw the storm as a way for Trump to show decisive leadership. While the famed germophobe has never shown a streak of being the consoler-in-chief, these people said the hurricane gives his government a chance to show competency — and him as the chief executive of the response…
There were few interactions with people who hadn’t been screened, and the president spent far more time flying Tuesday — at least eight hours — than on the ground, where he spent about three hours. Reporters traveling with Trump saw little more than he did, often quickly whisked from rooms or away from survivors or volunteers…
Pres Trump to TX Gov Abbott on Harvey response: "We wont say congratulations…we'll congratulate each other when it's all finished."
— Karen Travers (@karentravers) August 29, 2017
Feels like someone said to Trump "Do not congratulate yourself or others until this is over" and this was his best effort at listening. https://t.co/MlOncGhTre
— Susan Hennessey (@Susan_Hennessey) August 29, 2017
Trump thanking FEMA dir William Brock Long: "A man who really has become very famous on television in the last couple of days." #Harvey
— Tasneem N (@TasneemN) August 29, 2017