President Trump and first lady Melania are traveling to hurricane-ravaged Texas today amid the devastation of Tropical Storm Harvey, pledging the nation is “100 percent with” the thousands enduring the epic flooding.
“We are one American family,” Trump said yesterday. “We hurt together, we struggle together, and believe me, we endure together. To the people of Texas and Louisiana, we are 100 percent with you.”
Trump said more than 8,500 federal workers are involved in the Texas effort and that he has also declared a state of emergency in Louisiana, where a downgraded, but still mighty Harvey, is expected to hit next.
“Recovery will be a long and difficult road, and the federal government stands ready, willing and able to support that effort,” Trump said.
After visiting Texas today, the president plans to return on Saturday when he also will tour parts of Louisiana.
Trump is hoping to avoid joining the long list of politicians who have mismanaged large-scale disaster responses, including FEMA’s inept performance under President George W. Bush during Hurricane Katrina, and President Obama’s slow reaction to the British Petroleum oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
But President Clinton turned around a stalled presidency after the Oklahoma City bombing when he told victims’ family members at a prayer service that America “will stand with you for as many tomorrows as it takes.” And President George W. Bush’s popularity soared after Sept. 11, 2001, when he shouted through a bullhorn from Ground Zero that “the people who knocked down these buildings will hear all of us soon.”
A similar moment for Trump — along with a successful federal response — could help boost approval ratings that seem stuck in the 30s. It could also put to rest allegations that have been growing this month that Trump is “unfit” to serve as president.
Trump and Texas Gov. Greg Abbott — both Republicans — have been quick to praise each other.
“I would have to grade the federal government’s response as an A-plus,” said Abbott. “To see the swift response from the federal government is pretty much unparalleled.”
Trump yesterday said Abbott was doing “a fantastic job” and also hailed FEMA administrator Brock Long as “so outstanding in so many ways.”
But political bickering was still on full display yesterday with old grudges resurrected from one of the last major hurricanes.
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie noted his state waited the longest for federal aid after Hurricane Sandy and slammed Texas lawmakers who voted against a $51 billion package.
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