Evan Vucci/ AP President Donald Trump, accompanied by very first girl Melania Trump, holds up a Texas flag after talking to supporters outside Firehouse 5 in Corpus Christi, Texas, Tuesday, Aug. 29, 2017,, where he received a briefing on Harvey relief efforts.
Released Tuesday, Aug. 29, 2017|10:42 a.m.
Updated 4 hours, 35 minutes ago
CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas– With flag-waving optimism, President Donald Trump answered Harvey’s wrath Tuesday by using in-person assurances to those in the storm zone that his administration will work relentlessly to assist the region recover from the massive flooding and storm-inflicted damage.
“We are getting you back and operating instantly,” Trump informed an impromptu crowd that gathered outside a Corpus Christi station house about 30 miles from where the storm made landfall Friday.
For all his eagerness to get the federal disaster reaction right, though, Trump missed out on clear opportunities to strike an understanding note for plethoras who are suffering. The president did not discuss those who passed away in the storm or those required from their houses by its floodwaters. And he indulged in the attention of cheering fans outside the fire station where authorities informed him on the recovery.
“What a crowd, exactly what a turnout,” Trump stated prior to waving a Texas flag from atop an action ladder placed between 2 fire engine. “This is historic. It’s legendary exactly what took place, however you understand what, it took place in Texas, and Texas can deal with anything.”
Trump is plainly determined to seize the moment and show a forceful action to Harvey, conscious of the political chances and risks that natural catastrophes present for any president. Trump has been experiencing low approval rankings and self-created crises, and the White Home is eager to reveal him as a strong leader in a time of difficulty.
The president kept his distance from the center of the damage in Houston to prevent interrupting recovery operations. However he plans to go back to the region Saturday to survey the damage and meet with some of the storm’s victims, stated Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders.
“This is everything about individuals and making sure that we’re looking after individuals of Texas,” she stated. “That’s his top priority.”
What little damage Trump saw– boarded-up windows, downed tree limbs and fences askew– was through the tinted windows of his SUV as his motorcade shuttled him from the Corpus Christi airport to the firehouse in a city that’s currently nearly back to normal.
Trump spoke optimistically about the speed of the recovery, and forecasted his action would be a book case for future presidents.
“We wish to do it better than before,” he said. “We want to be taken a look at in five years, in Ten Years from now as, ‘This is the method to do it.'”
Then it was on to his next stop, Austin, to meet with officials at the state emergency operations center.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said Trump showed “real empathy” on the short flight to Austin as they watched video footage of the flooding in Houston. “The president was sad by exactly what he saw,” the guv said.
Health and Human being Solutions Secretary Tom Rate told reporters en route back to Washington that the president’s “love for the American people and concern about their well-being is endless.”
“His heart goes out to them, as does everyone’s heart,” he stated.
However Ari Fleischer, who served as press secretary to former President George W. Bush, stated there was something missing from Trump’s remarks in Corpus Christi: “empathy for individuals who suffer.”
“The first thing he ought to have stated was that his heart heads out to those people in Houston who are going through this, which the government is here to assist them recuperate,” Fleischer informed Fox News Channel.
It’s long been presidential practice to prevent visiting the most ravaged locations of a natural disaster while healing is still in the early phases, to prevent getting in the way or diverting vital resources. In Texas, residents seemed to comprehend.
Prior to Trump landed in Texas, Louis Sirianni reached his beach home in Rockport, about 20 miles outside Corpus Christi, to evaluate damage. Sirianni said he appreciated Trump’s gesture and understood why there were no strategies to take him into the hardest-hit location.
“He ‘d see enough if he occurred here in a helicopter,” Sirianni said on a veranda available just by a 12-foot aluminum extension ladder.
In downtown Rockport, John Murray had a set of boards in front of his hairdresser spray-painted with “Bet They Blame Trump.”
“He could choose a walk and they ‘d find something to grumble about,” like jaywalking, Murray said.
Trump, wearing a black rain slicker emblazoned with a presidential seal, traveled with first woman Melania Trump and Cabinet secretaries who will play essential functions in the healing. Mrs. Trump sold her usual stiletto heels for a set of white tennis shoes and wore a black cap that checked out “FLOTUS,” an acronym for “first lady of the United States.”
In a statement, the very first girl stated that “what I discovered to be the most extensive throughout the visit was not only the strength and resilience of individuals of Texas, however the empathy and sense of community that has actually taken control of the state.”
The president, during his drop in Austin, said it was a “unfortunate thing” that the healing would be a “long-term” operation.
His mostly positive peace of minds about a speedy recovery, however, stood in contrast to the more measured assessments originating from emergency management authorities. There’s a long, tough road ahead in recuperating from a storm whose flooding has displaced tens of thousands, those authorities have cautioned.
And the president’s vow of quick action on billions of dollars in disaster help is at chances with his suggested spending plan, which would eliminate the program that assists Americans without flood insurance rebuild their homes and cuts grants to help states minimize the risk of flooding prior to catastrophe strikes.
Trump’s budget plan proposal for 2018 zeroes out Neighborhood Advancement Block Grants, a key program that assisted the Gulf Coast reconstruct after Typhoon Katrina. The same program assisted New york city and New Jersey return from Superstorm Sandy. Among other things, the grants assist people without flood insurance coverage restore their homes. In the 2017 budget, the Republican-led Congress restored a few of the funds.
While Trump’s pending spending plan demand didn’t touch the core catastrophe aid account, it proposed cutting numerous grant programs that help states decrease flood dangers before a catastrophe strikes and enhance outdated flood maps.
All told, Trump proposed cutting such grant programs by about $900 million. Former Democratic President Barack Obama likewise cast a doubtful eye, proposing cuts approximately two-thirds as large as Trump in his final FEMA spending plan.