What Is Trump Doing About Hurricane Harvey Damage? His Response Is Drawing Criticism
Hurricane Harvey has sadly brought profound devastation to some parts of Texas, with rain, flooding, and winds causing extensive damage to the state. As Texas confronts the storm's aftermath, many are likely wondering what Trump is doing about damage caused by Harvey. Federal funds have already been allocated to help immediately address some of the damage. However, many people are unsatisfied with the president's personal response to the tragic storm.
On Friday, as the storm was approaching Texas, Trump issued a disaster declaration at the request of Texas' governor, Greg Abbott. As CNN reported, this declaration allows federal funds to be used to help state and municipal efforts to remedy storm damage.
Trump noted in his statement announcing the disaster declaration:
Assistance can include grants for temporary housing and home repairs, low-cost loans to cover uninsured property losses, and other programs to help individuals and business owners recover from the effects of the disaster.
Trump is also offering his ardent support to Brock Long, administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, which coordinates federal responses to disasters; Long was appointed to the position by Trump in April and is considered a qualified candidate for the job. On Saturday, Trump noted via Twitter that he was monitoring the storm closely from Camp David and provided words of encouragement to Long, saying "You are doing a great job - the world is watching! Be safe."
Long's role in overseeing federal management of the disaster is crucial, because, as Vox pointed out, most emergency management is independent from the president. Thus, FEMA, along with state and local authorities, will play an imperative role in ensuring that damages from Harvey are thoroughly assessed and addressed.
As POLITICO reported, Gov. Abbott has praised the Trump administration's response to Harvey thus far.
It's been extremely professional, very helpful. He called and said, "Governor, whatever you need you've got." ... What you will see over the coming weeks and months is a tremendous rebuilding from all this damage and a large part of that will be because of FEMA helping out. And so we are very appreciative of the way the president and the White House has responded to this catastrophe.
POLITICO also noted that Trump plans to visit Texas on Tuesday to offer support and further assess the extent of the damage caused by Harvey. On Sunday, Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told the media that the administration was coordinating details of Trump's visit with state and local officials and, once they are finalized, they will be made public.
However, while Trump has set in place federal measures to ensure that Texas will receive federal funding to help address its post-Harvey needs, many people are unsatisfied with the president's response to the storm. Many social media users have taken to Twitter to express frustration regarding Trump's tweets about the storm, with one user noting that many of the president's tweets seem to focus on the magnitude of storm but "convey no empathy or recognition that many people are dying or having their lives ruined."
Others were also upset that the president tweeted about his pardoning of Maricopa county sheriff Joe Arpaio as the storm approached Texas or that he also took to Twitter to assert why he believed it was important to build a wall along the Mexican border.
Overall, while the president has set in place the requisite federal funding measures to help mitigate damage from Harvey, many appear to be unsatisfied with his response; his tweets seem to come across as lacking empathy and concern for those enduring Hurricane Harvey. Time will tell whether Trump's Tuesday visit to Texas helps mitigate or exacerbate these concerns.