Trump Moves in as Harvey Moves out of Texas

Texas National Guardsmen help the rescue effort during Hurricane Harvey in Houston. (Public domain photo by Army National Guard Lt. Zachary West.)

Despite a rising death toll and more than 30,000 displaced evacuees from Hurricane Harvey, President Trump and his administration have responded optimistically to the disaster through social media and press conferences since Harvey made landfall as a Category 4 hurricane, late Friday night.

Thousands of rescues have been made throughout the affected area, and more than 100,000 people remain without power, according to a statement made by Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner to the Associated Press Monday evening.

Over a decade has passed since a storm of this magnitude impacted the American people, and Trump addressed concerns over funding for relief projects in a press conference with the Finnish President Sauli Niinisto by stating “I think that you’re going to see very rapid action from Congress…you’re going to get your funding.

Trump has also reached the public through his Twitter posts by responding promptly to the natural disaster with confidence in regards to those working to aid storm victims.

On Sunday Trump tweeted “Great coordination between agencies at all levels of government. Continuing rains and flash floods are being dealt with. Thousands rescued.”

He followed with an additional tweet stating “Many people are now saying that this is the worst storm/hurricane they have ever seen. Good news is that we have great talent on the ground.”

On Tuesday, August 29, Trump visited Texas and over the weekend he to Louisiana to visit those affected by the heavy rains that will hit the state within the next 48 hours.

The National Weather Service is calling this storm “unprecedented,” and the New York Times said that the administration’s response to this disaster could become a cornerstone of the Trump presidency.

“The stakes could be exceedingly high. Few events test the effectiveness of an administration — or bear as many political risks — like a major natural disaster,” said Nicholas Fandos, political reporter for the New York Times.

James Hohmann of the Washington Post elaborated upon Fandos’ idea by addressing the effect of natural disasters on the course of presidencies prior to Trump. “George H.W. Bush’s 1992 re-election hopes were hurt by his botched response to Hurricane Andrew,” said Hohmann.

Additionally, concerns over funding for the state have continued despite Trump’s assurances. Costs for recovery following Hurricane Katrina amounted to $160 billion and Hurricane Sandy left a dent of $70 billion, according to statistics gathered by Ronald Brownstein, a senior CNN political analyst.

Vice President Pence served as the Republican Congressman from Indiana in 2005, following the aftermath of Katrina. His relief efforts led to budget cuts in areas such as transportation and Medicare. However, no specifics have been named regarding funding for ongoing relief efforts for those affected by Hurricane Harvey.

Congressional decisions regarding funding for relief efforts should surface within the coming days.

The aftermath of Hurricane Harvey will represent a defining moment in the Trump presidency and will call for months of effort to rebuild affected areas and to rebuild the American spirit following this disaster.

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