The White House has tried to ease criticism of Donald Trump’s PR trip in Texas, amid onoging rescue and recovery efforts after Hurricane Harvey.
During his quick visit on Tuesday, Trump failed to mention victims, their families, and those who lost homes in the unprecedented flooding in Houston and along coastal areas in east Texas. He turned the event into attention to himself, telling an impromptu rally, “What support! What a crowd!”.
To avoid disruption of relief efforts, he and his wife Melania did not go to the affected areas, remaining at least 30 miles away and never enduring a drop of rain; however, Trump gave the misleading impression on Twitter:
After witnessing first hand the horror & devastation caused by Hurricane Harvey,my heart goes out even more so to the great people of Texas!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 30, 2017
Local newspapers in Texas quickly responded with the critical note that Trump had only witnessed the scene from afar.
Trump’s behavior compounded the errors of his initial responses when the hurricane made landfall last weekend. Again failing to mention the victims as he talked about “big!” the event was, he interspersed a renewed insistence that Mexico will pay for The Wall on the US border and a boast about his victory in Missouri — the site of a speech on Wednesday promoting the Administration’s hopes for tax changes — in the Presidential election.
So before his advertised comments on tax yesterday, Trump read a White House script seeking to make good on the hurricane front.
In difficult times such as these we see the true character of the American people, their strength, their love, and their resolve. We see friend helping friend, neighbor helping neighbor, and stranger helping stranger. And together we will endure and we will overcome.
To those affected by this storm, we are praying for you, and we are here with you every single step of the way, and I can speak, I know, for the people in this room, every step of the way. To those Americans who have lost loved ones, all of America is grieving with you, and our hearts are joined with yours forever.
The citizens of Texas and the gulf coast need all the prayers, support and resources our communities have to offer. Recovery will be tough but I have seen the resilience of the American spirit firsthand all over this country.
To the people of Houston, and across Texas and Louisiana, we are here with you today, we are with you tomorrow, and we will be with you every single day after, to restore, recover, and rebuild.
Our thoughts and prayers remain firmly with the citizens and our fellow people, people, great, great people, all affected by this tragedy.
The effort has not succeeded in grabbing restorative headlines on Thursday, with the Harvey focus on its second landfall in Texas and Louisiana and with scrutiny of Trump’s vague comments on tax. For a long time, the leading outlet focusing on Trump’s opening appeal was Britain’s Daily Mail.
But no news may be good news in this case, with the hope that the memory of Donald and Melania’s Tuesday venture will fade and be replaced by a different Presidential tone when Trump returns to Texas on Friday.