WASHINGTON: Heeding botched presidential responses to Hurricanes Katrina and Andrew, Donald Trump’s White House sought to show him in control and marshalling resources Friday as Harvey — a once-in-a-decade storm — bore down on Texas.
Trump bade “good luck to everybody” in the path of the monster category three storm, as aides distributed photos of him being briefed in the Oval Office and suggested he would visit the expected disaster zone early next week.
After days of near-silence in the face of what is Trump’s first major domestic challenge, the White House shifted into high gear.
Staff released images of Trump sitting behind the Resolute Desk, surrounded by aides and pouring over maps projecting the impact of Hurricane Harvey, which was expected to make landfall late in the day or early Saturday.
White House statements flowed into journalists’ email inboxes, as did details of Trump’s conversations with federal, state and local authorities.
“I encourage everyone in the path of #HurricaneHarvey to heed the advice & orders of their local and state officials,” Trump tweeted.
Trump’s homeland security advisor Thomas Bossert appeared behind the White House podium to tell Americans “now is not the time to lose faith in your government institutions” — a far cry from Trump’s frequent castigation of the authorities as feckless and wasteful.