Trump Arrives in Texas to Survey Hurricane Harvey Disaster

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President Trump and Melania, his wife, listened during a briefing on Tuesday about Hurricane Harvey relief efforts with local leadership and relief organizations at Fire Station 5 in Corpus Christi, Tex. Credit Doug Mills/The New York Times

WASHINGTON — President Trump landed in storm-brushed Corpus Christi on Tuesday morning to see for himself some of the damage caused by Tropical Storm Harvey and demonstrate his personal commitment to a region still in the grips of a historic natural disaster.

Mr. Trump, who pushed aides to schedule a visit to Texas as early as possible, initially considered touring San Antonio, far to the north of the damage but settled on Corpus Christi because it was 30 miles away from the most severely impacted parts of the Gulf Coast, and suffered relatively light damage from the initial impact of the storm.

After conferring with local, state and federal emergency management officials, the president, accompanied by Melania Trump, the first lady, plans to travel north to Austin, where he will meets with top officials in Texas, including Gov. Greg Abbott, a political ally who has given the White House high marks for its storm response thus far.

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Maps and animated satellite imagery show the scale and reach of the storm.

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The president is also scheduled to meet with several members of Congress, local elected officials and mayors, although he has no plans to meet the mayor of Houston, Sylvester Turner.

The visit takes place five days after Harvey made landfall near Rockport, Texas, as a Category 4 hurricane with 130-mile-an-hour winds.

“Due to the weather and all of the circumstances it’s a little bit more fluid today than a normal travel day,” Sarah Huckabee Sanders, the White House press secretary, told reporters aboard Air Force One during a turbulent flight.

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Mr. and Mrs. Trump boarding Air Force One on Tuesday at Andrews Air Force Base for their trip to Texas. Credit Doug Mills/The New York Times

“The president wants to be very cautious about making sure that any activity doesn’t disrupt any of the recovery efforts that are still ongoing, which is the reason for the locations we are going here today,” she said. “As of right now, I don’t know that we will be able to get to some of the really damaged areas.”

Mr. Trump, his aides say, is eager to avoid the mistakes made by President George W. Bush in 2005, when he took a relatively hands-off approach to the federal response to Hurricane Katrina in Louisiana.

Even though Vice President Mike Pence and federal officials from the Department of Homeland Security have taken the lead on negotiating many of the details of the response, Mr. Trump has taken pains to emphasize his personal involvement in the crisis.

“We are glad he’s coming,” said Ben Molina, a Corpus Christi councilman. “It’s important that he sees the damage around the coast. I’ve never seen anything like it, and neither has anybody else.”

The president on Monday pledged to quickly pass an appropriations bill to deal with the massive damage to private property and public infrastructure. He said he would return to region this weekend.

Mr. Trump left Washington on a rainy morning, boarding Air Force One with an entourage of aides that included John F. Kelly, his chief of staff; Marc Short, his legislative affairs director and his point man with elected officials in the region; and specialists from the Small Business Administration, who will assist local businesses with recovery loans.

The storm is unlike any to hit the hurricane-prone region in decades, dumping as much as four feet of water on low-lying areas on the coast, forcing tens of thousands of residents to seek emergency shelter on higher ground.

Mrs. Trump boarded Air Force One wearing a green jacket, slacks and stilettos — attire which was widely noted on social media. She emerged from the plane in Corpus Christi wearing a white jacket, a white baseball cap emblazoned with “FLOTUS” and white tennis shoes. Mr. Trump did not change clothes en route. He wore leather boots, khakis and a white collared shirt with a windbreaker bearing a presidential seal; his white baseball cap read “USA.”

Continue reading the main storySource: New York Times – Politics

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