President Trump will be visiting Texas this week as the state struggles to recover from a massive hurricane that has displaced 30,000 people.
At least eight people have died so far, and over 450,000 people are expected to ask for assistance. The damage from the storm is estimated at $24 billion.
President Trump has already announced disaster proclamations for Texas and Louisiana, granting the two states federal aid as they look for survivors and repair infrastructure.
“This action will help alleviate the hardship and suffering that the emergency has inflicted on the local population, and provide appropriate assistance for required emergency measures,” said the White House.
Hurricane Harvey dumped six months-worth of rain on Texas in three days, causing catastrophic floods that swept through 50 counties. It was the most powerful hurricane to hit the US in 14 years, and the strongest to hit Texas since 1961.
It is also the first natural disaster to occur since Trump took office in January, and Trump’s response to the storm could be a defining moment for his presidency.
“Trump’s response to the storm will be closely watched in Washington and around the country due to both his lack of governing experience and inability, so far, to seize the opportunity to unite the country in moments of crisis,” reports CNN.
A deft handling of the emergency could give the White House an opportunity to recover from bad press related to Trump comments about the riots in Charlottesville and his recent pardoning of former Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio.
Trump took to Twitter this weekend to praise officials’ handling of the storm. On Sunday, he held a teleconference with Vice President Pence and others to discuss how they would respond to the emergency.
“President Trump continued to stress his expectation that all departments and all agencies stay fully committed to supporting the Governors of Texas and Louisiana and his number one priority of saving lives,” said White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders.
In the meantime, Harvey continues to dump rain on Texas.
“The worst is yet to come,” predicts Al Jazeera weatherman Richard Angwin. “There’s still a lot still coming out of it, picking up warm water in the Gulf of Mexico.”
Experts predict some areas of Texas will see 15-25 more inches of rain by Friday.
According to the National Weather Service, rainfall in some areas could soon reach 50 inches – the highest ever recorded in the state.
Editor’s note: Normally we do not cover such major issues as hurricane Harvey, but other presidents have been criticized for their handling of emergency services. Thus far, Trump does not have this problem. His team has deftly coordinated resources and reassured the victims that they will be taken care of.