As has become typical of the current kakistocracy, Donald Trump toured areas near the worst-hit region of Texas by Hurricane Harvey and praised the very agencies his proposed budget has tried to cut funds for, including FEMA, HUD and the National Weather Service.
As he toured rising floodwater in Texas on Tuesday, President Trump effusively praised his administration’s Hurricane Harvey response, an effort he began touting on Twitter last weekend even before the storm made landfall.
But not too long ago, the president proposed a budget calling for cuts to some of the federal government’s most consequential efforts to prepare states and local communities and help them recover from catastrophic events such as Harvey…
The proposed cuts would include programs run by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, whose new administrator was praised by Trump in a tweet last weekend for “doing a great job”; the Department of Housing and Urban Development, which helps rebuild homes, parks, hospitals and community centers; the National Weather Service, which forecasts extreme storms; and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, whose research and community engagement help coastal residents prepare for disaster.
“The president has definitely sent a signal with his budget that emergency management is not of interest,” said Scott Knowles, a historian at Drexel University who studies risk and disaster.
Until he has to pretend that it is, of course. The president really has little role in disaster management. All they can really do is order the relevant agencies to do whatever it takes to help out. Other than that, their only role is to express the concerns and well-wishes of the entire country, but Trump even manages to make that all about him. “What a crowd. What a turnout,” he said to a crowd cheering for him in Corpus Christi. Yeah, Donald, it’s all about how many fans you have in Texas. Make it all about you.
On Twitter, he’s hauled out his usual assortment of superlatives, almost like he’s bragging about the size of the hurricane.
“125 MPH winds!”
“Record setting rainfall!”
“Wow — Now experts are calling #Harvey a once in 500 year flood!”
Then he announced he was going to Texas, but also to Missouri, a state that “I won by a lot in ’16.” The mind boggles. One half-expects him to tweet out, “It’s the biggest hurricane the world has ever seen! No president has hurricanes like me, big beautiful hurricanes. Gold-plated hurricanes! Even Noah’s flood doesn’t compare to this!”