George W. Bush never recovered from his flyover of Hurricane Katrina’s devastation. Barack Obama got a bipartisan boost late in his re-election campaign for his handling of Superstorm Sandy. Now, President Donald Trump confronts the political risks and potential gains that come with leading the federal government’s response to a deadly and destructive natural disaster, reports the Associated Press. Hurricane Harvey, the massive storm that has dumped torrents of rain across Texas, flooding Houston and other cities, is the first major natural disaster of Trump’s presidency, and the scope of the damage appears likely to require a years-long federal project.
Trump, suffering from low approval ratings, has been particularly eager to seize the moment. He will visit Texas Tuesday — and may return to the region again on Saturday. The White House announced the first visit even before Harvey made landfall. On Monday, Trump promised Texans will “have what you need” and that federal funding would come “fast.” In Texas, Trump was scheduled to be briefed on relief efforts with local leaders and relief organizations during a stop in Corpus Christi. He also was expected to tour the state emergency operations center in Austin. Trump advisers are well-aware that the hurricane poses a significant test for the White House, which has been mired in crises and unable to show competency in governing.