Trump to travel to Texas on Tuesday to survey damage from Harvey

WASHINGTON, Aug 27 (Reuters) - President Donald Trump will visit Texas on Tuesday to survey storm damage caused by Harvey, the first major U.S. natural disaster since he took office in January, the White House said on Sunday.

Harvey came ashore late on Friday as the most powerful hurricane to hit Texas in more than 50 years and has killed at least two people. The death toll is expected to rise as the storm lashes the state for days, triggering record floods, tidal surges and tornadoes.

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HOUSTON, TX - AUGUST 27: Andrew White (L) helps a neighbor down a street after rescuing her from her home in his boat in the upscale River Oaks neighborhood after it was inundated with flooding from Hurricane Harvey on August 27, 2017 in Houston, Texas. Harvey, which made landfall north of Corpus Christi late Friday evening, is expected to dump upwards to 40 inches of rain in Texas over the next couple of days. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
A graveyard is seen as it floods during the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey August 27, 2017 in Pearland, Texas. Hurricane Harvey left a trail of devastation Saturday after the most powerful storm to hit the US mainland in over a decade slammed into Texas, destroying homes, severing power supplies and forcing tens of thousands of residents to flee. / AFP PHOTO / Brendan Smialowski (Photo credit should read BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)
A family is rescued from flood waters from Hurricane Harvey on a boat in Dickinson, Texas August 27, 2017. REUTERS/Rick Wilking
Local resident Kathy Neihaet walks through her damaged neighborhood after Hurricane Harvey hit Port Aransas, Texas on August 27, 2017. Hurricane Harvey hit the Texas coast with forecasters saying its possible for up to three feet of rain and 125 mpg wind. / AFP PHOTO / MARK RALSTON (Photo credit should read MARK RALSTON/AFP/Getty Images)
A flipped over truck and flooding are seen after Hurricane Harvey hit Rockport, Texas, U.S., on Saturday, Aug. 26, 2017. As Harvey's winds die down, trouble for Texas has just begun as days of flooding rains across the heart of U.S. energy production threaten the country's fourth-largest city and leave farmers struggling to save horses, cows and crops. Photographer: Alex Scott/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Flooding and a damaged home are seen after Hurricane Harvey hit Rockport, Texas, U.S., on Saturday, Aug. 26, 2017. As Harvey's winds die down, trouble for Texas has just begun as days of flooding rains across the heart of U.S. energy production threaten the country's fourth-largest city and leave farmers struggling to save horses, cows and crops. Photographer: Alex Scott/Bloomberg via Getty Images
TOPSHOT - Hurricane Harvey damage is seen in Bayside, TX August 26, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / Daniel KRAMER (Photo credit should read DANIEL KRAMER/AFP/Getty Images)
CITY-BY-The Sea, TX - AUGUST 26: Cows make their way through fallen power lines along the road near City-By-The Sea, TX as Hurricane Harvey hits the Texas coast on Saturday, Aug 26, 2017. (Photo by Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
People push a disabled car during the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey August 27, 2017 in Houston, Texas. Hurricane Harvey left a trail of devastation Saturday after the most powerful storm to hit the US mainland in over a decade slammed into Texas, destroying homes, severing power supplies and forcing tens of thousands of residents to flee. / AFP PHOTO / Brendan Smialowski (Photo credit should read BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)
ROCKPORT, TX - AUGUST 26: Firefighters search for survivors at an apartment complex in Rockport, TX as Hurricane Harvey hits the Texas coast on Saturday, Aug 26, 2017. (Photo by Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
Sterling Broughton is moved from a rescue boat onto a kayak in Dickinson, Texas August 27, 2017. REUTERS/Rick Wilking
People are rescued from flood waters from Hurricane Harvey in an armored police mine-resistant ambush protected (MRAP) vehicle in Dickinson, Texas August 27, 2017. REUTERS/Rick Wilking
Texas National Guard soldiers aid stranded residents in heavily flooded areas from the storms of Hurricane Harvey in Houston, Texas, U.S., August 27, 2017. Lt. Zachary West, 100th MPAD/Texas Military Department/Handout via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY
A condominium complex is reduced to rubble after Hurricane Harvey struck Rockport, Texas August 26, 2017. REUTERS/Rick Wilking
Tim Freiberg moves through what was his garage after Hurricane Harvey struck Rockport, Texas August 26, 2017. REUTERS/Rick Wilking
Housing surrounded by flood waters caused by Hurricane Harvey is seen from a U.S. Coast Guard helicopter during an overflight from Port Aransas to Port O'Connor, Texas, August 26, 2017. U.S. Coast Guard/Petty Officer 3rd Class Johanna Strickland/Handout via REUTERS. ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. THIS PICTURE WAS PROCESSED BY REUTERS TO ENHANCE QUALITY. AN UNPROCESSED VERSION WILL BE PROVIDED SEPARATELY.
A woman uses a coat hanger to try and retrieve an item from a destroyed house after Hurricane Harvey struck Fulton, Texas, August 26, 2017. REUTERS/Rick Wilking
A man walks past a business which was left damaged after Hurricane Harvey hit Rockport, Texas, U.S. August 26, 2017. REUTERS/Adrees Latif
A ranch house is surrounded by floodwaters from Hurricane Harvey near Port Lavaca, Texas, August 26, 2017. REUTERS/Rick Wilking
Dead cows killed in Hurricane Harvey lie on highway 35 near Fulton, Texas, August 26, 2017. REUTERS/Rick Wilking
A storage facility that took damage from a tornado that spun off of Hurricane Harvey after the storm made landfall on the Texas Gulf coast, in Katy, Texas, U.S. August 26, 2017. REUTERS/Nick Oxford
Damage to the First Baptist Church of Rockport after Hurricane Harvey hit Rockport, Texas on August 26, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / MARK RALSTON (Photo credit should read MARK RALSTON/AFP/Getty Images)
People make their way down partially flooded roads following the passage of Hurricane Harvey on August 26, 2017 in Galveston, Texas. / AFP PHOTO / Brendan Smialowski (Photo credit should read BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)
A tree sits uprooted after Hurricane Harvey hit Rockport, Texas, U.S., on Saturday, Aug. 26, 2017. As Harvey's winds die down, trouble for Texas has just begun as days of flooding rains across the heart of U.S. energy production threaten the country's fourth-largest city and leave farmers struggling to save horses, cows and crops. Photographer: Alex Scott/Bloomberg via Getty Images
People walk through flooded streets as the effects of Hurricane Henry are seen August 26, 2017 in Galveston, Texas. Hurricane Harvey left a trail of devastation Saturday after the most powerful storm to hit the US mainland in over a decade slammed into Texas, destroying homes, severing power supplies and forcing tens of thousands of residents to flee. / AFP PHOTO / Brendan Smialowski (Photo credit should read BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)
Vehicles drive through a flooded street as the effects of Hurricane Henry are seen August 26, 2017 in Galveston, Texas. Hurricane Harvey left a trail of devastation Saturday after the most powerful storm to hit the US mainland in over a decade slammed into Texas, destroying homes, severing power supplies and forcing tens of thousands of residents to flee. / AFP PHOTO / Brendan Smialowski (Photo credit should read BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)
Palm trees sit collapsed after Hurricane Harvey hit Rockport, Texas, U.S., on Saturday, Aug. 26, 2017. As Harvey's winds die down, trouble for Texas has just begun as days of flooding rains across the heart of U.S. energy production threaten the country's fourth-largest city and leave farmers struggling to save horses, cows and crops. Photographer: Alex Scott/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Badly damaged light planes in their hanger at Rockport Airport after heavy damage when Hurricane Harvey hit Rockport, Texas on August 26, 2017. Hurricane Harvey left a trail of devastation Saturday after the most powerful storm to hit the US mainland in over a decade slammed into Texas, destroying homes, severing power supplies and forcing tens of thousands of residents to flee. / AFP PHOTO / Mark RALSTON (Photo credit should read MARK RALSTON/AFP/Getty Images)
Damage is seen in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey August 26, 2017 in Katy, Texas. Hurricane Harvey stalled over central Texas on Saturday, August 26, 2017, raising fears of 'catastrophic' flooding after the megastorm -- the most powerful to hit the United States since 2005 -- left a deadly trail of devastation along the Gulf Coast. The latest forecasts show that Harvey, now downgraded to tropical storm status, will hover along the shore for the next four or five days, dumping massive amounts of rain. / AFP PHOTO / Brendan Smialowski (Photo credit should read BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)
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"The president will travel to Texas on Tuesday," White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said in a statement. "We are coordinating logistics with state and local officials, and once details are finalized, we will let you know. We continue to keep all of those affected in our thoughts and prayers."

The widespread flooding caused by Harvey in Texas, including in Houston, the fourth most populous U.S. city, is the first test of how Trump, who never previously held political office, responds to a major storm on his watch.

Former President George W. Bush, a fellow Republican, was sharply criticized for his handling of Hurricane Katrina in 2005, the last time a storm of Harvey's magnitude struck the United States. Bush was called insensitive for not initially visiting New Orleans, hard hit by Katrina, and instead releasing a photo of himself looking out a plane window at the damage.

Since the president travels with a large retinue of Secret Service agents and under a rigorous security protocol, most administrations avoid visiting during the height of natural disasters for fear they will pull resources away from rescue and aid attempts.

During a video conference with his Cabinet on Sunday afternoon, Trump "reminded everyone that search and rescue efforts will transition to mass care, restoring power, providing life-sustaining necessities for the population that sheltered in place, and economic recovery," according to a White House statement.

A year ago, Trump, then the Republican presidential nominee, and his running mate, Mike Pence, toured the scenes of major flooding in Louisiana and criticized Democratic President Barack Obama for vacationing at Martha's Vineyard in Massachusetts during the storm.

Trump spent Saturday and part of Sunday at the Camp David presidential retreat in Maryland where he tweeted frequently about Harvey and other issues.

Texas Governor Greg Abbott told a news conference on Sunday that coordination with the Federal Emergency Management Agency and its new director, Brock Long, was going smoothly.

Long said Harvey's effects would last for years.

"This disaster is going to be a landmark event," Long told CNN on Sunday. "We're setting up and gearing up for the next couple of years."

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