President Donald Trump engaged in Harvey response



President Donald Trump appears to be handling the federal response to Hurricane Harvey actively and aggressively so far, regularly releasing updates on how closely he is supervising the situation and bragging about how well the rescue and relief efforts are going.

Trump plans to visit a site of storm devastation in Texas on Tuesday, White House officials announced. The president pledged on Twitter that his personal involvement will be intense, writing, "The focus must be life and safety."

Up to this point, there have been no reports of massive federal government failures and no extensive criticism of Trump's performance. But the impact of the storm is growing and in many ways the problems are just beginning, with five people reported dead so far, thousands stranded and millions affected by torrential rain and catastrophic flooding.

30 PHOTOS
Hurricane Harvey
See Gallery
Hurricane Harvey
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)
HIDE CAPTION
SHOW CAPTION
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE

The stakes for Trump are high. Not only are storm victims relying on the government for help, but the country and the news media are scrutinizing Trump as a crisis manager as never before. This is the first major natural disaster of his presidency.

Trump appears to understand how much is riding on his performance. He is doing his best to reassure the country that he is an effective, hands-on leader able to handle this crisis.

Trump declared Texas a disaster area late Friday, freeing federal resources to help deal with the storm. White House officials have been regularly releasing updates and photos designed to show that Trump is meeting regularly with aides on what to do next, coordinating with the appropriate governors and lower levels of government, and prodding the federal government to help those in need as aggressively as possible.

During a visit last weekend to the presidential retreat at Camp David, Maryland, Trump tweeted praise for first responders such as firefighters and medical personnel. "Great coordination between agencies at all levels of government," Trump wrote on Twitter Sunday. "Continuing rains and flash floods are being dealt with. Thousands rescued." Trump also tweeted, "Many people are now saying that this is the worst storm/hurricane they have ever seen. Good news is that we have great talent on the ground."

He said, "Wow - Now experts are calling #Harvey a once in 500 year flood! We have an all out effort going, and going well!"

On Saturday, Trump tweeted, "Wonderful coordination between Federal, State and Local Governments in the Great State of Texas--TEAMWORK! Record setting rainfall."

18 PHOTOS
Trump tweets about Hurricane Harvey
See Gallery
Trump tweets about Hurricane Harvey
I have spoken w/ @GovAbbott of Texas and @LouisianaGov Edwards. Closely monitoring #HurricaneHarvey developments & here to assist as needed.
Received a #HurricaneHarvey briefing this morning from Acting @DHSgov Secretary Elaine Duke, @FEMA_Brock,… https://t.co/VGdeIdgLbO
I encourage everyone in the path of #HurricaneHarvey to heed the advice & orders of their local and state officials. https://t.co/N6uEWCZUrv
Just arrived at Camp David where I am closely watching the path and doings of Hurricane Harvey, as it strengthens to a Category 3. BE SAFE!
Just arrived at Camp David, where I am monitoring the path and doings of Hurricane Harvey (as it strengthens to a Class 3). 125 MPH winds!
Storm turned Hurricane is getting much bigger and more powerful than projected. Federal Government is on site and ready to respond. Be safe!
At the request of the Governor of Texas, I have signed the Disaster Proclamation, which unleashes the full force of government help!
You are doing a great job - the world is watching! Be safe. https://t.co/PJLdxy3hD9
.@ChuckGrassley - got your message loud and clear. We have fantastic people on the ground, got there long before #Harvey. So far, so good!
Closely monitoring #HurricaneHarvey from Camp David. We are leaving nothing to chance. City, State and Federal Govs. working great together!
Wonderful coordination between Federal, State and Local Governments in the Great State of Texas - TEAMWORK! Record setting rainfall.
Great coordination between agencies at all levels of government. Continuing rains and flash floods are being dealt with. Thousands rescued.
Many people are now saying that this is the worst storm/hurricane they have ever seen. Good news is that we have great talent on the ground.
I will be going to Texas as soon as that trip can be made without causing disruption. The focus must be life and safety.
Wow - Now experts are calling #Harvey a once in 500 year flood! We have an all out effort going, and going well!
Going to a Cabinet Meeting (tele-conference) at 11:00 A.M. on #Harvey. Even experts have said they've never seen one like this!
HISTORIC rainfall in Houston, and all over Texas. Floods are unprecedented, and more rain coming. Spirit of the people is incredible.Thanks!
HIDE CAPTION
SHOW CAPTION
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE

Trump appears to be attempting to avoid the specific problems that President George W. Bush faced in presiding over what turned out to be a weak government response to Hurricane Katrina when it struck the Gulf Coast in August 2005. Bush was harshly criticized for the lapses, and his performance severely damaged Bush's reputation as a crisis manager.

Among the criticisms were that Bush was too far removed from the crisis and not paying enough attention while he was vacationing at his Texas ranch; that the federal, state and local responses to Hurricane Katrina were chaotic and ineffective, and that no one took charge and corrected the initial problems.

Today, Trump is portraying himself as concerned, engaged and insisting on fast action to deal with Hurricane Harvey.

Copyright 2017 U.S. News & World Report

Read Full Story

Sign up for Breaking News by AOL to get the latest breaking news alerts and updates delivered straight to your inbox.

Subscribe to our other newsletters

Emails may offer personalized content or ads. Learn more. You may unsubscribe any time.