Tuesday, August 29, 2017

What did Donald Trump do today?

He traveled to Texas during an unfolding natural disaster, and said the following things during an appearance in Corpus Christi:

"What a crowd, what a turnout!"

Trump was ostensibly in Texas to observe the destruction and offer help, rather than attract crowds, but as crowd-size bragging is a staple of his improvised rally speeches, he may not have known what else to say. The people watching Trump speak from the vicinity of two parked fire trucks numbered in the hundreds. Because it was not a campaign stop and non-supporters could not be screened out, Trump had the highly unusual experience (for him) of actually seeing protestors as he spoke.

"We are going to get you back and operating immediately." 

The only thing that will happen immediately is that flooding in the affected areas will get worse as the remnants of Harvey continue to add water to overflowing rivers and reservoirs. As every official at every level other than Trump has noted, recovery will be measured on the scale of years.

"@foxandfriends We are not looking to fill all of those positions. Don't need many of them - reduce size of government. @IngrahamAngle"

Trump tweeted this from Air Force One en route to Texas, responding to rare criticism aired on his favorite cable news show about his failure to staff many of the agencies now responding to Hurricane Harvey. Once on the ground and in front of actual Texans, Trump switched to effusive praise of all those involved in the recovery effort and made no further suggestion that on-site officials and government emergency managers were unnecessary.

Who cares?

  • A president who inserts himself into disaster relief efforts for purely political purposes disgraces his office, or so Trump himself once believed.
  • The middle of an ongoing natural disaster is not a good time or place to bottle up emergency vehicles and brag about how presidents can draw crowds.
  • It is wrong to tell obvious lies for political purposes.
  • A president who says one thing at 8:26 A.M. from inside Air Force One, and then the opposite in front of a crowd a few hours later, is lying at least once.