Saturday, August 31, 2019

What did Donald Trump do today?

He monitored the Hurricane Dorian situation as closely as it is possible to from a golf course.

Trump was supposed to be in Poland today, but with Hurricane Dorian threatening to pummel the key swing state of Florida, he canceled the trip on Thursday. Supposedly, he decided to stay in the United States so that he could "ensure that all resources of the federal government are focused on the arriving storm."

But in reality, as he does almost every weekend, Trump spent the day at his luxury golf resort. Also per his usual practice, he tried to hide that fact from the press.

In fairness to Trump, there's virtually nothing for him to do before a natural disaster, other than making sure that emergency services are fully funded and that FEMA has a working leadership—although that doesn't explain his canceled trip to Poland. There's also relatively little non-political work for a president to do after a hurricane strikes, as Trump himself found when he decided to "help" Puerto Rico with a visit after the devastating Hurricane Maria in 2017.

Trump did find time before golfing to tweet encouraging messages to places like "our great South Carolina," which is now in the projected path of the hurricane. Today's tweets had a slightly different tone than the ones he aimed at Puerto Rico several days ago, as the very same hurricane threatened it:

Why does this matter?

  • It's the president's job to help all Americans recover from natural disasters, not just the ones who live in places that are politically important to him.
  • One way for a president to "ensure that all the resources of the federal government" are directed properly is to go to work.