A Presidential Study in Contrast: Hurricane Edition
Yesterday, Donald Trump visited Hurricane ravaged Corpus Christi not, it seems, to console the people of Texas, but to express admiration for a Hurricane: “Historic.” “Biggest ever.” “Epic,” he said of Harvey, as though it were a major television event rather than a natural disaster responsible for billions of dollars in damage and the loss of human life. For Donald Trump, it was a photo opp. An opportunity to stroke his own ego. A chance to look like Presidents do in the movies. It wasn’t about consoling anyone.
Ahead of the Hurricane, Trump tweeted “HISTORIC rainfall in Houston, and all over Texas. Floods are unprecedented, and more rain coming. Spirit of the people is incredible. Thanks!” Who was he thanking? Was he thanking a Hurricane for giving him this opportunity to show off? To draw attention away from Charlottesville or the Russian probe?
He sure as hell didn’t go to Texas to express empathy, not with comments like this: “[Harvey] sounds like such an innocent name, Ben, right, but it’s not innocent.”
“What a crowd, what a turnout,” he told an “impromptu” gathering of supporters who just happened to know to crowd around in front of a Corpus Christi fire station. He did not express sympathy for the lost lives (a police officer drowned in his car in Houston around the same time Trump was marveling at his own crowds). He did not encourage donations; this billionaire, to the best of our knowledge, did not make any contributions of his own. He did not personally go out and be with the people of Texas.
Here he is, with a crowd kept at a distance behind a rope.
That’s our President, folks. In the grand scheme, this is not a huge deal. It’s symbolic. He didn’t curry favor with white supremacists here. He didn’t threaten to nuke North Korea. He didn’t express admiration for Vladimir Putin. He was just his regular-old self-aggrandizing self. In some ways, this was a win for Donald Trump.
Meanwhile, here’s President Obama after Hurricane Sandy.
It is insane how little we appreciated this man when he was our President. Insane. If we had known, y’all: I would have savored every moment.
I just wish Obama had been as attentive during Hurricane Katrina … oh wait!