President Trump will visit South Texas on Tuesday in the wake of Hurricane Harvey, a trip that will come only a few days after the storm made landfall and with continued rain in the forecast for the region.
The president spent the weekend at Camp David, just 45 minutes north of Washington, monitoring the storm, which arrived along the Gulf Coast Friday evening, bringing with it record-shattering rainfall and flooding.
The White House has not yet finalized the specific cities he plans to visit on his trip, a senior White House official said Monday, speaking on the condition of anonymity because the trip has not been publicly announced.
Speaking briefly to reporters during an Oval Office meeting with Finnish President Sauli Niinistö, Trump said that in addition to his Tuesday trip to Texas, he was considering returning to the hard-hit state again on Saturday, and also weighing a trip to Louisiana on Saturday, depending on the storm.
And on Fox News Monday morning, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) said he expected Trump to visit either Corpus Christi, right on the Gulf Coast, or San Antonio.
“It’s my understanding he will not be coming to the Houston area, which is the most still danger-prone area,” Abbott said. “Instead it will be closer to where the hurricane came across shore, which is closer to the Corpus Christi or San Antonio area.”
The president’s visit, however, is not without its own possible political peril, especially because rain may still be falling when he heads to Texas. Former president George W. Bush praised his FEMA chief early on after Hurricane Katrina, lauding him for doing a “heck of a job” — a quote that came back to haunt him as his administration was widely perceived to have bungled the relief effort.
Alyssa Mastromonaco, who served as White House deputy chief of staff for operations under former president Barack Obama, offered Trump what she dubbed a “word of advice” in a tweet Monday: “@realDonaldTrump shouldn't go to Texas Tue. Event is still happening in real time-no one will criticize 4 pushing a few days,” she wrote.
Abbott said he will be in South Texas on Monday with Federal Emergency Management Agency Administrator Brock Long, surveying the damage.
Trump appears to be closely following Hurricane Harvey developments, repeatedly taking to Twitter to comment on both the magnitude of the storm (“HISTORIC rainfall in Houston”) and the administration preparedness (“We have an all out effort going, and going well!”).
John Wagner contributed to this report.