President Joe Biden spoke to Texas Governor Greg Abbott (right) on Thursday about the winter storm that plagued the state. He “conveyed his support to the people of Texas,” “reiterated that the federal government will continue to work hand in hand” with state and local authorities, and pledged any additional federal disaster support.
On Friday, Biden said he plans to visit Texas next week, as long as he can do so without complicating relief efforts.
“I don’t wanna be a burden. When the president lands in a city in America, he has a long tail, ”he said.
Nothing Biden did was remarkable. It’s standard operating procedure for presidents to support states in natural disasters and help as much as possible – without getting in the way.
But it’s also completely opposed to the way President Donald Trump has done things.
However, many politicians mess things up, turning natural disasters into man-made disasters. President George W. Bush’s administration became famous for its incompetence and lack of action after Hurricane Katrina in August 2005. More than 1,800 people have died.
Trump has taken it to a new level. He used catastrophes for revenge and blackmail politicians who did not properly appreciate his greatness. And unable to empathize with the victims, Trump primarily viewed these situations as ways to promote himself.
Last year, Trump targeted Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf (D) over his coronavirus restrictions, implying he could refuse federal aid – such as disaster relief – in retaliation .
“I’ll remember that, Tom. I’ll remember that, Tom, ”Trump said. He then raised his hand to his ear, like a telephone, and added: “Hello, Mr. President, this is Governor Wolf. I need help. I need help.’ You know what, these people are bad.
He also blamed California for the raging wildfires last summer, again saying he could withhold federal aid because officials weren’t doing what he wanted.
“I said, you have to clean your floors, you have to clean your forests – there are many, many years of broken leaves and trees, and they’re like, so flammable, you touch them and it goes up,” he said. Trump said, adding, “Maybe we’re just going to have to make them pay because they don’t listen to us.
Trump also attempted to distribute coronavirus relief in a similar fashion, threatening in November to suspend vaccines in New York City because the Democratic governor there criticized him.
According to the White House reading of Biden’s call with Abbott, the president never made similar threats. Abbott’s office did not return a request for further comment.
Trump has used natural disasters, especially devastating hurricanes, to promote his brand. About 3,000 people died after Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico in September 2017. Trump nonetheless said it was “one of the best jobs ever.”
The previous month, Hurricane Harvey hit Texas and Louisiana, causing catastrophic flooding and damage. Trump said his goal was for people to reverse his answer in five to ten years “because that’s the way to do it. We want to do it better than ever. “
But Trump also wanted to promote his campaign. He repeatedly wore his own campaign merchandise, which was for sale on his website, to the Harvey events.
His inability to empathize with those in pain was also fully visible. Trump visited Puerto Rico in 2017 and met with victims of Hurricane Maria, telling a couple, “We’re going to help you. Have fun.”
He also threw paper towels at a crowd of survivors, at one point the pool reporter described as the president doing his “best Steph Curry impersonation.”
As with the coronavirus, Trump has rarely, if ever, expressed sympathy for victims of natural disasters.
But Trump also tried to kill the science that made him look bad. In September 2019, Trump falsely tweeted that Hurricane Dorian was heading for Alabama. Rather than admitting the president was wrong, someone in the administration used a marker to map Dorian’s path to make Trump look like he was right.
He further forced his administration to publicly disown Alabama weather officials who disagreed with his baseless claim.
Biden approved the emergency declarations for Texas, Oklahoma and Louisiana.
“Jill and I keep Texas, Oklahoma and other affected states in our prayers,” he tweeted Thursday. “I have declared a state of emergency, authorized FEMA to provide generators and supplies, and am ready to respond to additional demands. Please follow the instructions of local authorities and stay safe. “
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