WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump told Sen. Chuck Grassley that he got his “message loud and clear” as he kept his tweets Saturday morning focused on Hurricane Harvey, which was rocking Texas with high winds, heavy rain and flood surges.
Trump is facing his first major test of a natural disaster as president, a task that President George W. Bush mishandled with inadequate staff and coordination with Louisiana officials during Hurricane Katrina’s devastation of New Orleans in 2005.
Grassley, a long-serving Republican senator from Iowa, nudged Trump Friday morning after the president posted a string of tweets reacting to news stories, defending his accomplishments in office and taking a poke at a Republican senator.
“@realDonaldTrump #hurricane keep on top of hurricane Harvey don’t mke same mistake Pres Bush made w Katrina,” Grassley tweeted Friday.
Trump gave the shoutout to Grassley in two pre-dawn tweets Saturday from Camp David, in Maryland, where he went on Friday afternoon to spend the weekend.
“@ChuckGrassley — got your message loud and clear. We have fantastic people on the ground, got there long before #Harvey. So far, so good!” Trump tweeted. “Closely monitoring #HurricaneHarvey from Camp David. We are leaving nothing to chance. City, State and Federal Govs, working great together.”
Bush failed after Katrina hit by not responding quickly or visibly enough, for not having a plan and by inadequate communication with local officials, among other problems, assessments later said.
President Barack Obama learned from Bush’s experience when Superstorm Sandy lashed Long Island and the Northeast by his visible and quick response though the federal emergency system still lagged and posed problems.
Trump so far has attempted to build on those experiences. He approved a federal disaster declaration for Texas on Friday, before the then hurricane hit, and said he would visit the state next week.
The White House said Saturday the president had been updated repeatedly and met with senior aides to ensure they will support Texas and Louisiana during heavy rains and flooding in the days ahead.