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Thorner & Ingold: Grading Trump in the wake of Houston’s Harvey




By Nancy Thorner and Ed Ingold - 

When you consider all the devastation that Hurricane Harvey left in its wake, it’s hard to believe that Harvey isn’t a registered Democrat.  For one thing, consider the fact that it hit Texas, one of the few reliably conservative states in the Union.

Next, when you look at the mess Harvey left behind, it closely resembles what we’ve seen in the aftermath of events involving Occupy Wall Street, Black Lives Matter, Obama’s Inauguration Day celebration and the Never-Trump demonstration that left our nation's capital looking like it had been fire-bombed last January 20th.

Two Different Storms 

As thousands remained stranded in Houston on August 29, 2017, amid rising waters caused by Hurricane Harvey, residents of Louisiana were reminded of its 12th Anniversary when on the same date in 2005 they were dealing with a similar situation caused by Hurricane Katrina that killed over 1,800 and caused over $100 billion in damage.

Even so, Harvey and Hurricane Katrina represent two very different storms.  Forecasters and the environmentalists on the Left, not unexpectedly, have started trying to compare the floods to previous extreme weather events, even blaming Global Warming for Hurricane Harvey.  

As expressed by Roger Pielke Jr., a professor at the University of Colorado Center for Science & Technology Policy Research and a specialist in extreme weather: 

There is no reason to be debating Harvey and climate change in the context of an unfolding disaster, other than political opportunism and attention seeking.

For many years, those seeking to justify carbon restrictions argued that hurricanes had become more common and intense. That hasn’t happened. Scientific assessments, including those of the UN IPCC and the U.S. government’s latest National Climate Assessment, indicate no long-term increases in the frequency or strength of hurricanes in the U.S.

While the scope and scale of the flooding disaster are similar when you compare Harvey and Katrina within Houston city limits, the reason behind the flood are very different. The catastrophic flooding associated with Harvey was caused by extreme rainfall slowly filling up Houston and nearby parts of southeastern Texas with trillions of gallons of rain. 

Katrina's devastating floods, on the other hand, were caused by storm surge as the hurricane came up the coast, pushing water into New Orleans. That storm surge caused aging levees to break, allowing water usually held at bay to pour into the city all at once. The rapid flooding trapped people who didn't have the means or were unwilling to evacuate prior to the storm, sometimes for days before rescuers could make their way to help.  As such Katrina is a cultural touchstone that calls to mind government incompetence and the heroism of people trapped in an impossible, deadly situation.

Though Katrina is currently the costliest-ever hurricane, it is predicted that Harvey’s damage will crush that record.  Estimated to exceed $190 billion, Harvey far surpasses Katrina's $100 billion and Sandy's 60 billion in damages.

Trump's Response to Harvey

The Trump administration made sure there were 250,000 meals prepositioned on location, 77,000 liters of water, and thousands of cots and bedding even before Harvey made landfall. FEMA was on the spot, along with Homeland Security and HUD.  As we write, Trump is asking Congress for $14.1B in relief funding, starting with a $7B down payment. 30,000 National Guard were called up, as well as Coast Guard personnel and helicopters. There were at least 30 helicopters used for rescue. Local law enforcement was on the job, and one officer lost his life rushing to duty.

What credit did Trump get from the mainstream press? He visited but didn’t hug anyone. Melania wore high heels boarding Air Force One (but unreported, changed to sneakers and casual clothes on the way).

Compare this to Katrina in 2005, where the Democratic governor of Louisiana and the Mayor of New Orleans refused to activate the National Guard or allow US Military assistance. About half of the New Orleans police department went AWOL, and the other half participated in looting homes and apartments. 10 years later, the city has still not been completely restored.  As is said about New Orleans, “Half is under water, and the other half under indictment.”

Hypocrisy is evident in the way presidents of opposite parties are treated when disaster strikes.

The presidency of George W. Bush was basically declared over after Bush waited two days to cut a vacation short to return to the White House to directly engage in relief strategy around hurricane-ravaged Katrina. On Day 3, he would visit the Gulf Coast to survey the damage.  And where was Obama during Hurricane Sandy in 2012, unofficially referred to as "Superstorm Sandy"?  He was golfing on St. Martha’s Vineyard. 

On Friday, September 4, 2017, Greg Gutfeld, co-host of “The Five,” quashed a liberal narrative that he believes led leftists to attack President Donald Trump’s handling of Hurricane Harvey. "Rather than zeroing in on the victims’ humanity," Gutfeld said, "they are blaming Trump for this or for that. They’re trying to find a narrative that matches their grim worldview because Harvey has destroyed their worldview.”

The highlight of the 24/7 coverage of the natural disaster was when a congressman from Houston said: “We Texans know how to prepare for disasters.  We stock up on food, water and ammunition.”

Texans, for the most part a hardy, self-reliant, group of Americans, are wise enough to know that food and water, like freedom and liberty, are just words unless you’re prepared to protect them from the thugs who’d try to take them away from you.


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