Donald Trump has been playing storm politics to the hilt (and failing) this weekend, as Hurricane Harvey batters Texas while Trump and his White House scramble to make him look busy. If recent history is any indication, we can look forward to even more clumsy PR from Trump and his team.
In among his off-topic tweets Sunday morning, Trump announced that he’ll be traveling to Texas as soon as he can, but apparently not too soon:
As with everything Trump says and does, there’s a perfect hypocritical moment for that. Almost exactly a year ago, Trump was slamming then-President Barack Obama for not rushing to flood-ravaged Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and throwing in a golf wisecrack for good measure:
TRUMP: The president said he doesn’t want to go, he’s trying to get out of a golf game.
STATE REP. TONY PERKINS: Well, I heard he was trying to stay under par while we’re underwater.
TRUMP: He’ll never be under par.
Trump made that trip despite the state’s governor asking both Trump and Obama to stay away, calling such a visit a disruptive “photo-op.” Trump’s then-campaign manager Kellyanne Conway, however, assured the media that the trip would be “nonpolitical,” but just a way for Trump to look “presidential,” and that there would be no cameras allowed:
“All the people, David, who have been saying, ‘Hey, let’s get Trump to pivot, let’s get him to be more presidential,’ that is presidential. It’s also presidential today to have him and Gov. Pence going to Louisiana, in a decidedly nonpolitical event, no press allowed, going to help people on the ground who are in need.”
What a shock it was, then, to see cameras show up for Trump’s big volunteer effort, during which he spent 49 seconds unloading a truck, not including the odd pause to pose for the cameras that weren’t allowed to be there:
I don’t think Trump and his team really understand the concept of a photo-op. If you’re doing something mainly for the benefit of cameras, you’re still supposed to actually do that thing.
One year later, Trump doesn’t seem to have learned anything from that experience, so who knows what’s in store when he finally makes it to Texas. Maybe he can interest the locals in some Trump bottled water.