Editorial

EDITORIAL: Trump’s Two Texas Trips — Do Optics Matter More Than Meaningful Assistance?

The citizens of Houston know the meaning of pain, despair and hopelessness. Hundreds of thousands have lost their homes and all of their possessions — the majority of whom must face the sum of their losses without the benefit of flood insurance whose dollars would go far in helping them pick up the pieces and rebuild their lives. Many remain homeless, depending on the goodwill of others to provide the essentials of food, shelter, clothing and medicine. Some families have yet to be reunited — others have experienced and fallen victim to the swift hand of death.

In such natural disasters in the U.S., the president traditionally visits victims, views the carnage, and presents himself as both being compassionate and in control — able to help those in need in ways no other American official can do.

For our current president, Mr. Trump, it’s taken two visits to Texas to get his “act” down. But we aren’t so sure that either visit gave real hope to the citizens of the Lone Star State.

The first junket, with stops in the more safely ensconced cities of Corpus Christi and Austin where he met with recovery and elected officials while waving to a crowd of onlookers, yielded very little for a ravaged Texas. As one Houston citizen said during a CNN interview, “Man, he just forgot about us.”

Perhaps in efforts to correct his faux pas, Trump returned a few days later, this time including on his scheduled stops a makeshift shelter and a church both in Houston where he handed out prepared meals, shook hands and posed for selfies with children.

But what one man still reeling from the loss of his home, construction job, tools and car wanted to know was, “What is Trump going to do?” That’s the question on almost everyone’s mind as Congress prepares to vote on a multi-billion-dollar relief bill this week.

We’re curious to know which of his two trips represents the real Donald Trump? The wave-from-afar rhetorician who somehow forgot to visit any victims (trip #1) or the optics-obsessed former TV personality (trip #2) who awkwardly hugged distraught Houstonians while remaining focused on “the show” and even saying, “The cameras are blazing.”

As the saying goes, “Inquiring minds want to know.” Or do we even care?

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