Donald Trump arrived in Texas, gave a briefing at a fire station, and told Texans, “This is a really special place and a special state.”
So far, so relatively normal. Straight afterwards, however, several hundred Trump supporters arrived and the US president proceeded to give them a speech that seemed curiously indifferent to the plight of the tens of thousands of people made homeless by Hurricane Harvey, which has caused record-breaking rain and catastrophic flooding.
Presidential events are often reported on by one journalist picked from among the White House correspondents, whose “pool report” is then shared among the rest of the press corps. Normally, language in pool reports is brisk, factual, and dispassionate. For this one the pool reporter happened to be from a Texas paper, the Dallas Morning News, and what they heard was apparently enough to prompt a remarkable shift from normal pool custom.
After the briefing, Trump did an impromptu rally type speech in front of a few hundred Trump supporters who somehow managed to know exactly where the president was doing the briefing.
He stood on a raised platform of some type. Couldn’t tell if it was a step ladder or not. But he was not on a truck. Spoke into a microphone.
“I love you, you are special, we’re here to take care of you. It’s going well.”
“What a crowd, what a turnout.”
Reporters heard no mention of the dead, dying or displaced Texans and no expression of sympathy for them. The message was services are coming and Texans will be OK.
“Texas can handle anything,” POTUS said.
“We are going to get you back and operating immediately,” he told the crowd (this contradicts the “Long haul” Sen. John Cornyn has publicly discussed and the caveat from FEMA administrator long moments earlier that it’s going to be a slow process).