In Brief

Donald Trump faces Hurricane Harvey test

As the US President flies into Texas, the spectre of Bush's 2005 New Orleans debacle follows

President Donald Trump lands in Texas today as deadly flood waters submerge Houston and threaten neighboring Louisiana, where emotions are still raw over New Orleans' deadly 2005 Katrina disaster

"The stakes could be exceedingly high," the New York Times reports. "Few events test the effectiveness of an administration - or bear as many political risks - like a major natural disaster." 

Trump's ability to manage a large-scale disaster has already been questioned.

"On Friday night, when a reporter asked him for a message for Texas, he replied, 'Good luck to everybody.' Which certainly does not inspire much confidence in his ability to take this seriously," Vox reports.  

Four days later, the state is at the epicentre of one of the world's most costly natural disasters, with damage estimated at between $30bn and $100bn (£23bn and £77bn), Bloomberg reports.

Later today, the President will survey the damage, get a briefing on on disaster efforts and visit a local fire station. But is it all too much, too soon? "By traveling to the region just days after Harvey made landfall, the president raised questions among his critics on whether his presence would complicate efforts by emergency responders to help Texans still in need," reports The Associated Press

In a best-case scenario, however, Trump may avoid a major blunder by being seen as a "hands-on" leader - unlike George W. Bush during the 2005 Hurricane Katrina disaster, in which more than 1,200 people died.

"He is, at the very least, avoiding the symbolic mistake of George W. Bush in flying over New Orleans after Katrina," says Fox News commentator Howard Kurtz. "Bush later admitted this was a 'huge mistake' that made him look 'detached and uncaring'."

The former president was also lampooned for praising Michael Brown, head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, during a tour of Katrina destruction in 2005. "Brownie, you're doing a heck of a job," Bush said.

Survivors, thousands of whom had no food or water in New Orleans, disagreed.

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