Hurricane Florence presents test for FEMA and Trump after the tough lessons of last year

Hurricane Florence presents test for FEMA and Trump after the tough lessons of last year

The timing could not be more momentous for the president and his party. With impending disputes and control over the House and the Senate, Mr. Trump's approval rates have dropped to 36 percent, according to the latest CNN poll, which poses a potential threat to Republican candidates.

On Wednesday, the Department of Homeland Security offered a carefully worded statement suggesting that Trump's top priority, the enforcement of immigration laws, in the affected areas during the storm, should be suspended or reversed.

"Our highest priority remains the preservation of life and safety," said the department on a question about their policies. "In the light of these circumstances, there will be no forced migration initiatives in connection with evacuations or safeguards related to Florence except in the case of a serious threat to public safety."

The Democrats also wanted to hold a political stance and criticize the Trump administration for distributing $ 10 million of FEMA accounts to immigration and customs officials to arrest and dispose of illegal immigrants, even though the department said that they were Funds would never be available.

Natural disasters are always a high priority for the President, drawing the public's attention to a core government function that they ignore unless their lives or property are at risk. And presidents have learned it the hard way – as George W. Bush said in 2005 after hurricane Katrina when he criticized his FEMA director Michael Brown: "Brownie, you're doing a job" – to go on minimum credit and praise.

"It's Trump's way of talking about exaggerations -" Great for us, we're incredible "- and we saw how George W. Bush failed, and made people feel that this was a president, not him Understand what happened to the soil and in their lives, "said Douglas Brinkley, a presidential historian whose book, The Great Deluge, chronicled the devastation of Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath.

"There is no way the government will ever look good after a natural disaster, because there will always be a feeling that more could be done," Brinkley said. "They do not want to turn the disaster into a political victory, but that's Trump's instinct for everything."

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