An open question heading into the Trump administration was: What level of competence would the president bring to a seemingly nonpolitical crisis, like a natural disaster? With the approach of Hurricane Harvey, now a Category 3 monster and the first major hurricane to hit the U.S. in 12 years, we’re about to find out. So far, Trump has confined his comments about the storm to a typically tone-deaf “Good luck, everybody!” and some anodyne (a.k.a. staff-written) tweets:
But one hint of true Trumpian strangeness arrived via presidential apparatchik Tom Bossert, a Homeland Security adviser, who took some questions from the press on Friday afternoon. During an otherwise sober-minded performance, Bossert was asked what Trump must do to project strong leadership as Harvey approached.
Bossert replied, “This is right up President Trump’s alley. Not only has he showed leadership here, but his entire focus has been on making America great again. He is focused on the Americans who voted him into office, he’s focused on the Americans who didn’t vote him into office.”
It was a bit odd to hint that the hurricane could be a political opportunity for the president. The second part of Bossert’s comments was even stranger, though; it seemed to imply that Americans who didn’t vote for Trump should feel grateful that he’d deign to help protect them from catastrophic flooding. If such a sentiment was meant to be consoling, it didn’t exactly hit the mark. Instead, it neatly encapsulated Trump’s Manichaean view of the world, in which there are people who supported him — the good people who deserve succor in times of need — and everyone else.