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YOU CAN TELL HE’S DONE A GOOD JOB BY HOW LITTLE THE PRESS IS TALKING ABOUT IT: Faced with Harvey and Irma devastation, Trump finds his footing.

A summer filled with few high notes for the Trump administration is ending on the lowest note yet: Thousands of Americans remain displaced from their homes or without power in the wake of back-to-back hurricanes that pummeled two of the top four most populated U.S. states.

But amid the destruction left behind by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, some say President Trump has flourished.

Following the president’s return to Washington after his visit to Florida, where he and the first lady passed out hoagie sandwiches to families still grappling with the damage to their neighborhoods and homes, a source close to the president told the Washington Examiner that Trump “looked like the leader Americans have been wanting to see.”

“And I don’t mean to suggest he was faking it or playing to his crowd,” the source said, adding that Trump seemed “genuinely emotional” about the devastation in a state he carried last November and where he spent so much of his time during the earliest months of his presidency.

“I know he enjoyed being down there and wants to go back,” the source said.

Thursday’s trip to Fort Myers and Naples, Fla., was markedly different from the president’s visit to Corpus Christi, Texas, last month, where he described Harvey as “murderous” and “epic” and told first responders “nobody has ever seen this much water.” . . .

But by the time Trump visited Florida, which came days after he returned to Texas a second time, the locals were gushing about his warmness and eagerness to help.

“They’re everything I thought they would be,” a woman in Naples told the New York Times after Trump pet her Chihuahua and complimented her “Bikers for Trump” t-shirt.

Florida Gov. Rick Scott had praised Trump days before his arrival, telling reporters that the president “has given me everything I’ve asked for.”

Trump rapidly stepped up to the task of coordinating with local and state officials before, during and after both hurricanes made landfall, and later ensured they had the resources necessary to carry out search-and-rescue missions and provide shelter for thousands of evacuees.

And the latest presidential approval ratings seem to reflect the mostly positive responses Trump has drawn while navigating two natural disasters.

Flashback: Katrina On The Hudson.

HUH. FIRST HE WAS HITLER, THEN HE WAS INCOMPETENT, NOW THIS: Trump administration earns cautious praise for early response to hurricanes. “Facing off against a pair of historic storms — first Harvey in Texas and Louisiana, then Hurricane Irma through the U.S. Virgin Islands and Florida — Trump’s administration has earned bipartisan praise for coordinating the federal response with state and local officials, avoiding the type of catastrophe that marked the Bush administration’s response to Katrina, a storm that killed more than 1,800 people.”

And don’t forget Obama’s botching of Sandy, “Katrina on the Hudson.”

KATRINA ON THE HUDSON: The real scandal of New York City’s Sandy recovery.

KATRINA ON THE HUDSON: The horror stories of New Jersey’s Sandy relief program.

KATRINA ON THE HUDSON: Hurricane Sandy Recovery Program in New York City Was Mired by Its Design.

The night Hurricane Sandy struck, Jayme and John Galimi swam out the front door of their home in Broad Channel, Queens, into the rising waters of Jamaica Bay with their five children, the youngest clinging to his father’s back.

Almost two years later, all seven remain jammed into a three-bedroom rental. Their debt is mounting. They applied to a federally funded New York City program for help rebuilding, but that devolved into an unending loop of lost documents, aborted meetings and frustrating exchanges with temporary workers handling their application.

A low point came in January, when the couple arrived for an appointment at the intake center to hear what construction work would be covered. But they were met by blank looks.

“Nobody knew why we were there,” Ms. Galimi said. “Again.”

So it’s basically the approach to disaster recovery.

KATRINA ON THE HUDSON: Displaced by Hurricane Sandy and Living in Limbo, Instead of at Home.

KATRINA ON THE HUDSON: Bloomberg Flees Rockaway St. Patrick’s Parade After Locals Boo Him.

KATRINA ON THE HUDSON: Contra Paul Krugman, Sandy isn’t a Democratic success story.

Six days after Katrina slammed into the Gulf Coast, President Bush’s presidency had been declared a failure and a disgrace. It was all FEMA’s fault, we were given to understand, and, by extension, Bush’s fault. It wasn’t the incompetence of local and state officials, or the levee collapse (a failure, by the way, that impartial observers lay at the feet of another government agency going back years, the Army Corps of Engineers). No, within a few days of the storm’s impact, Bush was an enemy of the people.

Six days after Sandy hit the East Coast, most of the press had utterly lost interest in the human toll, though thousands of people went without food, water, gasoline, or electricity for the better part of two weeks. The Washington Times reported two weeks after Sandy, “Bodies are still being recovered in Staten Island. Chaos reigns in the streets of the outer boroughs. Residents have taken up arms — baseball bats, machetes, shotguns — as crime and looting soar.”

When New York senator Chuck Schumer visited Staten Island four days after the storm hit, a desperate constituent begged him, “Where is the government? We need gasoline! We’re gonna die. We’re gonna freeze.”

Not the narrative. One thing the press learned in Katrina was that if they stuck to the same storyline in unison, even if it was demonstrably false, they could move the needle.


FEMA is still picking up the pieces from Hurricane Sandy more than a month after the storm hit New York City. Although most of the city has returned to normal, federal disaster employees continue to find distressed people, often the elderly and disabled, trapped in apartments in the farthest corners of the city. Federal and city authorities are now assessing what exactly went wrong. Much of the blame thus far lies with the city Housing Authority, which is charged with managing city-owned housing and preparing for exactly this sort of catastrophe.

A new feature in the New York Times explores just how unprepared and ineffective the Housing Authority was in tackling the largest disaster the city has seen since 9/11. . . . The article compiles an overwhelming list of failures: signs of deep incompetence, political game-playing and multilayer bureaucratic failure on the part of the Housing Authority. Faced with a serious crisis, the agency failed miserably in doing its most basic job—not so much because of a lack of money as because of slothful management and an inefficient, ossified bureaucratic culture. The Housing Authority after Sandy did exactly what bureaucracies usually do: it covered its rear, staged heartwarming photos for the press, and shamefully neglected the poor and the helpless it was supposed to serve. In other words, it behaved much like a failing public school, or any other blue model institution out of its depth and focused mostly on preserving its routine as the real world crumbles around it.

Disgraceful. But hardly surprising.


KATRINA ON THE HUDSON: Angry New Yorkers say Obama pledge to cut red tape ignored by FEMA. “Some 1,000 people, many left homeless by the Oct. 29 storm, attended the meeting at Staten Island’s New Dorp High School. They were initially scheduled to submit written questions that would be picked and answered at random, but the session turned into an angry shouting match where residents booed FEMA officials and accused them of lying.”

Takeaway quote: “FEMA ain’t doing nothing.” This would be getting more, and different, coverage if we had a Republican in the White House.

KATRINA ON THE HUDSON: 16 Days Without Power In Manhattan High-Rise; Stench of Rotten Eggs.

Also: FEMA Sold Off Emergency Housing As Sandy Approached. “Federal officials sold hundreds of emergency trailers for disaster victims at fire-sale prices in the months before Hurricane Sandy churned toward the United States, The Washington Examiner has learned. Now, with thousands of families left homeless in New York and New Jersey by the hurricane, those same federal officials are poised to spend more taxpayer dollars to buy brand-new trailers.”

KATRINA ON THE HUDSON: Tumblr mocks media for obsessing over Petraeus scandal while ignoring Hurricane crisis.

Here’s the blog.

KATRINA ON THE HUDSON EAST RIVER: Coney Island: Poor, Black, and Still In The Dark.

UPDATE: President Obama To Visit Storm-Damaged Staten Island.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Staten Islanders offer to school FEMA after Sandy’s wrath.

“There’s no leadership here, nobody knows what’s going on,” said Christopher Janusis, a Staten Island resident, whose house and neighborhood were badly hit by Sandy. . . .

For Janusis and thousands of other Staten Islanders whose lives were so suddenly changed by Sandy, there are many reasons to complain. But rather than do that, and rather than wait for government help, the residents took matters into their own hands: They organized a volunteer-driven relief effort that could be an example for FEMA and other aid agencies might do well to study.

Someone should really write a book on this kind of phenomenon.

KATRINA ON THE HUDSON: After Sandy: The Long Road Ahead: Some still without power after two weeks in NY and NJ.

KATRINA ON THE HUDSON: Mary Katharine Ham rounds up more on FEMA’s failures.

KATRINA ON THE HUDSON: Andrew Cuomo’s Blame-Deflection Strategy Not Working.

Will Gov. Andrew Cuomo be the first witness to testify under oath in front of his newly appointed Moreland Commission?

And if so, will he be asked: “Governor, why didn’t you live up to your responsibility to fill long-vacant board seats on the Long Island Power Authority immediately after Hurricane Irene demonstrated its incompetence?”

As if. But it sure would be interesting to hear Cuomo thread his way through an answer under pain of perjury.

In recent days, he has come under withering criticism — spurred by an editorial on this page — for what amounts to nonfeasance regarding the LIPA board. Yes, he has been pounding New York’s public utilities black and blue since Sandy receded. Yesterday, he used his executive power to appoint a Moreland Act commission, with broad investigative and subpoena powers, to tighten the screws.

That move certainly serves at least one short-term interest:

It means Cuomo can now deflect all questions — such as why, in 22 months as governor, he never took charge of LIPA — by simply saying: “It’s under investigation.”

Read the whole thing. More background here.


KATRINA ON THE HUDSON EAST RIVER: Occupy Sandy Volunteer Sounds Alarm on ‘Humanitarian Crisis,’ Near-Complete Absence of Government Aid in Coney Island Projects. “Just three hours ago I was speaking with seniors for whom I was the first person they talked to since the storm. . . . People literally have no power, no food, no water, no bathrooms–they’re defecating in buckets. And there is no one to answer to for it.”


KATRINA ON THE HUDSON: Two weeks and no electricity: Brooklyn citizens feel abandoned after Hurricane Sandy.

KATRINA ON THE HUDSON SOUND: Long Islanders: Now two weeks of power woes.

SANDY: Looking more and more like Katrina On The Hudson.

UPDATE: Reader Jeff Levengood writes: “They told me if I voted for Mitt Romney I’d live in a country where people were left to fend for themselves, and they were right.”

KATRINA ON THE HUDSON (CONT’D): New York officials reportedly consider closed prison for displaced Sandy victims. “The New York Post reports that state officials are considering the Arthur Kill Correctional Facility on Staten Island to feed and house as many as 900 victims with nowhere else to turn. . . . As many as 40,000 New Yorkers need shelter from extreme weather events, according to city estimates. On Staten Island alone, about 5,200 people applied for temporary FEMA housing, but only about two dozen people have been successfully placed, federal sources told the newspaper.” (Emphasis added, because . . . wow).

KATRINA ON THE HUDSON (CONT’D): A major disaster occurs on the outskirts of one of the most advanced civilizations on earth, and 10 days later there are victims walking 6 miles to find food?

Yep. In Coney Island. “Down on Surf Avenue, businesses are shuttered, leaving local residents unable to get basic necessities like food, medicine, or even do laundry. Once the sun goes down, residents say it’s too dangerous to venture out anyway.”

Plus: “A lot of people are desperate. They don’t know where they are getting their next meal.”

Related: Doctors Without Borders Tend To NY Storm Victims. Just like it was some third-world country. President Bush sent Americans to the third world. Under President Obama, the third world comes to you!

KATRINA ON THE HUDSON (CONT’D): Missed Opportunities and Miscalculations in New York Gas Shortage.

KATRINA ON THE HUDSON: A Storm-Ravaged Neighborhood Struggles To Survive.

KATRINA ON THE HUDSON: After 11 days without power, Sandy victims want answers.

Related: Disaster Shelter Doesn’t Protect From Bitter Cold. And a coverup: “As Sotelo tells it, when it became clear the residents were less than enamored with their new accommodations Wednesday night and were letting the outside world know about it, officials tried to stop them from taking pictures, turned off the Wi-Fi and said they couldn’t charge their cellphones because the complex didn’t have enough power.”