Trump confronts the tricky politics of natural disasters

WASHINGTON (AP) — George W. Bush never recovered from his flyover of Hurricane Katrina’s devastation. Barack Obama got a bipartisan boost late in his re-election campaign for his handling of Superstorm Sandy.

Now, President Donald Trump is confronting the political risks and potential gains that come with leading the federal government’s response to a deadly and destructive natural disaster. Hurricane Harvey, the massive storm that has dumped torrents of rain across Texas, is the first major natural disaster of Trump’s presidency, and the yet-to-be-determined scope of the damage appears likely to require a years-long federal response.

The White House has sought to paint Trump as eagerly engaged in the initial response, including announcing plans for him to travel to Texas even before Harvey made landfall.

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