Trump makes a liar out of himself with one photograph.
Donald Trump said he witnessed the devastation of Hurricane Harvey “first hand.”
He did not.
He did not even come close.
His Tuesday trip to Texas took him to Corpus Christi, several hundred miles away from Houston. There, he had a briefing with Texas officials, where he assured them that he wouldn’t say “congratulations” for the government’s handling of the hurricane — yet. He also held what seemed to be a campaign rally, where hundreds of Trump supporters were gathered to cheer him as he boasted about the size of the crowd.
What Trump did not do is witness the devastation of the hurricane first hand. Nor did he meet with any of the victims of the hurricane, which is the sort of thing one would expect a president to do.
Barack Obama with a victim of Hurricane Sandy. pic.twitter.com/R4AUr7INMM
— Michael Skolnik (@MichaelSkolnik) August 30, 2017
Instead of meeting with those affected by Hurricane Harvey — or, god forbid, offering any physical comfort with a hug or a handshake — Trump looked at maps with Gov. Greg Abbott, far from the devastation, at the Texas Department of Public Safety Emergency Operations Center in Austin, 165 miles away from Houston.
And that was the best evidence he could offer of his “first hand” experience:
Meanwhile, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders struggled on Wednesday to explain to reporters how Trump’s trip qualified as a “first hand” experience of the disaster.
“He met with a number of state and local officials who are eating, sleeping, breathing the Harvey disaster,” she said. “He talked extensively with the governor, who certainly is right in the midst of every bit of this, as well as the mayors from several of the local towns that were hit hardest. And detailed briefing information throughout the day yesterday talking to a lot of the people on the ground — that certainly is a firsthand account.”
In other words, he spoke with people who’d actually had firsthand exposure to the devastation and had somehow decided that was close enough to consider it a “first hand” experience for himself.
The response on Twitter to such an obvious lie has been brutal:
I traveled with the President yesterday. Personally, I would not claim to have seen Harvey's horror and devastation first hand. https://t.co/Zb7bsF5CW5
— Andrew Beatty (@AndrewBeatty) August 30, 2017
let's not forget the day that Trump had a first-hand experience of walking on the moon pic.twitter.com/6FqbkMdCac
— Dave Itzkoff (@ditzkoff) August 31, 2017
who can forget the time Donald Trump experienced first-hand winning the Super Bowl pic.twitter.com/1CdrMVLDVE
— delrayser (@delrayser) August 31, 2017
On Thursday, Mike Pence will be in Texas where, according to the White House press office, he will meet with victims of the hurricane. Trump has no public appearances on his schedule, which means he won’t have to answer any questions from reporters about his “first hand” experience.
On the second hand, nothing stops him from spending his day telling more lies on Twitter to make himself feel better about his wholly inadequate and inappropriate response to the hurricane. So stay tuned …