Vice President Pence to tour Harvey damage, meet with victims
Chris Kleponis/Pool/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) — Vice President Mike Pence will meet with victims of Hurricane Harvey on Thursday and see firsthand the devastation left in its path.
The visit comes just two days after President Trump visited Corpus Christi and Austin, meeting with state and local officials but forgoing any tour of damage or in-person meetings with those now homeless because of Harvey.
The vice president will similarly fly into Corpus Christi alongside his wife, Karen Pence, and several Cabinet members, and travel to the town of Rockport. The small coastal city has a population of around 10,000 people and faced a direct hit from Harvey when it first made landfall, leveling some structures entirely.
Pence is not expected to visit or fly over the Houston area, where resources remain strained as rescue efforts continue amid disastrous flooding conditions.
The visit is just the latest in a full-court press by the Trump administration to show engagement in responding to the historic storm, as the president faces low job approval ratings.
For a president who often openly muses about the importance of optics, it also presents an interesting parallel after he was criticized on Tuesday for not surveying damage or meeting with survivors. The president has said he plans to return to the region this weekend to visit Texas and Louisiana.
But a more significant task lies ahead as the administration considers how it will reach a deal with Congress to approve funding to support the state and local response.
Trump himself acknowledged the gravity of the situation in his Tuesday visit, telling officials in Austin, “Probably there’s never been anything so expensive in our country’s history.”
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