White House defends Trump's claim that he witnessed the devastation of Hurricane Harvey "first hand"

Trump's spokesperson gives a very odd definition of what a "firsthand" account really is

Published August 31, 2017 12:44PM (EDT)

 (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
(AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

President Trump saw "first hand" the devastation caused by Hurricane Harvey, he claimed in a tweet Wednesday morning.


It was an odd statement considering the president was nowhere near the disaster zone when he made the trip to Texas on Tuesday. Instead, Trump visited Corpus Christi and Austin — cities where you could walk around and keep your feet dry.

As Politico noted Wednesday, the president “didn’t meet a single storm victim, see an inch of rain or get near a flooded street.”

The White House press pool asked Trump's press secretary, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, to explain Trump's tweet. Her response was the definition of experiencing an event second hand:

He met with a number of state and local officials who are eating, sleeping, breathing the Harvey disaster. He talked extensively with the governor, who certainly is right in the midst of every bit of this, as well as the mayor 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 first hand account.

The president was certainly aware that his response to Hurricane Harvey would be used as a litmus test of his presidency. Past presidents have suffered politically for failing to adequately respond to a natural disaster. But, unlike the floods consuming Houston right now, Trump's trip to Texas was shallow, a desperate ploy to show that the president was at least doing something.

On "Fox & Friends" Thursday, Kellyanne Conway defend the president from all the criticism.

"The left is really very worried that the president is successfully showing leadership and compassion and empathy and resolved and action, coordinating with state and local officials," she said.

Watch Conway spin Trump's trip below:


By Taylor Link

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