Donald Trump’s Hurricane Harvey Speech During His Texas Visit Proves He’s Still Obsessed With His Crowds
The historic rainfall from Hurricane Harvey has ravaged Houston and its surrounding areas. Pictures, video, and eyewitness accounts tell of stranded citizens, rescue attempts, desperation, and destruction. But during President Donald Trump's Hurricane Harvey visit, he was focused on something decidedly unimportant. Namely: the size of the crowd that gathered outside of his briefing in Corpus Christi, Texas.
"What a crowd," he said. "What a turnout."
What an odd thing to say.
The moment was caught on video by several news outlets, including the BBC. While wearing a white hat emblazoned with "USA" in bold lettering, Trump stepped onto an unidentified platform, took a microphone, and gave a quick word to the crowd, which included protesters. 17 seconds into a 53-second video, after thanking people for showing up, he mentioned the the crowd size.
His focus on crowd sizes is nothing new.
He famously (and falsely) claimed that about 1.5 million people had attended his inauguration, and that it had been a historic crowd, when the fact of the matter is that turnout was laughably weak.
In his not-campaign-campaign-rallies, he frequently mentions the massive sizes of the crowds -- despite evidence to the contrary. Just this summer, he mentioned crowds in Ohio on July 25, tweeting that the crowd "broke all records" and did the same in Phoenix, Arizona on Aug. 22. And he is so obsessed with crowd sizes that he allegedly fired aides for the poor turnout in Phoenix, according to New York Magazine.
But given the situation now, it's wildly inappropriate. Trump is currently in Texas learning more about the damage in southeastern Texas as a historic hurricane continues to pummel the region with rain.
Thousands have been displaced by approximately 50 inches of rain; many are waiting for rescue on their roofs, and even more are in shelters. Thus far, officials have reported 13 confirmed deaths, with more suspected, expecting that number to rise. 50 counties have flooded, 30,000 are in shelters, and as of Aug. 28, 56,000 calls were made to 911 in a 15-hour period, according to the San Diego Tribune and The New York Times. The situation is so unprecedented that the National Weather Service had to update their map color-coding to reflect the amount of rainfall.
And people are still in danger: NBC reports that a dam in Houston is overflowing, and rain is expected to continue falling.
Despite the danger to those still stranded, however, the president wants it on the record that there was an impressive turnout in Corpus Christi.
According to Huffington Post reporter Christina Wilkie, the crowd size was not Trump's only off-color comment during the impromptu rally.
"I love you. You are special," Trump reportedly told the crowd, while reportedly making no mention of those killed or displaced by the storm. "We're here to take care of you. It's going well."
Maybe he can tell that to the stranded Houstonians who are bracing for more rain still to come.