Eight months into his presidency, Donald Trump faces his first major natural disaster this weekend. Harvey has intensified into a hurricane and forecasters have predicted landfall along the Gulf Coast of Texas late today or early Saturday.
Forecasters labeled it a “life-threatening storm” that posed a “grave risk,” and the fiercest hurricane to hit the United States in a dozen years. Millions of people braced for a prolonged battering that could swamp dozens of counties more than 100 miles inland.
On his blog, Jamie Dupree of WSB Radio fame notes that nothing on Trump’s schedule today indicates interaction with the Federal Emergency Management Agency, although late Friday the president Tweeted out a video of a recent visit to FEMA headquarters.
Trump will ride the storm out from Camp David, his second visit to the retreat. Notes Dupree:
You want some political controversy? Then just imagine where we are in early September if Harvey turns into a giant storm that brings major damage in coastal areas of Texas, with a recovery price tag running into the tens of billions of dollars.
Turn back the clock to 2013, in the time after Hurricane Sandy, and you’ll see the furor on Capitol Hill after some GOP lawmakers tried to force offsetting budget cuts to pay for an initial round of money for the federal flood insurance program…
The flood program is already $23 billion in the red – without counting this weekend’s damage.
You can count Marshall Shepherd, UGA’s professor of meteorology among those warning of a dire situation. Via Twitter: “If you are in coastal TX this is not the time for cliche ‘meteorologist overhyping this’ or ‘I was ok last time’..#Harvey is historic threat.”
This morning’s Tweets from the White House:
— “If Senate Republicans don’t get rid of the Filibuster Rule and go to a 51% majority, few bills will be passed. 8 Dems control the Senate!”
–“General John Kelly is doing a fantastic job as Chief of Staff. There is tremendous spirit and talent in the W.H. Don’t believe the Fake News”
–“Few, if any, Administrations have done more in just 7 months than the Trump A. Bills passed, regulations killed, border, military, ISIS, SC!”
—“Nick Adams, “Retaking America” ‘Best things of this presidency aren’t reported about. Convinced this will be perhaps best presidency ever.'”
It’s the final day of qualifying for Atlanta’s mayor race, and as far as we can tell all the major candidates have signed their paperwork. That includes former Atlanta official Peter Aman; former Fulton County Commission chair John Eaves; City Council President Ceasar Mitchell; state Sen. Vincent Fort; City Councilmembers Keisha Lance Bottoms, Kwanza Hall and Mary Norwood; and former City Council president Cathy Woolard.
Michael Sterling, former director of the Atlanta Workforce Development Agency, said he’s headed to City Hall at noon to qualify.
A Thursday rally called by the Augusta NAACP to remove a Confederate monument on the city’s main thoroughfare drew 200 people but resulted in no arrest or injuries. At least one group was denied a permit to hold a separate rally, according to the Augusta Chronicle: the Nationalist Liberation Union, a white nationalist group.
The Demosthenian Literary Society at the University of Georgia voted to take down a portrait of Robert E. Lee from the walls of its North Campus building. A video posted on Twitter shows members erupting into applause as the faded painting is trucked out of the room. The necessary context: Just a few decades ago, Demosthenians were the most conservative group on the UGA campus and considered themselves a cultural adjunct of the Confederacy.
Axios is theorizing that there’s more to the flurry of public appearances by Ohio Gov. John Kasich, a Republican, and and Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, a Democrat, than meets the eye. The news website says the pair are exploring a joint independent bid for president in 2020. Kasich, who would top the ticket, will be on NBC’s “Meet The Press” on Sunday.
President Trump’s former campaign adviser Roger Stone, who was just in Georgia to endorse Republican state Sen. Michael Williams in the race for governor, says that any politician who votes to impeach Trump “would be endangering their own life.” From a TMZ video: “Try to impeach him. Just try it. You will have a spasm of violence, an insurrection in this country like you have never seen before. Both sides are heavily armed, my friend.” Watch here:
Louise Linton and her husband, U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, drew accusations of elitism this week for an Instagram glamour shot of her stepping off a government jet. But the Washington Post says there’s more to the story. The couple was returning from a trip to Kentucky, where they viewed the total eclipse of the sun from the rooftop of Fort Knox, “atop nearly $200 billion in gold.” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell was there, too.
The EPA this week announced that Trey Glenn, a lobbyist and former director of the Alabama environmental agency, would run the agency’s regional office in Atlanta. But it turns out U.S. Sen. David Perdue had other ideas. The Georgia Republican sent a Feb. 8 letter to the federal agency pitching state Sen. Rick Jeffares, R-McDonough, for the gig, according to E&E News. Jeffares took himself out of the running in May to launch a campaign for lieutenant governor.
Sometimes you just have to sit back and marvel at how politics has changed in Georgia: Secretary of State Brian Kemp, a socially conservative Republican running for governor, is holding a meet-and-greet this afternoon in a Dalton distillery.