Trump administration ramps up Harvey response

Trump administration ramps up Harvey response
© Greg Nash

The Trump administration is ramping up its response to Hurricane Harvey, which made landfall Friday and continues to bring torrential rain and flooding to Texas. 

The head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency said Sunday that FEMA is setting up "for years" of recovery in Texas.

The federal government has 5,000 people on site in Texas and Louisiana, Brock Long said on CNN's "State of the Union."

“We’re already pushing forward recovery housing teams,” Long said. “We’re setting up and gearing up for the next couple of years.”

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Long added he has “great lines of communication” with President Trump.

“The president has instilled in me all the power I need,” Long said. 

“I have no concern. We are doing our job,” he added. 

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) on Sunday, meanwhile, commended the White House for its responsiveness to the storm.

“We are getting absolutely everything we need,” Abbott said on CNN’s “State of the Union.” 

Abbott added he has spoken with Trump and other Cabinet members, and noted the state is appreciative of the administration's efforts.

“[The] White House is being very responsive, very concerned about the people of Texas, and a tremendous help to us,” Abbott said.

He also gave FEMA high remarks for its work in the state.

“I give FEMA a grade of A plus, all the way to the president … all across the board, from the White House, to the federal administration to FEMA," Abbott said on "Fox News Sunday."

The Texas governor also talked of the severity of the flooding in Houston, a city where the problem is common.

"But this is one of the worst, if not the worst, that Houston has suffered," Abbott said on ABC's "This Week."

As the storm continues to bring about rain and flooding to the Houston area, Trump tweeted Sunday morning he plans to visit Texas "as soon as that trip can be made without causing disruption."

"The focus must be life and safety," he tweeted.

When asked on ABC if it makes sense for Trump to visit, Abbott said "it depends."

"It depends on where he goes. We are already, for example, involved in a cleanup process in Corpus Christi," Abbott said, noting that Harvey made landfall near Corpus Christi and is moving to the northeast.
 
"If the president were to visit there, it wouldn't hinder any efforts. We'll just have to wait and see where the storm goes."
 
The storm has been "very unpredictable in its movement," he added.
 
"And I couldn't tell you right now where it will be in two days," he said.

Homeland Security Adviser Tom Bossert said Sunday that Trump will visit Texas as soon as possible to show his support, but the president doesn't want to get in the way.

"We'll go where we can without getting in the way of the operators. We certainly wouldn't go in a place where we would prevent life-saving activities from taking place," Bossert said on ABC's "This Week."

"The president wants to go to show his support. He doesn't want to go to get in the way, and he's been very clear about that."

The storm made landfall Friday as a Category 4 hurricane before it was downgraded to a tropical storm.

At least five deaths have been reported in its aftermath. 

Severe flooding has been reported in Houston and other towns in Southeast Texas and hundreds of thousands people do not have power.

Torrential rain in the region is expected during the next few days.

Trump tweeted Sunday there was "great coordination" between the agencies at all levels of government. He said many are saying "this is the worst storm/hurricane they have ever seen."

"Good news is that we have great talent on the ground," he tweeted.

The president also said that experts are calling the storm a "once in 500 year flood."

"We have an all out effort going, and going well!" he tweeted.

"Major rescue operations underway!"