Trump monitoring Hurricane Harvey as it approaches Texas

The White House on Thursday said President Trump is monitoring Hurricane Harvey and is ready to provide resources to the gulf region as the storm gains strength and barrels toward the Texas coast.

The administration’s response to the storm will be an early test of Trump’s ability to deal with crisis and administer the government.

The Department of Homeland Security is operating under the leadership of acting director Elaine Duke after Trump made former DHS secretary John Kelly his chief of staff. 

ADVERTISEMENT

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said she’s confident in Duke’s leadership and that the agency has been working closely with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

We have acting secretary Elaine Duke who's watching this closely and very involved in the process along with the acting director for FEMA and again, I think that we are in great shape, having General Kelly sitting next to the president throughout this process,” Sanders said.

“There’s probably no better chief of staff for the president during the hurricane season, and the president has been briefed and will continue to be updated as the storm progresses. And certainly it’s something he's very aware of and will keep a very watchful eye on. He stands ready to provide resources if needed.” 

Forecasters say Hurricane Harvey could turn into the first Category 3 hurricane to hit U.S. shores since 2005.

Houston, the country’s fourth most populous city, sits directly in its path. Texans there are bracing for a Friday landfall, which could bring more than 20 inches of rain and winds over 100 miles per hour. 

The conservative news aggregator Matt Drudge warned Thursday that the White House must be prepared for the developing natural disaster. 

Trump was briefed on the government’s hurricane preparation efforts earlier this month from FEMA disaster relief officials in Washington.

ADVERTISEMENT

“We are very strong on homeland security, and we're very strong in respect to FEMA,” Trump said at the time.

"FEMA is something I've been very much involved in already," he said. “We've already taken care of many of the situations that really needed emergency funds. We do it quickly, we do it effectively, we have an amazing team."

The nation’s weather monitoring agencies are predicting an above-average hurricane season. The National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration has said there is a 70 percent likelihood that 11 to 17 named storms could occur, with two to four major hurricanes.