- Robert W. Gee American-Statesman Staff
First lady Melania Trump and Karen Pence, the wife of Vice President Mike Pence, are scheduled to travel to South Texas Wednesday to “continue their efforts in assisting those affected by this year’s devastating hurricane season,” according to a White House news release.
They will meet with first responders in Corpus Christi who are part of the Hurricane Harvey recovery effort, then travel to Rockport to meet a family whose home was destroyed in the hurricane. They will tour the destroyed home and see the family’s temporary manufactured home provided by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, according to the release.
They are also planning to tour classrooms at an elementary school and speak with faculty about the hurricane. Their final stop will be a food bank, where they’ll meet with volunteers and help sort boxes of donations.
“The effects of the hurricane season are still being felt throughout southern portions of the United States and in Puerto Rico, and residents still need our help,” Trump said in the statement. “While I am heartened by the strength and resilience of those impacted by the storms, I will continue doing all that I can to lend a voice and shine a spotlight on those who need assistance to rebuild and start new family traditions. As Christmas and the New Year approach, I encourage people to lend their time volunteering or providing financial support to those still reeling from the hurricanes.”
“Our hearts are encouraged by the people of Texas and their continued enthusiasm to help each other pick up the pieces and rebuild after Hurricane Harvey,” Pence said in the statement. “I am looking forward to the opportunity to accompany the First Lady in Texas and to visit with families and their children in the communities most impacted by the storm. Our thoughts and prayers remain with the people of Texas.”
Harvey crashed ashore near Corpus Christi more than three months ago and later caused widespread flooding in Houston, Beaumont and Port Arthur, leaving more than 80 people dead. Nearly 900,000 people have applied for FEMA aid in the aftermath of Harvey.
President Donald Trump gets low marks for his handling of the disaster, according to a Kaiser Family Foundation/Episcopal Health Foundation survey released Tuesday.
Nearly half of residents who said they had property damage or lost their job or work hours because of Harvey say they’re not getting the resources needed to get back on their feet. Federal officials have approved $1.4 billion in Harvey assistance to individuals and households but the survey showed signs of confusion and frustration: More than 6 in 10 denied applicants say they received no information on how to try again.
Trump, who has consistently low approval ratings nationally, also received worse numbers than Congress or Texas leaders for their response to Harvey, with half saying the president was doing a fair or poor job.
About 4 in 10 were also not confident about Harvey relief dollars trickling down to those who need it most.