Donald Trump is spending twice as much time campaigning for his re-election behind closed doors as he is working on hurricane relief in an upcoming trip to Texas.
Donald Trump is using relief efforts related to recovery from Hurricane Harvey as cover for a taxpayer-funded campaign trip.
The official White House schedule for his trip to Texas shows that Trump is slated to spend only an hour on activities relating to hurricane relief. Once that is out of the way, he will spend the next two hours rubbing shoulders with Republican donors, scaring up funds for his re-election.
Trump is participating in a briefing at 3:30 for "hurricane recovery efforts." With that out of the way, the real purpose of the trip is revealed. At 4:30 Trump is scheduled for a "roundtable" with RNC supporters at the Belo Mansion in Dallas. Then at 5:20, he will give remarks at a "a Dallas Trump Victory Reception" before leaving Texas at 6:25.
That works out to an hour at best for hurricane events, with nearly twice as much time devoted to raising money for Trump's future political ambitions.
The schedule also exposes what Trump wants the press to cover, and which activities will go down behind closed doors.
The hurricane event will have a media availability, so Trump can have a photo op of him dealing with hurricane issues. But when the real focus of his trip is underway — raising money to help himself — those events have been marked as "closed press," meaning the pool reporters traveling with Trump will not be able to photograph him as he works the money line.
Trump has been using Hurricane Harvey as a bizarre political tool since before the storm even made landfall. He posed in campaign hats in photos that were distributed to the press on the weekend the storm hit. Trump was unable to allow good taste to prevail, and hurricane coverage was then used to send traffic to his campaign website, where proceeds from hat sales would go to his re-election.
Once he was on the ground in Texas after the storm, the campaigning continued. Instead of mentioning hurricane victims, Trump crowed about the size of the crowd, noting, "What a crowd, what a turnout."
The schedule for the trip shows that he is incapable of simply doing the job by showing up and showing a vested interest in Texas' recovery. He has to make it about himself and his interests. Again.