Saturday Politics: Trump And Hurricanes, Manafort, Kavanaugh

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

The White House says President Trump will tour a storm-damaged area sometime next week, once it’s clear that his visit won’t distract from the ongoing rescue and recovery efforts. But even a deadly storm doesn’t entirely distract from the political turbulence in and around the White House this week. That’s where NPR’s Scott Horsley comes in. Scott, thanks so much for being with us.

SCOTT HORSLEY, BYLINE: Good morning.

SIMON: We haven’t seen much physically – publicly of the president in the last couple days, his meetings with emergency responders on Thursday and Friday behind closed doors. He has been active online. But first, why hasn’t he come before the cameras?

HORSLEY: Well, it’s a good question. Ordinarily, the press staff would invite cameras into his briefings so the public could see for themselves that the president’s on top of the situation. He could shine a spotlight on everything the federal government is doing to help respond to the storm.

But Trump’s briefings both Thursday and Friday were off-camera. It could be that his aides are worried that if reporters were there, the president might be goaded into talking about some of the more controversial stories in the news this week.

SIMON: And the president called federal efforts to assist Puerto Rico during Hurricane Maria an unsung success. But, of course, as we know, 3,000 people died. And then, the president said that his critics had just cooked up that number. And that – we have to say it – that’s just not true.

HORSLEY: That’s right. Now a lot of those deaths did not take place directly during the storm. Rather, they took place indirectly during the painfully slow recovery. Remember, it was only last month that electricity was finally restored throughout the island. So if this is a success, Trump is in a very lonely chorus singing about it.

In Florida, some of…

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