Political Insider

An AJC blog about Atlanta politics, Georgia politics, Georgia and metro Atlanta election campaigns. Because all politics is local.

A drowning Houston tests the humanitarian in Donald Trump

By the time the rain stops later this week, Houston may have swallowed more than four feet of the stuff. The disaster is a major one, and is about to test the humanitarian in President Donald Trump. Local officials are calling it not a 500-year event, but one seen only every 800 years.

The Washington Post this morning reports that Trump administration officials and congressional aides have begun discussing the emergency aid package that coastal Texas will need in the coming weeks and months:

Harvey’s devastation poses President Trump’s first test in emergency assistance, potentially revealing whether he can overcome Congress’s deep divisions over spending and the budget to prioritize aid.

It will also test whether Trump can suspend his adversarial governing style and even postpone his own agenda, notably an overhaul of the tax code, to assemble a major — and costly — package that could be directed to law enforcement, emergency relief, schools, infrastructure, hospitals, food banks and several other entities.

The president is currently scheduled to visit the disaster scene on Tuesday, saying he wanted to delay his arrival so as not to distract law enforcement.

However, the freshest report from the National Hurricane Center reports that the center of what is now Tropical Storm Harvey is headed back into the Gulf of Mexico, which could allow it to recharge and linger over the area through Thursday.

Unlike Sunday, when Trump sent out a barrage of Twitter messages touting his administrations response, the president has been silent this morning. The last message, sent 13 hours ago:

HISTORIC rainfall in Houston, and all over Texas. Floods are unprecedented, and more rain coming. Spirit of the people is incredible. Thanks!


A small army of state troopers and other law enforcement officers began to deploy before dawn at the state Capitol in Atlanta, in preparation for a 10 a.m. ceremony to take the wraps off a statue of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. on the Capitol lawn.  He is the first African-American to be so honored, nearly 50 years after his assassination. Traffic has been closed on three sides of the Capitol, so expect delays through 11 a.m.  We've got the details here.  Click here for the livestreamed event.


An anti-hate rally was disrupted when scores of anarchists wearing black clothing and masks stormed the demonstration in Berkeley, Calif., and attacked several supporters of President Donald Trump, according to the Associated Press. But police were able to head off any wider violence.


U.S. Sen. David Perdue elaborated on his support for President Donald Trump in a sit-down with local reporters on Friday, saying the Republican is "absolutely demanding results out of Congress" even if it means alienating the chamber's leadership.

"During the race last year, Republican leadership told Republican people who were running, 'Stay away from the president, be careful, if you get too close you’ll get burned.'" He added: "I took a different tack. He’s nobody’s choir boy, but neither was Winston Churchill, or Kennedy, or Eisenhower. But he’s our candidate. I didn’t want Hillary Clinton to be our president and I was all-in on Donald Trump."


Members of First Baptist Church of Christ, one of Macon’s oldest churches, on Sunday overwhelmingly approved allowing same-sex marriage ceremonies in the church, according to the Macon Telegraph. The newspaper quotes the Rev. Scott Dickison, the church’s pastor, as saying the resolution passed with 73 percent voting in favor.


Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle, a Republican candidate for governor, has unveiled the most detailed proposal yet for addressing the lack of broadband access in Georgia. At the same time, Cagle said he supported the overhaul of Georgia’s adoption laws – without a clause protecting child placement agencies that receive taxpayer support but don’t want to engage with same-sex couples for religious reasons.


Longtime Atlanta Congressman John Lewis was unequivocal over the weekend about his intentions next year. Lewis began a weekend appearance, according to Atlanta School Board member Matt Westmoreland, saying," Before I take questions, I want to make one thing clear. I'm running for re-election in 2018."

The 77-year-old Democrat won his 16th term in the U.S. House in November.


Reese McCranie has qualified for the District 4 seat on the Fulton County Commission, vacated by the death of Joan Garner. McCranie played a key role in Mayor Kasim Reed’s first campaign as a liaison to the LGBT community in Midtown. McCranie was Reed’s deputy director of communications, and most recently served as director of policy and communications at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport.


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About the Author

Greg Bluestein is a political reporter who covers the governor's office and state politics for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.