It was supposed to be an opportunity for Donald Trump to check out the damage caused by hurricane Harvey, and offer support to its many victims.
But it didn't turn out that way.
For it was a disaster from beginning to end.
Starting with Melania Trump's decision to wear stiletto heels to a disaster zone.
Nothing says I'm in touch with the people like... https://t.co/ZD6cEfG0LS— Todd Stashwick (@ToddStashwick) August 29, 2017
And continuing with her husband's determination to make the trip and the disaster all about himself.
As rescuers continued their exhausting and heartbreaking work in southeastern Texas on Tuesday afternoon, as the rain continued to fall and a reservoir near Houston spilled over, President Trump grabbed a microphone to address hundreds of supporters who had gathered outside a firehouse near Corpus Christi and were chanting: “USA! USA! USA!”
‘Thank you, everybody,” the president said, sporting one of the white “USA” caps that are being sold on his campaign website for $40. “I just want to say: We love you. You are special. . . . What a crowd. What a turnout.”
As he has been doing since the rains started falling.
He has talked favorably about the higher television ratings that come with hurricane coverage, predicted that he will soon be congratulating himself and used 16 exclamation points in 22 often breathless tweets about the storm. But as of late Tuesday afternoon, the president had yet to mention those killed, call on other Americans to help or directly encourage donations to relief organizations.
Viewing it not as a human catastrophe, not as an opportunity to point out the dangers of climate change.
But only as Frank Bruni writes, as an opportunity to look into the mirror of his own majesty.
I would like to believe that what fascinated Donald Trump about the floodwaters of Texas and pulled him to the state on Tuesday were the scenes of human suffering.
I would also like to believe that I’m a dead ringer for Brad Pitt.
But what Trump saw in Hurricane Harvey was a mirror of his own majesty. A storm worthy of a stud like him. A meteorological complement to one of his resorts, rallies or steaks. Something really, really big.
Or as an opportunity to play cheap politics...
It will be days or even weeks before we can definitively appraise how well the Trump administration addressed this crisis, along with precisely what mistakes state and local officials made.
But what we know already is that Harvey didn’t blow away the opportunism and narcissism at Trump’s core. In comments at the White House on Monday, he actually suggested that he’d timed the announcement of his pardon of Joe Arpaio to coincide with the storm’s arrival, because more people were monitoring the news.
But then again why should anyone be surprised when we already know that Trump's narcissism knows no bounds.
Twice a day since the beginning of the Trump administration, a special folder is prepared for the president.
These sensitive papers, described to VICE News by three current and former White House officials, are not top-secret intelligence or updates on legislative initiatives.
Instead, the folders are filled with screenshots of positive cable news chyrons (those lower-third headlines and crawls), admiring tweets, transcripts of fawning TV interviews, praise-filled news stories, and sometimes just pictures of Trump on TV looking powerful.
Which tells you all you need to know about that needy man child.
And the good news?
If Trump is drowning in his own ego, so are his polls.
Pew asked American adults how they felt about Trump's conduct in office: Whether they “liked” it, had “mixed feelings” or “didn't like it.” It won't surprise you to see about 6 in 10 (58 percent) don't like it; that tracks with the number of Americans who disapprove of Trump overall.
The other two pieces of the pie are where things get interesting. According to Pew, another 25 percent of American adults say they have “mixed feelings,” and just 16 percent “like” it. Only about 1 in 6 voters say they like the way Trump has conducted himself as president.
He's now in danger of losing some of the support of his own rabid base, as well as the support of some of the most powerful Republicans in Congress.
The writing is on the wall even if Trump is too dumb to see it.
The tide is going out and he's going with it...