Some estimates say Katrina destroyed 40,000 homes in New Orleans alone. Thousands more were wiped out around the Gulf. President Bush — arriving on the Gulf Coast — focused on one house — Sen Trent Lott’s (R-MS):
“The good news is — and it’s hard for some to see it now — that out of this chaos is going to come a fantastic Gulf Coast, like it was before. Out of the rubbles of Trent Lott’s house — he’s lost his entire house — there’s going to be a fantastic house. And I’m looking forward to sitting on the porch.” — President Bush, September 2, 2005
It’s the kind of comment more in tune with a political fundraiser opening joke than a disaster scene. The President’s photo op upon arriving on the Gulf Coast probably did little to help the administration’s image over the last few days. It was basically a briefing of items that could have been handled on the flight down — or better yet — three days ago. It certainly didn’t make the President look like he was on top of things.
He appeared detached, as if not really listening to Gov Halley Barbour (R-MS). The President nodded his head awkwardly, in no logical reaction to anything being said to him.
Behind them were parked helicopters and uniformed crewmembers standing at parade rest. Good for the cameras — not so good for the people waiting to be airlifted out of the flood zone for days now. (WhiteHouse.gov)