Ahead of Trump's visit, Houston mayor says crisis is urgent: 'We need the resources yesterday'

With President Trump set to visit Texas on Saturday, Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner underscored the extensive resources his city requires after Tropical Storm Harvey displaced tens of thousands of residents from their homes.

In an interview on CNN’s “New Day,” Turner said he had not spoken to Trump. The White House said Thursday that Trump “tentatively” plans to visit the Houston area, depending on the conditions.

“Texas is healing fast thanks to all of the great men & women who have been working so hard,” Trump tweeted Friday. “But still so much to do. Will be back tomorrow!”


During his CNN interview, Turner did not dwell on his lack of conversations with Trump, but he did imply that he expects more resources from the federal government, saying, “We must operate with a sense of urgency.”

“We have to have the resources in order to assist people that are transitioning from a crisis state and get them back in a much more stable situation,” Turner said. “And we need the resources now.”

“In fact, let me back that up,” he added. “We need the resources yesterday.”

Quinisha Runnels holds her cousin, Mimi Runnels, 2, on a cot at the George R. Brown Convention Center where nearly 10,000 people are taking shelter after Tropical Storm Harvey Wednesday, Aug. 30, 2017 in Houston. ( Photo: Michael Ciaglo / Houston Chronicle/AP)

Turner said he has so far spoken with Housing Secretary Ben Carson, former Texas Gov. and Energy Secretary Rick Perry and Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas. Meetings with FEMA Director Brock Long and acting Homeland Security Secretary Elaine Duke were scheduled for Friday, Turner said.

Trump has already visited Texas once since Harvey made landfall last weekend, initially as a Category 4 hurricane. He made a brief appearance in Corpus Christi on Tuesday, and though he did not tour any storm-ravaged areas or meet with victims, he waved the Texas flag and offered some optimism to those gathered for the occasion.

“What a crowd, what a turnout,” Trump said. “This is historic. It’s epic what happened, but you know what, it happened in Texas, and Texas can handle anything.”


On Friday, Turner pitched a nonpartisan push for federal resources and seemed to hint at the increasing frequency of devastating storms like Harvey.

“What I would say to everyone is that this should be priority No. 1 for our country,” Turner said. “And we have to provide — and let’s put the politics aside. Let’s provide the necessary resources now in order for people to rebuild their lives. We should not keep them in a traumatized state any longer than they need to be.”

“What I would say to people is that, put yourselves in our shoes,” he added. “It may not be you today, but the way these storms are coming, it certainly can be you tomorrow. And you have to ask the question: How would you want to be treated if it happened to you?”

Harvey flood map

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