Editor’s Note: Harvey blows in nuttiness

Nolan Finley
The Detroit News

Natural disasters bring out the best in many people, from the first responders who do the grueling search and rescue work to volunteers who provide food and shelter to those forced to flee their homes.

That’s again the case this week as the massive Hurricane Harvey brings a flood of biblical proportions to Houston and the surrounding areas.

Unfortunately, such catastrophes also are an irresistible lure for nutballs of all sorts and those who never can pass an opportunity to press their causes and air their political grievances — or to attack President Donald Trump.

Even before Harvey unleashed its full fury, Trump was in the eye of the storm, with the media declaring it the first major test of his presidency and speculating on the many ways he could botch the challenge.

The president, as always, took to Twitter to pledge the federal government’s full support to Texas and began working with Gov. Greg Abbott to coordinate aid efforts. That makes sense, given how former President George W. Bush’s delayed response to Hurricane Karina took the legs out from under his presidency.

But rather than seeing them as prudent, critics declared Trump’s pledges an insincere attempt to divert attention away from his pardon of former Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio. The accusations lend credence to the president’s contention that no matter what he says in any situation, he’ll be vilified.

Others speculated about how Trump’s proposed budget cuts to the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Agriculture Department would affect the Harvey recovery efforts. Never mind that cuts to those two bloated departments haven’t been implemented yet and the budget is nowhere near passage.

The ACLU rose to declare the Border Patrol’s decision not to closed border checkpoints during the storm a “disgusting move” that places “undocumented people and mixed-status families at risk out of fear of deportations.” The trouble with that passionate denunciation is there are no border checkpoints within 50 miles of the storm zone.

The Washington Post turned a generous offer by the Mexican government to aid the affected communities into a dilemma for Trump: “Should he accept the generosity, which, to some of his supporters, might ring of hypocrisy and weakness? Or should he deny it, while Texans cope with a nightmare?” Of course, no such cold Trump supporters were quoted.

CNN’s Jim Acosta, who is in an open feud with Trump, self-righteously opined the president’s relentless attacks on the “fake news media” places Harvey victims at risk, since they depend on media outlets for emergency information, and might not believe what they hear because of the president. Right.

On Twitter, Trump was blamed for a lack of food on shelves, and for the typical pre-storm hoarding, reasoning it reflected a lack of confidence in his administration to respond.

But the cake-taker was bounce-around talk show host Keith Olbermann, who in response to a tweet from Education Secretary Betsy DeVos offering prayers and support for those schools in Harvey’s path, replied:

“The hurricane is going to do less damage to schools than you are, (expletive).”