Travel pool report 2 - SHS briefing

From: Andrew BEATTY
Date: August 29, 2017 at 11:15:52 AM CDT
Subject: Travel pool report 2 - SHS briefing

Thirty minutes into the flight, after an unusually turbulent climb out of the greater Washington area, Sarah Huckabee Sanders came back to the press cabin to flesh out plans for the day.

Sanders indicated the president's schedule was still in flux because of the continued poor weather in Texas.

"Due to the weather and all of the circumstances it's a little bit more fluid today than a normal travel day," she said.

"The president wants to be very cautious about making sure that any activity doesn't disrupt any of the recovery efforts that are still ongoing, which is the reason for the locations we are going here today."

"As of right now, I don't know that we will be able to get to some of the really damaged areas.

Sanders said the WH began focusing on Harvey "early last week" and added that POTUS was joined aboard by secretaries Price and Carson, Administrator Linda McMahon and acting Secretary of Homeland Security Elaine Duke.

Also on the plane, from the White House, we Chief of Staff John Kelly, deputy chiefs Joe Hagin and Kirstjen Nielsen and senior advisors Dina Powell and Marc Short.

Further to pool report 1, James Rivera, who manages the SBA's disaster assistance unit, is indeed aboard. "SBA plays a really, really big role" in terms of individual and small businesses loans Sanders said.

She described the two stops -- Corpus Christi and Austin -- as being somewhat divided between state and local responses.

"Corpus Christi is a little bit more focused on the local response and recovery, Austin will be heavier on the state efforts," she said.

On the ground in Corpus Christi the plan is for POTUS to meet Governor Greg Abbott and his wife and FEMA administrator William 'Brock' Long who are on the ground.

"There will be a big group kinda briefing, local officials there in Corpus Christi and Senators Cruz and Cornyn are expected to join there and be with us through a bit of the day."

"The first part of the trip and one of the main, primary reasons for secretaries Price, Secretary Carson and Administrator McMahon (being here), each of their agencies will play a really big role particularly in the recovery efforts going forward and today they will be with their counterparts of the governor's cabinet, so that they can really come back and make sure that we are all in (inaudible) to offer federal assistance and lay the foundation for what we know is going to be a long recovery effort."

"Those are agencies that will have a pretty heavy lift in this process and so we want to make sure that they have the opportunity to meet face-to-face with, with not just the state, but also the local authorities."

"That's a big part of what today will be about, is the coordination between local, state and federal officials, that will lay the groundwork for the recovery efforts that are going to be going on for quite some time."

POTUS will also see several US and state Reps and mayors, although not the mayor of Houston, Sylvester Turner.

She said there may be some additional events that are not currently on the schedule, but she'll keep us posted on that.

She confirmed the intention is to go back on Saturday, this time "to a different part of the state."

Asked if we would fly over Houston, Sanders said she did not know. We requested to be with POTUS if and when that happens.

But there were no plans to helo while in Texas, because of the scattered showers.

She confirmed that a gaggle would come later, on the way back from Austin to D.C.

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