Former New Hampshire Governor John Sununu gave Texas Governor Greg Abbott and President Donald Trump high marks for how they have handled Hurricane Harvey thus far and warned against politicizing the issue this early in the process.
“We can give them a grade in progress. I think they’ve done very well. I think the president and his team deserve a lot of credit for the early declaration of a disaster. Even before the storm hit. And that allowed them to preposition and put assets in place and begin cooperating with state and local officials, and they did that without any hesitation,” Sununu said during a Fox News interview on “America’s Newsroom” on Monday.
Sununu said Trump’s timing for his visit is appropriate and it was important for him to resist the urge to travel to Texas too soon.
“The second thing they ought to get some credit for is the president has resisted the temptation to go down there too soon,” he said. “I actually think that presidents can show up too soon and actually hinder the rescue activities. And certainly Governor Abbott and his team deserve credit for the way they’ve been working with the local officials … I think so far everybody involved in this really disastrous situation, this human tragedy of what is happening there, deserve at least in progress good grades,” he said. “I think they’re doing this exactly the right way.”
When Sununu was asked if Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner made a mistake by not issuing a mandatory evacuation, he was slow to condemn Turner and said any criticism would be “premature.”
“I’m always hesitant to criticize public officials without knowing all the background details. Certainly the mayor of Houston had a very hard decision. It’s a city of a few million people. Once you mandate a few million people to leave you are creating chaos on the highways. Whether he could have or should have required certain local areas to evacuate I can’t tell. I don’t know the area,” he said. “I think there is going to be a lot of review after the fact. I think it’s premature for anybody to try and start criticizing now. The thing to do now is to support the efforts. Get things going.”
“The best thing that’s happening in Texas is neighbor to neighbor, citizen to citizen, people taking care of each other in addition to the public institutions helping out. Let’s get this thing done and not start pointing fingers too soon in the process,” Sununu concluded.
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