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David J. Phillip / AP

President Trump and the First Lady Melania Trump will be on the ground in Texas today for five hours, with stops in Corpus Christi and Austin for briefings on Harvey relief and response. Your quick catch-up on one of the landmark human and economic tragedies of our lifetimes:

  • AP latest: "[O]fficials acknowledge the grim reality that fatalities linked to Harvey could soar once the devastating floodwaters recede from one of America's most sprawling metropolitan centers."
  • The scale — N.Y. Times: "Local, state and federal officials conceded that the scale of the crisis was so vast that they were nowhere near being able to measure it, much less fully address it ... just the start of a disaster that would take years to overcome."
  • The politics — AP's Julie Pace: "Trump ... has been particularly eager to seize the moment. He ... may return to the region again on Saturday. ... Trump sent about two dozen tweets about the storm since Friday, marveling at the size ... and cheering on ... responders: 'You are doing a great job — the world is watching!'"
  • A Katrina comparisonN.Y. Times' Shaila Dewan and John Schwartz: "The Gulf region's capacity as an oil and gas hub ... does not appear to have been seriously compromised, and economists were predicting that the storm's cost would be less than half that of Katrina's."
  • "Freight Firms Face Harvey Gridlock" — Wall Street Journal p. A1: "The gridlock will likely reverberate beyond Texas, threatening to snarl international trade routes. Houston is a key consolidation point for imports of vehicles and appliances made in Mexico ... The storm affected up to 10% of the U.S.'s trucking capacity."
  • N.Y. Times Quotation of the Day — FEMA Administrator Brock Long, who expects 450,000+ people to apply for federal assistance: "The state of Texas is about to undergo one of the largest recovery housing missions the nation has ever seen."
  • Houston Chronicle banner, "UNCERTAINTY ENGULFS REGION." (Read the digital paper free.)
  • If you click only one thing: Where to donate.
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The week the Trump show ended

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Why it matters: China's severe domestic repression, its dramatic rise as a technological superpower, and its increasingly aggressive actions around the globe mean that the world expects the American president to take action.