White House counselor Kellyanne Conway said Wednesday the Trump administration hoped Congress “puts politics aside” to get financial assistance to the victims of Hurricane Harvey.
“We hope that everybody puts politics aside, to get help directly to the people in a speedy fashion,” Conway told Chris Cuomo on CNN.
“We know after the devastating effects of a storm like Harvey, that the recovery, the rebuilding, the relief efforts, they go on.
“We don’t know if it will be weeks, months, years,” she said. “But this president, vice president and Cabinet stand ready to assist those in need.”
President Donald Trump pledged to Harvey victims Wednesday that “we are here with you every single step of the way” and said after meeting with Texas officials Tuesday “we want to do” the recovery effort “better than ever before.”
The death toll climbed to at least 28 deaths as the National Hurricane Center downgraded Harvey to a tropical depression.
In addition, Reuters estimated Wednesday at least $23 billion in property has been damaged since the storm first made landfall Friday in Harris and Galveston counties.
“In terms of the funding, we hope that Congress will focus on the president’s priority,” Conway told Cuomo, “which is to connect with people in need with the money and the resources that they require to get immediate help, but also to help rebuild their lives.”
But the interview soon turned combative, as Cuomo pressed Conway on whether Trump could make good on his promises, noting that many Cabinet members voted against Superstorm Sandy relief in 2012 when they were in Congress.
He even noted Gov. Chris Christie, R-N.J., attacked Texas legislators this week as “hypocrites” for voting against the Sandy funding.
“What will the president do if people play politics with Harvey the way they did with Sandy?” Cuomo asked.
“The president has also said he needs to rely on Congress,” Conway responded. “We hope it will be bipartisan in nature.
“So few things in this city have been since we arrived in January. We can’t seem to get many Democrats at the table for big, meaningful initiatives — and that’s very disappointing.
“Can’t have a conversation, let alone a vote on certain things.
“But we hope when it comes to relief, the plan will include Democrats and Republicans voting to get that relief,” Conway said.
“It should also really focus on the task at hand, which is about Harvey and those in the affected areas.”
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