When President Donald Trump first visited the Harvey strike zone in Texas, he was all business, viewing some of the devastation and consulting with local officials about what the region needed to recover. What he was not was Touchy Feely, hugging hurricane victims for the cameras and so on. For this lack, the president found himself warmly criticized. So, when he came to Texas a second time, visiting the flood ravaged Houston, Texas, the president added his media personality hate to his businessman one.

The Trumps visited NRG stadium

NRG Stadium, home of the Houston Texans football team, has been turned into a refugee center.

Trump could be seen hugging children, talking intimately with some of the storm victims, and taking selfies with some of the refugees and volunteers. According to the Independent Journal Review, many found the president to be kind and reassuring, not like his media persona. However, the famously germophobic POTUS struggled to put on gloves before handing out food.

Melania Trump offers defiance to her media critics

The first lady had come into some criticism for emerging from the White House wearing stiletto heels on the way to Marine One. She had changed to sneakers by the time the Trumps had gotten to Texas, but the damage had been done. For the second trip, she emerged wearing “$1590 Ralph Lauren dress and $650 pair of Manolo Blahnik heels.” By the time she got back to Houston, she was dressed in a more sensible denim shirt, jeans, and sneakers.

The effect was to tell the media that she will bloody well wear what she wants when she wants it.

The rest of the trip

The Trumps left NRG Stadium and went to a church in Pearland, a community south of Houston, which serves as a distribution center for relief supplies, before moving to the Louisiana which also was paid an unwelcome visit by Harvey.

The Trumps thus fulfilled their function of not only seeing the damage wrought by the storm and receiving information from local officials but to be seen offering aid and comfort. Trump the reality show TV star understands the importance of images that convey messages. He had set that aspect of him aside in favor of the problem-solving businessman when he was in Corpus Christi.

Trump decided to be reassuring on his second trip, and the effort seems to have affected, not only his media critics but at least on some of the locals.

Natural disasters can harm presidents. Katrina and George W. Bush come to mind. However, they can also be the making of chief executives. Trump seems determined to be in the latter category.