With reports of Hurricane Irma bearing down on Florida a week after Hurricane Harvey hit south Texas, Congress approved disaster relief aid in the amount of $15.3 billion on Friday. There's some indication that more funding is still to come in the coming weeks and months, especially for whatever damage Irma will most definitely leave behind. Despite this, however, President Trump has continued to push to cut funding to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (Fema) and other federal agencies since taking office, as well as leaving over 360 government positions vacant.

Gradually prepping FEMA for disaster

That reality seems to contradict the statements the president has publicly made, saying that the government would help all of those who were hit by the storms. Prior to Harvey, when the administration was proposing budget cuts to FEMA, the agency did not have a secretary. According to one report by the New York Times titled: "Trump’s Leader for FEMA Wins Praise, but Proposed Budget Cuts Don’t," officials in the agency were concerned about not being prepared for a natural disaster under the threat of budget cuts without having a director in place.

Brock Long, Trump surrogate?

Unlike many of Trump's picks, Brock Long had the experience and was already vetted to lead FEMA as he was with the Alabama division.

But when Long was recently asked about whether he -- as the new administration for the agency -- was concerned about there still not being many positions filled at the agency, he appeared to respond to the question by Jake Tapper on Sunday August 27 in a cutting way as "Trump brand" officials generally do. His response was: "Yeah, you know what?

I don't really have time to worry about that right now."

Even though Long said that they had a lot of capable and dedicated people helping out, his response suggested that the new FEMA director finds the president's determination to cut funding, leave positions vacant, and weaken the agency acceptable. It should be noted that one of the positions left vacant and in need of a director is the National Hurricane Center.

Trump wants to distance himself from providing disaster relief aid

The president's presence in south Texas was praised only by those most loyal to Trump, which says very little about his popularity as he has also done very little to broaden his support. Otherwise, there were plenty of reasons for criticism he received as the president treated his appearances in Texas as having entertainment value. President Trump thanked the people for "coming out" to see him, saying that everyone should have a "good time" and then slammed the media, saying that they were not going into dangerous areas and taking credit for doing so when neither claim was true. In fact, it was the complete opposite.

Specifically, its been reported that some of Trump's cuts to FEMA will target grant funding to local and state organizations.

The administration has made it clear that they want the state and local governments to fund their own disaster relief. But President Trump's lack of effort to go into the areas that saw most of the devastation is no different from the way he wants to distance himself as a president from providing any help at all. Brock Long has said that at least with regard to Hurricane Harvey, FEMA will providing assistance for years to come.

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