Trump administration officials are scrambling to shore up the public’s trust in the federal response to Hurricane Harvey, a week after the storm made landfall in Texas and left tens of thousands homeless.
On Monday, the Justice Department announced that it had begun collecting data on the public response to the storm and the Justice’s Office of the Inspector General is examining whether to look into whether the Justice department’s response was thorough enough, the Wall Street, Washington Post and USA Today news agencies reported.
“This is really a matter of trust,” said Matt Miller, an attorney for the New York Attorney General’s office, who has been pushing for the Justice to investigate.
Miller and other officials in the Trump Justice Department have argued that they have done a great job at building trust with the public, but that their actions have created the appearance of impropriety.
The public’s confidence in the government’s response has fallen dramatically in recent weeks after the department released a list of federal officials it said were involved in the response.
Trump has also been under fire for not releasing the full number of people who have died in Hurricane Katrina and his administration has been under scrutiny for not doing enough to help the city recover.
In response to questions about the Justice report, Miller and others pointed to Trump’s public statements about the disaster and said the president is using his powers to get what he wants, without any accountability.
“He’s putting himself in a position where he can do what he likes to the president, without accountability,” Miller said.
“We believe he should have been held accountable for his own actions and actions of his administration.
The president is putting himself into a position of power where he is able to get whatever he wants.”
On Friday, Trump said he will “leave it up to Congress” to decide whether the federal government will be reimbursed for the cost of disaster relief for the victims of Hurricane Harvey.
“I don’t know if I can say that I’m going to get reimbursed,” Trump said.