MELANIA Trump is on the front pages this morning, accompanying her husband to Texas. Her outfit has drawn attention. Now I am far from a fashion icon, but can pass on that she was wearing aviator sunglasses, black tailored trousers, a FLOTUS baseball cap, bomber jacket and four-inch designer heels.
The heels were mocked on social media, so she changed to trainers, but kept the shades on. The ribbing seems unfair. After all, you need a bit of height if you are going to walk through a flood.
As for Donald Trump, he wore a totally unsuitable expression – part campaigning candidate, part weirdo without a clue, saying outside a fire station in Annaville, Corpus Christi: “What a crowd, what a turnout.”
The more the world puts up with him, the odder Trump seems. Arriving in a hurricane devastated, flooded state – with so much of Houston underwater and bodies being found – Trump seemed to suggest that the crowd had come just to see him.
But Trump always relates everything to himself. It’s as if the world is a big mirror in which he can check his hair hasn’t blown away and that he is still great, a great man.
Just what you need in days of devastation. A visit from a vain, egotistical president – and one who doesn’t even believe in the climate change which lies somewhere behind this disaster. “Many people are now saying that this is the worst storm-hurricane they have ever seen,” Trump tweeted, as if it were a reality TV competition between hurricanes, the Storm Apprentice.
As he toured Texas in the wake of hurricane Harvey, Trump had Arizona on his mind. He was less pleased with the turnout there for his recent rally, reportedly sacking George Gigicos, who organises his political events, because he thought the crowd in Phoenix was too patchy. Trump was in a grump about there being empty spaces in the convention centre.
Why is the president still campaigning to be president? So that he can gather the faithful few in a church of the absurd and bask in their adulation, while laying into the media and the opposition – who keep, you know, opposing him.
It’s all very odd, but then Trump is odd, the world is odd.
Living in a city that floods makes you aware of the devastation water can cause. We have friends who are still not back in their house after the floods of Boxing Day 2015. Yet nothing in York, however bad, compares to the destruction in Houston.
An interesting article in the New Yorker explains how this ethnically diverse city is exposed to flooding, thanks to a combination of geography, flatness, highways that become rivers, and a lack of proper planning control, with building on flood plains and so on.
That happens here, too. It’s as if we refuse to remember and forget the flood as soon as it’s gone. We’ve become Noah in reverse, closing our eyes to what is surely going to happen.
Incidentally, in Inishowen, County Donegal, a woman who gave birth to a baby boy last week after being stranded in the floods in the town of Clonmany has called her new son Noah. A cheerful note on which to end.