HOUSTON, Sept 2 (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump took up the mantle of “comforter-in-chief” in a visit to storm-wracked Houston as he played with children and served up food to evacuees from Hurricane Harvey, the first major natural disaster of his eight months in office.
In a widely watched test of his presidential mien, Trump comforted victims and thanked volunteers and first responders after being criticized earlier in the week for not showing sufficient empathy to Texas residents during catastrophic flooding.
Trump, 71, was joined by his wife, Melania, as he passed out food and hugged, kissed and played with children at the “kid zone” in Houston’s NRG Center, a 700,000-square-foot (65,000 square meter) facility that was turned in to the city’s largest emergency shelter.
The day was a rare glimpse into Trump’s interactions with everyday Americans outside his campaign-style rallies. The former real estate magnate appeared relaxed as he posed for photographs with volunteers and chatted with evacuees alongside Texas Governor Greg Abbott.
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