Quick Takes: Play Dough vs FEMA

* Trump gave cartoonists a field day when he handed out play dough to the victims of flooding in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Still…he thinks this is relevant political commentary about President Obama’s visit there today:

* Perhaps Trump could comment on whether he thinks this kind of response is “too little, too late.”

Right now, FEMA, through its regional office in Denton, Texas, is highly engaged in response efforts in Louisiana as flooding continues across areas of the Gulf Coast. FEMA staff are on the ground in Louisiana as FEMA continues to coordinate closely with the Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness. FEMA is also monitoring potential flooding in Texas and in states across the Gulf Coast. As of this week, the Corporation for National and Community Service has assigned 310 AmeriCorps members serving through FEMA Corps to relief efforts, including 114 AmeriCorps members on the ground in Louisiana to support disaster assistance and other critical tasks and 196 members remotely staffing survivor call centers. In addition, 39 AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps (NCCC) members serving through the American Red Cross have deployed to Baton Rouge to support sheltering, disaster assessments, and feeding.

Here’s what FEMA is doing on the ground in Louisiana:

1. More than 979 housing inspectors are on the ground in Louisiana verifying damages reported by survivors who have registered for assistance. The number of inspectors is expected to increase rapidly over the next several days.
2. FEMA established an Incident Support Base in Camp Beauregard in Pineville, Louisiana to distribute supplies such as water, meals, cots and blankets to the state of Louisiana. These include over 800,000 liters of water, over 800,000 meals, over 20,000 cots, and 42,000 blankets.
3. FEMA Mobile Emergency Response Support (MERS) personnel and equipment are deployed to the Incident Support Base in Pineville to support the state with secure and non-secure voice, video and information services to support emergency response communications needs.
4. After the state requested a Federal Urban Search & Rescue task force, FEMA has deployed Texas Task Force 1 to Louisiana.
5. Six FEMA Incident Management Assistance Teams are deployed to Louisiana to support response activities and ensure there are no unmet needs.

* President Obama isn’t just visiting with flood victims in Baton Rouge today.

President Barack Obama — while on a trip to survey flood damage in Louisiana’s capital region on Tuesday — is expected to meet with relatives of three law enforcement officers who were shot dead in an ambush in Baton Rouge last month, a source with knowledge of the President’s schedule said.

* Donald Trump likes to brag about how has has and will continue to “hire all the best people.” If this is any indication, that might be his biggest lie of all.

Donald Trump’s paid campaign staffers have declared on their personal social media accounts that Muslims are unfit to be U.S. citizens, ridiculed Mexican accents, called for Secretary of State John Kerry to be hanged and stated their readiness for a possible civil war, according to a review by The Associated Press of their postings…

A graphic designer for Trump’s advance team approvingly posted video of a black man eating fried chicken and criticizing fellow blacks for ignorance, irresponsibility and having too many children. A Trump field organizer in Virginia declared that Muslims were seeking to impose Sharia law in America and that “those who understand Islam for what it is are gearing up for the fight.”

* In light of her recent “Carpool Karaoke” with James Cordon, Ted Johnson interviewed Michelle Obama on how she used pop culture to make an impact.

Obama, 52, calls herself “a product of pop culture.” She is convinced of its influence on the public consciousness — in her case to build awareness of her signature policy initiatives, specifically ones tied to healthy eating and exercise, girls’ education, support for military families, and college advancement.

She’s not the first first lady to tap the entertainment industry to deliver a message. Nancy Reagan famously appeared on “Diff’rent Strokes” to promote her anti-drug campaign, Just Say No. Laura Bush appeared on shows like “Rachael Ray,” promoting heart-disease awareness, and “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition,” promoting Katrina relief.

Obama, however, has taken things a step further — not just in magnitude, but with a certain degree of mirth.

“What I have never been afraid of is to be a little silly, and you can engage people that way,” Obama says in an interview with Variety in her upstairs White House office, decorated in an eclectic mix of abstract art and framed mementos from her tenure. “My view is, first you get them to laugh, then you get them to listen. So I’m always game for a good joke, and I’m not so formal in this role. There’s very little that we can’t do that people wouldn’t appreciate.”

* Finally, Hillary Clinton appeared on Jimmy Kimmel Live last night and may have spilled the beans about how she’s preparing to debate Donald Trump. Here’s a hint: it has something to do with pigtails and bullies.

Nancy LeTourneau

Nancy LeTourneau is a contributing writer for the Washington Monthly.