Hurricane Harvey may have proven that "it's an ill wind that blows nobody good." At least, that seemed to be the case for Texas Gov. Greg Abbott and President Donald Trump.
The hurricane, which arrived in Port Aransas Aug. 25, and hung around Texas for several days, gave them an opportunity to actually look like leaders, at least for a while.
Natural disasters allow chief executives to have emergency meetings, hold press briefings, and get some good TV about what's being done.
Abbott had just been through a special legislative session, made necessary by Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick killing a bill during the regular legislative session necessary to keep some regulatory agencies operating.
Patrick's purpose was to get another shot at passing a controversial bill to regulate use of bathrooms by transgender people.
So Abbott had to call a special session. To help justify doing so, he loaded it up with other issues – of which fewer than half passed.
Trump had been unsuccessful in demands for the U.S. Senate to repeal and replace Obamacare, and his administration was limping along with many unfilled positions and unfulfilled campaign promises.
So both Abbott and Trump toured hard-hit areas along the Texas Coast. Abbott got to mobilize the National Guard.
Trump said the federal government, the main provider for rebuilding in the wake of a hurricane, would be there to help. His dismal job approval rating actually ticked up a little, for the first time since his inauguration.
Abbott also got applause for naming Texas A&M Chancellor John Sharp, a Democrat and savvy former state comptroller, railroad commissioner and Texas House and Senate member, to oversee a state commission managing the state's recovery effort in Harvey's wake.
Abbott and Sharp spent a few days traveling to several Texas cities that had been victims of Harvey, to meet with local leaders, assess needs, and promise recovery and rebuilding help.
Meanwhile, Trump was facing dealing with Hurricane Irma, which tore up several Caribbean islands and Florida, and Maria, which devastated Puerto Rico and other islands.
Trump, plus his job approval rating, probably would have been better off had he kept responding to natural disasters. But, in his first appearance before the United Nations as president, Trump reverted to his campaign habits of making over-the-top threats, and bestowing derisive nicknames.
As if essentially challenging North Korea to go to war were not enough, Trump took on the National Football League.
His complaint was over the gesture by former San Francisco quarterback Colin Kaepernick's symbolic gesture of going down to one knee during the pre-game playing of the "Star Spangled Banner," to protest the killing of several African-Americans by white law officers.
During a free-ranging campaign-style speech in Alabama Friday ((9/23) to plug the election of Chance, who had been appointed to replace Atty. Gen. Jeff Sessions, Trump couldn't resist blasting Kaepernick.
"Wouldn't you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say 'Get that son of a bitch off the field right now. Out! He's fired. He's fired!" Trump declared.
That produced a backfire over the weekend, as pro footballers, 70 percent of whom are African-American like Kaepernick, read this as a rejection of their right to free speech.
At game after game Sunday, all over the country, almost all of the pro teams' players either took a knee, or locked arms, to demonstrate their cohesiveness in opposing Trump's criticism. Several team owners, some of them Trump supporters and donors, joined the players' protests.
Trump further irked the pro sports world in a huff over Golden State Warriors' star Stephen Curry's indication he would not accompany the National Basketball Association championship team for a traditional White House ceremony honoring the league's victors.
Trump retaliated early Saturday morning ((9/23)) on Twitter, by withdrawing the team's invitation.
"Going to the White House is considered a great honor for a championship team.Stephen Curry is hesitating,therefore invitation is withdrawn!"
Cleveland Basketball star LeBron James probably summed up the attitude of most of the pro athletes with his own tweet less than three hours later:
"U bum @StephenCurry30 already said he ain't going! So therefore ain't no invite. Going to White House was a great honor until you showed up!"
Perhaps continuing to deal with the aftermath of hurricanes, as Abbott did, would have been a wiser move for the president.