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Donald Trump to visit Texas, survey Harvey damage

Click to play video 'Heavy rains flood Texas after being hit by Hurricane Harvey' Heavy rains flood Texas after being hit by Hurricane Harvey
WATCH: Heavy rains flood Texas after being hit by Hurricane Harvey – Aug 27, 2017

President Donald Trump will visit Texas on Tuesday to survey storm damage caused by Harvey, the first major U.S. natural disaster since he took office in January, the White House said on Sunday.

Harvey came ashore late on Friday as the most powerful hurricane to hit Texas in more than 50 years and has killed at least two people. The death toll is expected to rise as the storm lashes the state for days, triggering record floods, tidal surges and tornadoes.

“The president will travel to Texas on Tuesday,” White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said in a statement. “We are coordinating logistics with state and local officials, and once details are finalized, we will let you know. We continue to keep all of those affected in our thoughts and prayers.”

READ MORE: Tropical Storm Harvey causing catastrophic flooding in Houston, thousands flee homes

The widespread flooding caused by Harvey in Texas, including in Houston, the fourth most populous U.S. city, is the first test of how Trump, who never previously held political office, responds to a major storm on his watch.

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Former President George W. Bush, a fellow Republican, was sharply criticized for his handling of Hurricane Katrina in 2005, the last time a storm of Harvey’s magnitude struck the United States. Bush was called insensitive for not initially visiting New Orleans, hard hit by Katrina, and instead releasing a photo of himself looking out a plane window at the damage.

WATCH: Alabama residents reflect on Hurricane Katrina 11 years later

Click to play video 'Alabama residents reflect on Hurricane Katrina 11 years later' Alabama residents reflect on Hurricane Katrina 11 years later
Alabama residents reflect on Hurricane Katrina 11 years later – Aug 29, 2016

Since the president travels with a large retinue of Secret Service agents and under a rigorous security protocol, most administrations avoid visiting during the height of natural disasters for fear they will pull resources away from rescue and aid attempts.

During a video conference with his Cabinet on Sunday afternoon, Trump “reminded everyone that search and rescue efforts will transition to mass care, restoring power, providing life-sustaining necessities for the population that sheltered in place, and economic recovery,” according to a White House statement.

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READ MORE: Houston TV news crew helps rescue truck driver stranded in floodwaters

A year ago, Trump, then the Republican presidential nominee, and his running mate, Mike Pence, toured the scenes of major flooding in Louisiana and criticized Democratic President Barack Obama for vacationing at Martha’s Vineyard in Massachusetts during the storm.

Trump spent Saturday and part of Sunday at the Camp David presidential retreat in Maryland where he tweeted frequently about Harvey and other issues.

WATCH: Incredible raw video captures full force of Hurricane Harvey as it hits Fulton, TX


Texas Governor Greg Abbott told a news conference on Sunday that coordination with the Federal Emergency Management Agency and its new director, Brock Long, was going smoothly.

Long said Harvey’s effects would last for years.

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“This disaster is going to be a landmark event,” Long told CNN on Sunday. “We’re setting up and gearing up for the next couple of years.”