The White House announced Aug. 31 that President Donald Trump will donate $1 million to the Hurricane Harvey relief effort.
White House press secretary Sarah Sanders told reporters about the decision, reports CNBC.
Sanders noted that Trump specifically told her to ask journalists for their opinion on which organizations Trump should donate to.
"As I said, he'll pledge probably $1 million of his own personal money to help the people of both Texas and Louisiana," Sanders added, CNBC reported.
Sanders stated that Trump will travel with first lady Melania Trump to Louisiana on Sept. 2. The details for the visit have yet to be finalized.
Trump came in for criticism after writing on Twitter that he had seen the devastation caused by Hurricane Harvey "first hand" during his visit to Texas on Aug. 29. Some reporters pointed out that he visited Corpus Christi and Austin, avoiding worse hit areas in Houston.
"He met with a number of state and local officials who are eating, sleeping, breathing the Harvey disaster," Sanders said in defense of Trump's remark, according to the Hill. "And detailed briefing information throughout the day yesterday talking to a lot of the people on the ground -- that certainly is a first-hand account."
The government's response to Harvey could be at risk. The Federal Emergency management Agency faces the threat of being caught up in a government shutdown if Congress cannot reach an agreement to increase the debt ceiling by Sept. 30. Trump has warned he would be willing to shut down the government if Democrats refuse to agree to funding for his planned wall on the border with Mexico.
In his proposed budget for 2018, Trump indicated cuts of $600 million to FEMA programs, equivalent to an 11 percent cutback. This, together with Republican efforts to provide $1.6 billion in funding for Trump's border wall, has triggered criticism.
A petition calling on Congress to make the $1.6 billion available to FEMA rather than the border wall secured more than 15,000 signatures by Aug. 30.
"This is an absolutely absurd and harmful plan and we can't let it happen," the petition reads, according to HuffPost.
FEMA Administrator Brock Long pointed out on Aug. 26 that the agency needs to be in Texas for the long haul.
"FEMA is going to be [in Texas] for years," he told a CNBC interviewer. "This disaster is going to be a landmark event."