J ust before Hurricane Irma struck the coast of Florida, Governor Rick Scott convened one last press briefing to issue instructions to residents. After issuing stern warnings, he ended with encouragement, promising Florida’s residents that no matter what Irma would bring, “We will get through this together.”

Irma left behind extensive damage to life and property. The devastating storm also marked Rick Scott as a successful leader.

It’s hard to count how many lifesaving activities can be credited to him. Five days before the storm, Scott began urging residents to prepare for evacuation. He made sure there was fuel at gas stations until the last minute, going so far as to provide police escorts for gas tankers and promise police protection for station fillers who remained at work until the storm got too close. If that wasn’t enough, police patrol cars went from house to house calling on residents to evacuate. Anyone who had trouble reaching a shelter on their own was given a free shuttle service from their home. In the interim, he sought volunteer nurses to sit out the storm with special-needs residents, and even looked for shelters who would agree to accept residents with their pets.

The governor’s promise that the shelters would not refuse a single evacuee encouraged tens of thousands to seek safety, in addition to the millions of others who left the state. A curfew was put into effect only to make sure that there would be no needless risk to life.

True, the governor can’t claim all the credit for the state’s orderly response to the monster hurricane. There are established protocols for such natural disasters, and in this case a strong network of personnel throughout the state that did their jobs well. But when you watch Scott in action, radiating calm authority and facilitating a quiet, effective evacuation, you can’t help but tip your hat.

Another good word is also in place for President Trump, who exercised discretion and behaved in a statesmanlike manner, reducing his involvement in Twitter wars to zero and focusing his energy on dealing with the storms’ victims and damage. It was probably Trump’s most presidential week since his election.

Is this new Trump persona spurred by a decision to put politics aside for a moment, or part of a calculated change that’s been in the works since John Kelly took over as chief of staff? As the floodwaters ebb, the answer will grow clear. (Excerpted from Mishpacha, Issue 677)