Trump Visits Texas In Wake Of Harvey
HOUSTON - President Trump and first lady Melania Trump landed in Corpus Christi Tuesday afternoon to view firsthand the effects of Hurricane Harvey's flooding on Texas and its residents.
The unprecedented storm is the first major natural disaster of Mr. Trump's White House tenure. Nearly a quarter of Texas's population, roughly 6.8 million people, have been affected by Harvey's devastation. By Saturday, Texas could have up to 50 inches of rain in some areas, which is about equal to the state's annual rainfall.
As floodwaters rise and deluge the state, estimates of up to $30 billion have been forecast for Texas's rebuilding and recovery processes.
Mr. Trump thanked his cabinet and Abbott for their work relating to the storm thus far.
"This was of epic proportion, nobody's ever seen anything like this," Mr. Trump said.
Outside of the local fire station where the briefing took place, Mr. Trump addressed an assembled crowd of a few hundred.
"I will tell you, this is historic," he said. "It's epic, but you know what? It happened in Texas and Texas can handle anything."
At the conclusion of his brief remarks, Mr. Trump thanked Abbott, promised to get Texas "back and operating immediately" and waved a Lone Star flag, to which the crowd responded with cheers.
Later Tuesday, the Texas leaders will travel with Mr. Trump for a visit to Austin where the president will receive an additional briefing on the natural disaster's impact.
Mr. Trump will not visit Houston, which has borne the brunt of the flooding and is experiencing widespread destruction.
"The president wants to be very cautious about making sure that any activity doesn't disrupt the recovery efforts that are still ongoing," White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters Tuesday morning.
Also traveling with the president are Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price, acting Department of Homeland Security Secretary Elaine Duke, Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson, and Small Business Administration Administrator Linda McMahon. Sanders emphasized the important role these cabinet officials' agencies will play in recovery efforts in Texas going forward.
Mr. Trump spoke publicly for the first time since the tropical storm began in a joint press conference with President Sauli Niinistö of Finland Monday afternoon, saying that Texas's recovery following Harvey will be "long and difficult."
"We've pledged our full support as Texas and Louisiana recover from this devastating and historic storm," Mr. Trump said.
During the news conference, the president also said he believed Congress will be quick to provide federal relief to victims of the storm, adding that he expects to have funding requests on his desk "soon."
"I think you're going to be in fantastic shape, I've already spoken to Congress," Mr. Trump said, calling the storm both "epic" and "historic."
Mr. Trump also said he plans to visit either Louisiana or Texas on Saturday as well.
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