Trump thanks Texas officials for hurricane response, reserves congratulations for when it’s ‘all finished’
ABCNews.com(CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas) — Thanking local government officials and emergency response leaders in Texas for their work in the aftermath of Tropical Storm Harvey, President Donald Trump on Tuesday stopped short of offering his “congratulations” for a job well done, saying there is still work to do.
“We won’t say congratulations,” Trump said in Corpus Christi, Texas, Tuesday. “We don’t want to do that. We don’t want to congratulate. We’ll congratulate each other when it’s all finished.”
The president is visiting parts of Texas ravaged by the storm, a milestone trip that is providing him with the opportunity to demonstrate his handling of a natural disaster as commander in chief.
Trump portrayed the situation at a briefing with Texas Gov. Greg Abbott and Federal Emergency Management Agency Director Brock Long as one that he hopes sets the standard for emergency response in coming years.
“We want to be looked at in five years, in ten years from now as: this is the way to do it,” Trump said. “This was of epic proportion. Nobody’s ever seen anything like this and I just want to say that working with the governor and his entire team has been an honor for us.”
Accompanied by first lady Melania Trump, the president touched down at 11:25 a.m. local time in Corpus Christi, where the hurricane made landfall Friday evening. Later, he’ll continue on to Austin for a tour of the Emergency Operations Center and participate in another hurricane briefing with state leaders.
He is expected to return to the White House Tuesday night.
Trump was accompanied by 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.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, who greeted the presidential party upon their arrival, told reporters shortly before Air Force One landed that it was important for the president to visit the state, and that Trump and his team have been talking about providing additional aid.
“We want him to see and understand the enormous challenges that Texas has faced and the need and the aid that he’s provided,” Abbott said.
During a news conference Monday, the president struck an optimistic tone that the Lone Star State would be “up and running very quickly” and expressed confidence that Congress would quickly approve whatever funds are necessary for recovery, beyond available funding from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
“We think you’re going to have what you need and it’s going to go fast,” he said.
He also expressed awe over the sheer size of the storm.
“It’s the biggest ever,” Trump said. “It’s historic. It’s really like Texas, if you think about it. But it is a historic amount of water in particular. There’s never been anything like it.”
The president Sunday announced he would be traveling to Texas as soon as it was feasible. But for now, at least, he plans to stay away from Houston and other areas of the state that were hit the hardest.
I will be going to Texas as soon as that trip can be made without causing disruption. The focus must be life and safety.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 27, 2017
Trump approved Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s request for a disaster proclamation Friday, activating a response from FEMA for relief to the state.
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