Trump to visit hurricane-ravaged Florida

Violet Powell
September 15, 2017

"The president and the entire administration continue to monitor the situation in Puerto Rico, the United States Virgin Islands, Florida, Texas and all areas affected by Hurricanes Irma and Harvey", spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said Tuesday.

President Donald Trump will travel to the Naples area as part of a visit to hurricane-damaged Florida on Thursday.

It was Trump's third such trip after a historic pair of late-summer storms made landfall seven months into his term.

This time, Trump made sure to connect with a community in recovery. He added that "I don't know what he's going to do".

Mr Trump, who was in and out of the state in less than three hours, got an aerial view of water-deluged homes along Florida's south-western coast from his helicopter, then drove in his motorcade along streets lined with felled trees, broken traffic lights and shuttered stores on his way to a mobile home community hit hard by the storm.

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Last week, Trump cut a deal with Democrats in Congress to provide more than $15 billion in disaster aid for Harvey, while raising the USA government's borrowing limit and funding the government through December 8.

The death toll from Irma stood at 81, with several hard-hit Caribbean islands accounting for more than half the fatalities, and officials continued to assess damage inflicted by the second major hurricane to strike the US mainland this year.

"What do I know, but I hope this man right here, Rick Scott, runs for the Senate", Trump said in Fort Myers. Almost 2.7 million homes and businesses, about 1 in 4 Florida customers, remain without power. Another told Trump that he "married well".

The remarks came after Trump praised federal and state officials for their response to Hurricane Irma as he visited Naples and Fort Myers on the state's southwestern coast. Widespread outages led to long lines outside of the relatively few stores, gas stations and restaurants that had reopened. In Naples, the Collier County Public School District remains closed and will not reopen until next week.

Ken Thomas reported from Washington.

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