Trump in Florida for Hurricane Irma briefings — live updates – CBS News
President Trump ison Thursday to meet with local officials and first responders to hear of the impacts of Hurricane Irma firsthand.
Mr. Trump, joined by First Lady Melania Trump, arrived at the Fort Myers area and will also visit the Naples area where he is expected to be briefed on recovery efforts in the region.
Vice President Mike Pence also joined the president on the trip.
Mr. Trump tweeted early Thursday morning that he would be visiting the area to see “our GREAT first responders and to thank the U.S. Cost Guard, FEMA etc.”
He called the impacts a “real disaster” and said that were was “much work do.”
Irma has devastated Florida, causing at least 25 deaths as of Wednesday morning, and leaving millions without power. Of those killed were eight patients at a after Irma knocked out their air conditioning.The storm struck the Florida Keys as a Category 4 storm, and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) estimated 25 percent of homes in the Keys are destroyed.
However, Mr. Trump told reporters at the White House on Thursday that local officials on the ground are doing a “great job” on power restoration.
“Historically there’s never been anything like this, but the U.S. Coast Guard, FEMA, working with Gov. Scott, they’ve really done an amazing job, power is turning on rapidly,” said Mr. Trump.
He added, “we have the largest assembling of human beings ever for power and rapidly it’s being turned on, so were very happy with that.”
During questions with reporters Thursday morning,with Democrats Rep. Nancy Pelosi and Sen. Chuck Schumer Wednesday night, saying that the border wall would be built “a little bit later.”
“We want to get massive border security and I think that both Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer I think they agree with it, but we met last night and I think were fairly close but we have to get massive border security,” he added.
The president made a similar stop last week after Hurricane Harvey left the Houston, Texas area deluged by rising flood waters. While he did not see any damage caused by Harvey, he met with storm victims that were forced into shelters during the storm.
Follow along for live updates of Trump’s Naples trip:
Trump thanks media for “understanding”
In a rare moment for the often media-critical president, Mr. Trump told reporters, “We appreciate your being so understanding, it’s been a very tough period of time even for you folks, we appreciate your understanding.”
Trump: Keys was a very special problem
“We’re deadset on that,” said Mr. Trump of rebuilding efforts in the Florida Keys, the hardest hit area in the state.
Pence told responders that the administration will be with all the victims until Florida rebuilds again.
Trump calls response to Irma “incredible”
He credited the small amount of lives lost to the work of the U.S. Coast Guard and first responders working during the storm, but urged to them, “I don’t want to see you next week in another place, I’ve seen you enough.”
Mr. Trump applauded the work of Gov. Scott, saying he’s been “talked about all over” as well as the work being done in order to restore power to the region.
“They’re way ahead of schedule, there are more electrical people in this state than I think accumulated anywhere in the world, added Mr. Trump.
The president gave a strong hand shake with Sen. Rubio, telling the Republican “you were really helpful.”
Mr. Trump then took the time to predict a senate run for Gov. Scott, telling reporters, “I have to say, what do I know, but I hope this man runs for the Senate.” He told Scott, “at a certain point it ends for you but I don’t want it to end, I hope he runs for the Senate.”
Trump talks DACA, tax reform in Florida
“We’re working on a deal, very important is the wall to me and we have to know the wall will not be obstructed,” said Mr. Trump of the border security package discussions with Democrats Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer.
Mr. Trump said in regards to offering protections to “Dreamers” he said the administraiton is not looking at offering citizenship or amnesty, but that the White House wants to “do something.”
“We’re talking about taking care of people, people brought here that have done a good job. But very importantly what we want we have to have a wall, added Mr. Trump.
The president acknolwedged crticiszmg from Conservatives, saying all DACA negotiations are being done “in conjunction with Republicans” but warned he would only cut a deal if he geets a “extreme security” package.
“If we don’t have the wall we’re doing nothing,” he pressed, adding funding would be addressed “either in the budget or some other vehicle.”
The president also told reporters that his priority remains on the middle class as the administration eyes tax reform on their to-do list of agenda setting measures.
Trump, first lady land in Florida
The president and first lady touch down in Fort Myers as Mr. Trump greets Florida Governor Rick Scott, Florida Senator Marco Rubio and FEMA administrator Brock Long on the airport tarmac.
Pence lands in Florida ahead of POTUS arrival
Vice President Mike Pence touches down at the Fort Myers airport ahead of Mr. Trump’s arrival. He is expected to shadow the president’s trip, joining in on briefings by FEMA officials.
Melania tweets from Marine One
The first lady says she’s set to meet with FEMA and “people affected by #HurricaneIrma”, tweeting out a video as she lifts off from the South Lawn en route to Joint Andrews air force base.
Trump, first lady depart White House for Florida
The president and first lady head into Marine One to embark on their trip to the region. Mr. Trump addresses reporters before leaving the South Law, saying, “Historically there’s never been anything like this.”
Mr. Trump calls the efforts to restore power to the region “the largest assembling of human beings ever for power and rapidly it’s being turned on so were very happy with that.”
Trump tweets Irma is a “real disaster
President Trump tweets in the early morning of his trip to Florida, calling Hurricane Irma a “real disaster” and that there was “much work to do” in the relief efforts.
“Am leaving now for Florida to see our GREAT first responders and to thank the U.S. Coast Guard, FEMA etc.,” he wrote.