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Visiting Florida, Trump Praises 'Incredible' First Responders, State Officials

15 September 2017
Visiting Florida, Trump Praises 'Incredible' First Responders, State Officials

Trump tweeted Wednesday that he planned to meet "with our great Coast Guard, FEMA and numerous courageous first responders & others".

It was a weird turn of events for a president who's been inclined recently to turn to Democrats to jump-start legislative imperatives, and it came just days after Trump and the Democratic leaders agreed to back a three-month extension of the debt limit in order to speed federal financial assistance to hurricane-ravaged Southern states.

Irma, one of the most powerful Atlantic storms on record, has so far killed at least 80 people as it swept through the Caribbean and south Florida.

The US Coast Guard transported 78 adults, 21 children, and 13 pets from the U.S. Virgin Islands following Hurricane Irma.

Fort Myers sits north of where Hurricane Irma made landfall over the weekend, though the area did suffer some damage.

"We are with you today, we are going to be with you tomorrow and we will be with you rebuilding Florida bigger and better", Pence said.

Quoting back from Gov. Rick Scott's praise for the federal government's responsiveness, Trump added: "As Rick said, we have been very, very fast, and we had to be".

The president tells reporters at the White House that "power is being turned on rapidly", and the state's leaders and emergency responders are doing an "amazing job" in helping the state respond to the massive storm.

Scott hasn't decided on a future Senate campaign.

After Harvey struck Texas, Trump drew criticism for having minimal interaction with residents during his first trip in late August. He saw little damage and offered few expressions of concern.

Greeting storm victims in Naples, Trump offered "100 percent" support to the people of Florida, calling them "special, special people and we love them".

Scott, standing nearby, didn't address Trump's political invitation, but heartily thanked all those helping his "devastated" state to recover.

On his second visit, to Texas and Louisiana, he was more hands-on.