Trump Visits Harvey Victims In Houston

Saturday, September 2nd 2017, 3:00 pm
By: News On 6

President Trump on Saturday is in Texas for his second visit since Hurricane Harvey hit, this time to meet with victims of the deadly storm. 

The president and first lady Melania Trump departed from the White House Saturday morning to travel to both Texas and Louisiana, as communities there grapple with the fallout from thousands of flooded homes and at least 40 deaths. 

The president and his wife visited Texas on Tuesday, but didn't meet with victims of the devastation, prompting some to criticize the president. Mr. Trump gave an off-the-cuff speech to some supporters at a firehouse in Corpus Christi, Texas, where he exclaimed, "What a crowd, what a turnout."

Vice President Mike Pence also visited Texas earlier this week, clearing branches from a battered church in Corpus Christi. 

The White House on Friday requested $7.9 billion for an an initial Harvey relief package for things like housing assistance and home repairs. The White House said at least 100,000 homes were affected by flooding, many of them without insurance. 

The White House announced the president will donate $1 million of his personal funds towards relief efforts. The president has not yet selected a charity for making the contribution. 

Follow along with live updates below throughout the day. All times are Eastern unless otherwise noted.

2:41 p.m. Trump congratulates audience at church for their hard work 

The president briefly addressed volunteers at the Houston church being used as a distribution center, saying the last few days had been incredible. The president offered "congratulations" to everyone for their hard work, including Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas. 

"We've got a lot of hardworking people, I'll tell you that," Mr. Trump said. 

The president pointed out that he declared Sunday a National Day of Prayer.

2:31 p.m.: Trump welcomed at church functioning as distribution center

The president's motorcade arrived at "First Church" in Houston, which is being used to distribute supplies for victims of the storm. 

On the way, the motorcade passed debris in the streets, including couches, wood panels and rugs, but the roads were dry. Supporters waived American flags near the church. 

Inside the church, people cheered as the president and his team entered. 

1:34 p.m.: Trump says he's seen a lot of "happiness" in victims

President Trump said the families he's spoken with at the stadium-turned-shelter seem happy.

"They were just happy ... a lot of happiness," the president said. "It's been very nice. It's been a wonderful thing. It's – as tough as this was, it's been a wonderful thing. I think even for the country to watch and for the world to watch. It's been beautiful. Have a good time everybody, I'm going to be doing a little help over here."

The president also said the White House is working on a lot of documents to get federal funding to the area, and quickly.

"We're signing a lot of documents now to get money into Houston," the president said, referencing the $7.9 billion aid request on its way to Congress. 

The president helped serve lunch to people staying at the shelter, shaking some hands along the way. At one point the president said he couldn't put gloves on because his hands were "too big."

At Houston shelter, Trump says Harvey relief is on the way

1:05 p.m. Trump visits with victims at NRG Stadium in Houston

The president's motorcade arrived at NRG stadium in the Houston area, which is being used as a shelter. Families and children were observed resting and playing, surrounded by supplies.

A handful of people came up to greet the president and the first lady -- and take a selfie.

The president was soon flocked by a handful of young children, and he picked up one girl. 

12:56 p.m.: Trump tweets support for Texas on way to meet victims 

The president and his team took off for their first stop in Texas.

12:16 p.m.: Air Force one lands in Texas

Air Force one landed in Ellington Field, Texas, shortly after noon. 

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott greeted the president, on one of the Houston area's first days of sunshine since Hurricane Harvey unleashed torrential and seemingly endless rain on the area. 

White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said the following members of the administration are with the president:

  • Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos
  • Department of Housing and Urban Development Ben Carson
  • Secretary of Veterans Affairs David Shulkin
  • Chief of Staff John Kelly
  • Elaine Duke, acting Homeland Security secretary 
  • Homeland Security Adviser Tom Bossert

According to the White House press pool, there was some flooding visible from the plane. Here is one image from the president's flight, per the pool.

9:52 a.m. : Air Force One departs for Texas

The president and first lady are on their way to Texas, boarding Air Force One at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland on a cold and rainy morning.

The president and first lady aren't alone. They're accompanied by some top administration staff, including Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos. Many schools in Texas are delaying start dates, as they recover from historic flooding.