President Donald Trump had a parting message on Friday for the more than 4.6 million Americans who are in the direct path of Hurricane Harvey, a massive storm set to ram through Texas’ Gulf Coast this weekend: “Good luck.”
Asked what his message was for those who could be affected by the hurricane, Trump gave a big thumbs up to reporters and wished the best of luck.
“Good luck to everybody,” he said as he was boarding Marine One outside of the White House. “They’re gonna be safe. Good luck to everybody. Good luck.”
Forecasters predict that Hurricane Harvey could slam the Texas coast right before the weekend as a Category 3 storm, bringing winds in excess of 120 mph and dumping more than 25 inches of rain. The storm is gaining power in the Gulf of Mexico as the National Hurricane Center expects it to bring “life-threatening and devastating flooding.”
“Trump facing first serious crises with Hurricane Harvey,” conservative internet news mogul Matt Drudge tweeted Thursday. “130 mph winds Texas coast, 25-inches of rain Houston. It’s about to get real…”
Speaking during Friday’s press briefing, Trump’s homeland security adviser, Thomas Bossert, said he and chief of staff John Kelly have been giving Trump regular briefings on the storm and have him in touch with acting Homeland Security Secretary Elaine Duke and Federal Emergency Management Agency Administrator Brock Long.
Asked whether Trump is prepared to lead during what could be the first major natural disaster of his presidency, Bossert said “this is right up President Trump’s alley.”
“Not only has he shown leadership here, but his entire focus has been on making America great again,” Bossert said. “He’s focused on the Americans who voted him into office, he’s focused on the Americans that didn’t vote him into office. He’s focused on effecting positive change in this country. And when we go in and brief him on the preparations for this hurricane, he is acutely focused on making sure that — and just the right thing by the way — that the American people in the storm’s path have what they need.”
“His questions weren’t about geopolitical issues or about large political consequences,” he continued. “His questions were about are you doing what it takes to help the people that are going to be affected by this storm.”
The White House released a statement shortly after the briefing that said Trump “continues to closely monitor Hurricane Harvey and the preparedness and response efforts of state, local, and federal officials,” noting his briefing with Duke, Bossert, Kelly, and Long. The White House said Trump spoke with Govs. Greg Abbott of Texas and John Bel Edwards of Louisiana “and committed to providing assistance as appropriate.”
“This storm will likely be very destructive for several days,” the White House said. “The President encourages people in the path of this dangerous storm to heed the advice and orders of their local and state officials. The president’s highest priority is the safety of the public and of first responders. Those who ignore evacuation orders could be putting both themselves and first responders in danger. We encourage all Americans in the affected areas to be prepared, including by visiting Ready.gov, which provides preparedness plans and important links to information.”
Trump tweeted Friday from his personal account that he encourages “everyone in the path” of the storm “to heed the advice & orders of their local and state officials.”
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