While visiting the Houston area on Saturday to meet with survivors of Hurricane Harvey, President Donald Trump told reporters that he is seeing “a lot of happiness,” Talking Points Memo reported.
“It’s been really nice,” Trump said of the visit. “It’s been a wonderful thing. As tough as this was, it’s been a wonderful thing, I think even for the country to watch it and for the world to watch. It’s been beautiful.”
According to the Associated Press, 43 people have died so far as a result of the hurricane — which scientists believe is the worst rainfall disaster in US history — and dozens more were injured.
Several toxic waste storage sites have also flooded since Harvey hit, posing possible health risks to people and wildlife in the area, according to an AP investigation.
When Trump was asked about the flooding, he replied, “The flooding? Oh, yeah, yeah, there’s a lot of water, but it’s leaving pretty quickly. But there’s a lot of water, a lot of water, but it’s moving out.”
As part of his visit to the Houston area, Trump and first lady Melania Trump stopped at the NRG Center, an emergency shelter for those displaced by Harvey. The Trumps were there for about 45 minutes, according to a pool report, and spent time with children and others who had lost their homes.
They also helped get food to survivors, with the first lady putting food into styrofoam boxes and the president handing them out to people in the shelter.
And as he was leaving the NRG Center, Trump told survivors to “have a good time.”
The worst of the hurricane was over by Thursday, but recovery from the rain and flooding in Texas and neighbouring Louisiana is expected to take months and cost upwards of $US125 billion, according to Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s estimate. That figure surpasses the $US100 billion mark set by Hurricane Katrina in 2005.
On Saturday, when Trump was asked about children who had been displaced by the storm, he said, “They’re doing great.”
This weekend’s trip was the first time Trump met with victims since the storm hit Texas and Louisiana. He flew to Corpus Christi Tuesday morning with the first lady to survey the damage and relief efforts, and made a stop in Austin to attend a briefing on emergency operations from Texas leadership.
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