Trump tells Irma victims, "we will endure and come back stronger than ever before"

U.S. President Donald Trump speaks during a meeting Republican Congressional leaders about tax reform at the White House in Washington, U.S., September 5, 2017.

Joshua Roberts / REUTERS

Last Updated Sep 8, 2017 2:58 PM EDT

President Trump on Friday urged vigilance in the face of Hurricane Irma's "absolutely historic, destructive potential" as it nears Florida, saying his administration is doing everything it can to help with preparation, restoration and rebuilding.

"This is a storm of absolutely historic, destructive potential," Mr. Trump said in his weekly address. "I ask everyone in the storm's path to be vigilant and to heed all recommendations from government officials and law enforcement. Nothing is more important than the safety and security of our people. We are doing everything we can to help with disaster preparation, and when the time comes, we will restore, recover and rebuild together as Americans. In times such as these, we see the strength and the resolve of the American spirit, and we see the kindness and courage of our people."

"With gratitude for our first responders and prayers for those in the storm's path, America stands united," the president added. "And I mean totally united. From Texas to Louisiana, from Florida to Puerto Rico, and always the U.S. Virgin Islands and everywhere in between, that has been affected by these terrible storms, we will endure and come back stronger than ever before."

Tom Bossert, the president's homeland security adviser, warned those in Irma's path of just how devastating the storm would be. He said federal and state officials in Florida are working to get more fuel to Florida, where gas stations are running out of gasoline. But Bossert said the window for sending fuel and other supplies is closing, and people should be prepared to go it alone without government assistance for 72 hours.

"At some point, people are going to be on their own, so to speak," Bossert said. 

Mr. Trump, accompanied by First Lady Melania Trump and cabinet members, is going to Camp David in Maryland this weekend to address the damage from Hurricane Harvey and Irma. Harvey could be the costliest natural disaster on record, with Texas' governor estimating the damage could be as much as $180 billion. Mr. Trump visited Texas last weekend, visiting with Harvey victims and meeting with volunteers. 

"It's a really bad one, but we are prepared at the highest level," Mr. Trump said, as he departed the White House for Camp David Friday.

Irma also threatens to destroy lives and property. The storm is tearing through the Caribbean -- first as a Category 5 storm, then dropping to a Category 4 -- with winds up to 150 mph, and Florida Gov. Rick Scott has urged everyone in the state to be prepared to evacuate, if they can. Several Trump properties in Florida have closed

As the U.S. grapples with fallout from Harvey and Irma, yet another storm has developed on Irma's heels. Hurricane Jose is also a Category 4 storm, and is fast approaching Caribbean islands. 

  • Kathryn Watson

    Kathryn Watson is a politics reporter for CBS News Digital.