President Trump traveled to Texas and Louisiana Saturday for his second visit to the region since Hurricane Harvey made landfall and left devastation in its wake.
The president and first lady Melania Trump traveled to both Texas and Louisiana, as communities there grapple with the fallout from thousands of flooded homes and at least 40 deaths. In the Houston area, the president met with victims at a shelter, volunteers at a church, and neighbors in a residential block affected by the storm. In Louisiana, he met with members of the congressional delegation, and visited a National Guard Armory, where dozens of supporters greeted him with signs and flags.
"They were just happy ... a lot of happiness," the president said at his first stop at the shelter. "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 and his wife, 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 Penceearlier this week, clearing branches from a battered church in Corpus Christi.
The White House on Fridayfor an an initial Harvey relief package for things like housing assistance and home repairs. On Saturday, Mr. Trump increased the federal share of aid for disaster assistance in Texas to between 90 and 100 percent. The president said he thinks that request will move along quickly, with Congress returning to D.C. next week. The White House said at least 100,000 homes were affected by flooding, many of them without insurance.
The White House announced the president willtowards relief efforts. The president has not yet selected a charity for making the contribution.
Watch the video of the visit, all day, at the top of this article.
Follow along with live updates below throughout the day. All times are Eastern unless otherwise noted.
6:14 p.m. Air Force One departs Louisiana, en route for D.C.
The president's plane was wheels up at 6:14 p.m., with the president, first lady and cabinet members on board. Mr. Trump is headed back to D.C., with a busy week ahead of him as Congress returns.
5:24 p.m. Trump receives warm welcome at National Guard Armory
President Trump's motorcade pulled up to a crowd of people with American flags, Trump signs and "make America great again" hats outside the National Guard Armory in Lake Charles. Mr. Trump waved to the crowd as he passed.
"Welcome president and first lady Trump," one sign read.
"Louisiana loves Texas and our president!" another said, symbolizing "love" with a heart sign.
4:45 p.m.: Air Force One lands in Lake Charles, Louisiana
The president and his team arrived in Lake Charles to meet more victims and responders in the wake of Harvey. They were greeted by Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards, as well as Republican Sens. John Kennedy and Bill Cassidy.
3:55 p.m.: Trump thanks Coast Guard, Army; meets Texas delegation
Back at the airport, the president took time to speak with military personnel, shaking hands and exchanging smiles.
He also met with members of the Texas congressional delegation, including Democratic Reps. Sheila Jackson Lee and Al Green. Green has called for Mr. Trump's impeachment, and Jackson Lee has all but called for his impeachment.
But his focus was on the Coast Guard and Army personnel present.
"I hear the Coast Guard saved 11,000 people," the president said, adding the Coast Guard went into winds the media wouldn't dare go into, unless it was for a really good story.
Next, he heads to Louisiana.
3:22 p.m.: Trump stops in Texas neighborhood to talk to residents
The president's motorcade made a stop in a Houston area neighborhood, where Mr. Trump asked residents how bad the flooding had been there. The streets are now clear and dry, but residents said they were flooded quite recently.
One man said they were waiting for an ark to come down from the sky.
2:55 p.m.: Trump increases federal share of aid in disaster declaration
The White House released an announcement that the federal government is increasing the federal government's cost-sharing burden in Texas' disaster declaration.
The original disaster declaration, signed Aug. 25, said the federal government would fund 75 percent of costs related to public assistance, hazard mitigation and related needs. The amended disaster declaration increased that cost sharing to 90 percent federal funding for debris removal and 100 percent for emergency protective measures. Those provisions are in effect for the first 30 days of the storm, after which a 90 percent federal cost share will kick in.
2:41 p.m.: Trump congratulates audience at church for hard work
The president briefly addressed volunteers at the Pearland, Texas 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 and Texas Gov. Greg Abbott.
"I want to congratulate the governor," Mr. Trump said. "I want to congratulate everybody that's worked so hard. It's been an incredible five days, six days. It seems like it's been much longer than that, but actually it's going so well that it's going fast, in a certain sense."
"We've got a lot of hardworking people, I'll tell you that," Mr. Trump added.
The president pointed out that he declared Sunday a National Day of Prayer.
The president also thanked his cabinet members present for their work in the administration unrelated to the storm. The president highlighted Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, Department of Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson, and Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin.
The president said some have guessed recovery in Texas will take two or three years, but because it's Texas, it'll probably take six months.
On his way out, the president helped load a truck with a few supplies.
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."
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.
12:16 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 tweeted upon departure.
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.
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