UPDATED with Trump remarks following Corpus Christi press conference: “Thank you everybody. What a crowd! What a turnout!” President Donald Trump raved to locals outside after holding his press conference Tuesday in Texas.
“We’re here to take care and it’s going well…We’re going to get you back and operating immediately,” he promised. Trump again thanked Texas Gov. Greg Abbott for doing a “fantastic job,” also thanking the state’s Republican senators, Ted Cruz and John Cornyn for coming to his event.
“I will tell you, this is historic, epic what happened,” Trump enthused. “But, you know what? It happened in Texas and Texas can handle anything!” he added, holding up a state flag to enthusiastic response from onlookers.
PREVIOUS: “It’s my honor to be in this very special place in this special state,” President Donald Trump said today at a press conference in Corpus Christi, Texas, as flooding from Hurricane Harvey continued to pound the state.
Trump thanked Sen. Ted Cruz for attending, saying he knew how “hard” it was for Cruz to get there, what with the storm and everything. He thanked local officials at the presser who have been working on hurricane relief efforts, including one Trump singled out as having “become famous on television in the last few days.”
“We want to do it better than ever before,” Trump said of the relief effort. “We want to be looked at in five years, 10 years from now, as ‘This is the way to do it’.”
“This was of epic proportions,” Trump continued. “Nobody has ever seen anything like this. And I just want to say that working with your governor and his entire team has been an honor for us. So, Governor, thank you again very much,” he said, addressing Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, who was seated by his side.
Answering those TV pundits waiting with bated breath to see if Trump would continue the boastful tone he’d set in his weekend tweets about the hurricane relief effort, Trump advised Abbott: “We won’t say ‘congratulations.’ We don’t want to do that. We will congratulate each other when it’s all finished. But you have done terrific. And you been my friend too, for a long time.”
The presser ended without the Trumps sending any compassionate word to those still awaiting rescue, or families whose loved ones are among those already known to have perished in the weather disaster.
President Trump’s plane had touched down in Corpus Christi, which has not been hit by Harvey, as, about 200 miles away, Houston-area residents absorbed news their already dire situation “will be worse” as the storm continues to pound the area. Mandatory evacuations were being ordered as water flowed over levees, and officials scrambled to find more mega-shelters and food to accommodate the newly homeless:
The hurricane that hit Texas on Friday, which Trump boasted had offered him the chance to announce his pardon of ex-sheriff Joe Arpaio to boffo TV ratings, has set a new continental U.S. rainfall record of 49 inches, with more to come. About 6,000 have been rescued, with thousands more still waiting to be plucked from the tops of houses and cars.
Throughout the morning, Houston area residents were informed of mandatory evacuations as levees were breached. Additional national guard help has been requested, and FEMA has been asked state to deliver cots and food, which Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner said at a presser, “hopefully will get here as soon as possible, no later than some time tomorrow.”
At a markedly different press conference held before Trump’s, Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo became a TV darling when he sent stern warning to crooks trying to take advantage of the situation.
“We’re not just in search and rescue mode; we’re, still in law enforcement and public safety mode,” he said noting cops on Monday pursued and arrested a gang robbing community members.
“Here is what I’ like to say to people who would take advantage of individuals: This is the state of Texas, and we’re a welcoming city. But we are not going to tolerate people victimizing, especially committing armed robberies, in our community. We’re going to catch you… When you prey on people under these circumstances, that’s despicable behavior and we’re going to push hard to make sure you don’t see the sunlight any time soon.”
The police chief also had a warning for reporters covering the hurricane and flooding: “For all the Monday morning quarterbacking out there: you can’t talk about hindsight, because there is no hindsight in terms of an event that’s never occurred.”