President Trump Travels To Lake Charles To Survey Damage
LAKE CHARLES, La. (AP) — Fresh off the Republican National Convention, President Donald Trump flew to Louisiana on Saturday to survey the damage after Hurricane Laura. He is also to make a stop in Texas before returning to Washington.
The president is making the trip two days after the Category 4 storm slammed the Gulf Coast, leaving at least 14 dead and wreaking havoc with severe winds and flooding. While the storm surge has receded and the cleanup effort has begun, hundreds of thousands remain without power or water, and they could for weeks or months as the hot summer stretches on.
White House spokesman Judd Deere said President Trump wanted “to be with those who have been impacted by Hurricane Laura.” He is expected to survey storm damage and receive briefings on emergency operations and ongoing relief efforts.
As Air Force One came in for landing in hard-hit Lake Charles, President Trump got a bird’s eye view of the extensive damage, the smashed houses, downed power lines and trees, and debris strewn across the city of 80,000 people.
President Trump had earlier told reporters that he’d considered delaying his speech accepting his party’s nomination for a second term until Monday because the storm was coming.
’I was going to Texas. I was going to Louisiana, maybe Arkansas,” he said. “But now, it turned out, we got a little bit lucky. It was very big, it was very powerful, but it passed quickly. ”
After giving his acceptance speech Thursday night as planned, Trump held a raucous rally Friday evening in New Hampshire. After a powerful tornado ripped through Alabama last year, killing nearly two dozen people, Trump spent time with families who’d lost loved ones, listening to their stories and hugging them.
The U.S. toll from the storm, which packed 150-mph (240-kph) winds and a storm surge as high as 15 feet (4.5 meters), currently stands at 14 deaths, with more than half of those killed by carbon monoxide poisoning from the unsafe operation of generators. The hurricane also killed nearly two dozen people in Haiti and the Dominican Republic as it barreled toward the U.S.
Trump will also visit Orange, Texas, which was the worst-hit area in the state, but sustained far less damage than next-door Louisiana.
Weaker remnants of the hurricane continued to move across the southern U.S., unleashing heavy rain and isolated tornadoes. North Carolina and Virginia could get the brunt of the storm on Saturday, according to forecasters.