WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump traveled toTexas and Louisiana on Saturday to tourdamage caused by Hurricane Laura, a massive storm that leveled homes and businesses as it slammed ashore this week with 150-mph winds.
Trump visited Lake Charles, Louisiana, and Orange, Texas, meeting with first responders and local officials who are beginning to recover from the Category 4 storm, which made landfall Thursday.
The president, wearing a red hat that read “USA” on the front and “Trump” on back, arrived in Louisiana shortly after 1 p.m.ET. Reporters traveling with him could see blue tarps on houses and debris as Air Force One landed at Chennault International Airport.
Buildings were torn apart, windows left shattered and light posts ripped from the ground after Hurricane Laura tore through Lake Charles, Louisiana.
Trump toured a warehouse used for relief supplies and then traveled to a neighborhood near downtown Lake Charles, where he was joined by Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards, FEMA director Pete Gaynor and Chad Wolf, acting secretary of the Department of Homeland Security.
“This was a tremendously powerful storm,” Trump said in Lake Charles. “We have to take care of Louisiana. We have to take care of Texas.”
“We’ll supply what we have to supply and you know what a lot of that is, a thing called green,” Trump said. “We’ll take care of you.”
Trump took Marine One to Orange, later in the day.
Asked if he would travel to Kenosha, Wisconsin, where thousands protested Saturday in response to the police killing of Jacob Blake last weekend, Trump said “probably so” but offered no details about his plans. Trump declined to discuss Kyle Rittenhouse, the 17-year-old charged with intentional homicide and reckless homicide in the fatal shootings of two people during protests Tuesday.
“We are looking at it very, very carefully,” Trump said.
Hurricane Lauraleft tens of thousands without power and has been blamed for at least 14 deaths according to the Associated Press.
Trump signed a disaster declaration for Louisiana on Friday.
“Now it turned out we got a little bit lucky. It was very big. It was very powerful but it passed quickly,” Trump said Thursday during a visit to the headquarters of the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
The Louisiana Department of Health estimated that more than 220,000 people are without water. Restoration of those services could take weeks or months, and full rebuilding could take years.
Forty nursing homes were relying on generators, and assessments were underway to determine if more than 860 residents in 11 facilities that had been evacuated could return.
An early analysis by Accuweather predicts the total damage and economic loss caused by Laura to be $25 to $30 billion. Chuck Watson, a disaster modeler with Enki Research, estimated it to be $20 billion to $25 billion.
The remnants of Hurricane Laura continued to weaken Saturday as it moved toward the mid-Atlantic states, but it still carried a threat of tornadoes and heavy rain along the coast before exiting into the Atlantic Ocean.
Contributing: The Daily Advertiser, Doug Stanglin
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