Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) — President Donald Trump met with emergency responders in Florida on Thursday, thanking them for what he called their “incredible” work after Hurricane Irma hit the state over the weekend.
The president and first lady Melania Trump — both sporting white baseball hats — were greeted on the tarmac by Vice President Mike Pence, who landed a bit before the Trumps; Florida Gov. Rick Scott and his wife; Florida Sen. Marco Rubio; state Attorney General Pam Bondi; and the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s administrator, Brock Long.
“People thought thousands and thousands of people may have their lives ended, and the number is a very small number, which is a great tribute to you,” Trump said to the first responders.
He praised FEMA and the Coast Guard and “the job you’ve done in saving people and saving lives.”
Trump also said they are “way ahead of schedule” in restoring power back to parts of Florida.
The president publicly thanked Rubio, who ran against Trump in the GOP presidential primary and has had a troubled relationship with him, for the senator’s work in response to Irma. Trump also suggested that Gov. Scott run for Senate in 2018 to challenge the state’s other U.S. senator, Democrat Bill Nelson.
Trump addressed what he called the “very special problem” in the Florida Keys, where 90 percent of homes had at least some damage, according to FEMA.
“We’re working very hard on that, and we have a lot of goods out there, a lot of water, food, a lot of everything,” the president said.
He also went to Naples, Florida, to meet with Hurricane Irma victims.
“We are there for you 100 percent,” Trump said as he toured the damaged neighborhood, promising that he would be back to Florida “numerous times.” He and the first lady handed out food and shook hands with the hurricane survivors.
An official confirmed to ABC News that a visit by the president to the U.S. Virgin Islands, which was also hit by the hurricane, is a possibility, and said that if it does occur, it wouldn’t happen until next week at the earliest.
This is the third trip Trump has made in response to a natural disaster. After record flooding from Hurricane Harvey devastated parts of Texas earlier this month, Trump made two visits — first to Corpus Christi and Austin on Aug. 29, and later to Houston on Sept. 2.
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