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Trump Makes First Stop in Storm-Torn Florida

Trump Makes First Stop in Storm-Torn Florida”

US President Donald Trump has arrived in Florida to assess the destruction caused by Hurricane Irma.

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. "We appreciate you being so understanding", he said.

"We love the people of Florida and they went through something that, I guess, the likes of which we could really say nobody's ever seen before", Trump said in Naples.

Fort Myers and Naples were among the cities hit hard by Irma, which made landfall in the state Sunday morning as a risky Category 4 storm. "I think it just solidifies, we live in the greatest country in the world", he said. Trump defeated Democrat Hillary Clinton in Florida a year ago by about 1 percentage point. As Trump visited Florida, French President Emmanuel Macron wrapped up a visit to the French overseas territories of Saint Martin and Saint Barts, two Caribbean resort islands which were devastated by Hurricane Irma. "You've got pretty much every federal government agency trying to play a role to help out local communities like the one I'm standing in today".

It's Trump's third such trip after a historic pair of late-summer storms made landfall seven months into his term.

Visiting Texas a few days after Trump, Pence took a more active approach, clearing downed tree branches in a sweat-soaked shirt and leading a prayer circle at a damaged church.

On his second visit, to Texas and Louisiana, he was more hands-on.

Before heading to Florida, Trump praised recovery efforts on his Twitter page.

In the Florida Keys, the hardest-hit part of the state, hundreds of people lined up in a shopping center parking lot Wednesday, grateful for the food and water being handed out by soldiers and the National Guard. He hewed toward hearty handshakes and enthusiastic promises rather than hugs and tears, but he was well received by people grappling with the storm.

In Lee County, which includes Cape Coral and Fort Myers, the Florida Emergency Management Agency said 66 percent of the area's 290,000 electrical customers were still without power Wednesday. Gas stations along the way advertised that they didn't have fuel.

Around 115 of the nursing home residents were evacuated after a nearby hospital began receiving patients suffering from heat-related problems as there was no air conditioning due to power outages.

Thomas reported from Washington.



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