President Trump delivered a statement as Hurricane Irma gave Florida a coast-to-coast pummeling with winds up to 130 mph on Sunday. Hurricane Irma swamped homes and boats, knocked out power to millions and toppled massive construction cranes over the Miami skyline.
The Telegraph reports,
The 400-mile-wide storm blew ashore in the mostly cleared-out Florida Keys, then marched up its western coast, its punishing winds extending clear across to Miami and West Palm Beach on the Atlantic side.
Irma was nearing the heavily populated Tampa-St. Petersburg area late on Sunday, though in a much-weakened state.
While it arrived in Florida a Category 4 hurricane, by nightfall it was down to a Category 2 with winds of 100 mph (160 kph). Meanwhile, more than 160,000 people waited in shelters statewide as Irma headed up the coast.
President Donald Trump has said the US may have got a “little bit lucky” after Hurricane Irma veered from its original course and headed west along Florida’s coast.
He said Irma may not have been quite as destructive as a result, but that things will play out over the next several hours.
Mr Trump addressed reporters on Sunday after returning to the White House from Camp David, the presidential retreat in Maryland where he spent the weekend monitoring the storm.
Irma will cost “a lot of money,” he said, but he isn’t thinking about that right now.
“Right now, we’re worried about lives, not cost,”
“I think it’s been going really well,” Trump told reporters. “I mean the bad news is this is some big monster, but I think we’re really well-coordinated.”
The President had tremendous praise for the Coast Guard.
“A group that really deserves tremendous credit is the United States Coast Guard,” Trump said, standing next to first lady Melania Trump. “What they’ve done, I mean, they’re going right into that, and you never know. When you go in there, you don’t know if you’re going to come out.”
President Trump will be defined by his (and his team’s) response to Harvey and Irma. So far, the response has been magnificent!