Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Trump: U.S. a 'bit lucky' Irma veered from original course

U.S. President Donald Trump speaks to members of the media about Hurricane Irma as first lady Melania Trump looks on upon arrival on the South Lawn of the White House on Sunday in Washington, D.C. [Olivier Douliery/Abaca Press/TNS]

U.S. President Donald Trump speaks to members of the media about Hurricane Irma as first lady Melania Trump looks on upon arrival on the South Lawn of the White House on Sunday in Washington, D.C. [Olivier Douliery/Abaca Press/TNS]

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump said Sunday that "we may have been a little bit lucky" after Hurricane Irma veered from its original course and headed along Florida's west coast, instead of east. He said that path might be less destructive.

He said Irma will "cost a lot of money" but that he's most concerned at this point with saving lives.

Trump commented hours after the nearly 400-mile-wide storm blew ashore early Sunday in the Florida Keys, made landfall on Marco Island on the state's west coast and was barreling toward Tampa, which hasn't suffered a direct hit from a major hurricane in nearly 100 years.

He also spoke before state and local officials had begun to assess the damage.

"We may have been a little bit lucky in that it went on the west and it may not have been quite as destructive, but we're going to see," Trump said, addressing reporters after returning to the White House from Camp David, the presidential retreat in Maryland where he spent the weekend monitoring the storm.

"It's going to play out over the next five or six hours," said Trump, who was accompanied by his wife, Melania.

Trump deflected questions about the billions of dollars the government will be asked to spend to help communities in Florida and other affected states rebuild after Irma, saying "right now we're worried about lives, not cost."

Trump on Friday signed a $15.3 billion measure to replenish accounts at the Federal Emergency Management Agency and speed federal assistance to victims of Hurricane Harvey, which struck southeast Texas and neighboring Louisiana towns just three weeks ago.

The president made two trips to Texas after Harvey struck. He said Sunday that "we're going to Florida very soon."

Trump said he'd be having additional meetings Sunday about coordination for the storm response.

The White House said Trump had received a "comprehensive update" on Irma earlier Sunday while at Camp David that included details on her status, forecasted path, evacuations and preparations for response and recovery. He thanked FEMA and the Homeland Security Department, which oversees the agency, for their efforts, and encouraged officials to also stay focused on the post-Harvey recovery.

Trump also spoke with the governors of Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina and Tennessee. Forecasters warned that after churning up Florida's west coast, a weakened Irma could push into those states. The National Weather Service on Sunday issued a first-ever tropical storm warning for Atlanta,

Florida Gov. Rick Scott said he also talked with Trump on Sunday.

Vice President Mike Pence and several Cabinet secretaries who were at Camp David for Trump's storm briefing later visited FEMA headquarters.

"The people of Florida need to know that our hearts and our prayers and all of our efforts are with them and will be with them until this storm passes," the vice president said. He said Irma was dangerous and life-threatening, and pleaded with people in the storm's path to "heed the warnings" of local officials.

"It's enormously important that every American in the path of this storm take the warnings of state and local officials to heart," Pence said.

At the White House, Trump described Irma as a "rough hurricane" and "some big monster" and said he was most concerned about its strength.

He said FEMA has been "incredible" and that the U.S. Coast Guard deserved "tremendous credit" for its storm response.

"If you talk about branding, no brand has improved more than the United States Coast Guard," said Trump, a former businessman.

Trump: U.S. a 'bit lucky' Irma veered from original course 09/10/17 [Last modified: Sunday, September 10, 2017 5:44pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

Copyright: For copyright information, please check with the distributor of this item, Associated Press.
    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Bucs players, coaches say they cherish getting game balls for special feats

    Bucs

    TAMPA — In the jubilant moments after a Bucs win, Dirk Koetter will sometimes ask for a game-used ball from his equipment staff, hold it high in the locker room and present it to the player who was most crucial to the victory.

    Says Bucs wide receiver Chris Godwin, left, “Any time you’re recognized by your coaches, that respect is awesome to have.” He got a game ball in his first start, against the Jets on Nov. 12.
  2. Jon Mott wins record fifth Times Turkey Trot 10K

    Running

    CLEARWATER — The Tampa Bay Times Turkey Trot has long been a fixture on Jon Mott's sporting calendar.

    Jon Mott of Lakeland is the first male finisher of the 10K race at the the Tampa Bay Times annual Turkey Trot in Clearwater on Thursday. (LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times )
  3. Fennelly: For USF, it's all there for the taking, and against its bitter rival UCF

    College

    TAMPA — They're perfect. They're supposed to win. They have everything to lose. We can take everything they have.

  4. Valrico intersection closed after car-sized hole opens in road

    Public Safety

    VALRICO — A hole the size of a vehicle opened up beneath the intersection of Nature's Way Boulevard and Elm Grove Lane, Hillsborough officials said.

  5. Flynn splits from Trump; may be cooperating with Mueller

    Nation

    WASHINGTON — Lawyers for Michael Flynn, President Donald Trump's former national security adviser, notified the president's legal team in recent days that they could no longer discuss the special counsel's investigation, four people involved in the case told the New York Times, an indication that Flynn is …

    Michael Flynn may be cooperating with Robert Mueller.