Published: Sat, September 16, 2017
Global News | By Stacy Ballard

Visiting Florida, Trump Praises 'Incredible' First Responders, State Officials

Visiting Florida, Trump Praises 'Incredible' First Responders, State Officials

Mr Trump has promised to return to Florida "numerous times" as thousands of people begin the painstaking task of rebuilding their homes - adding that Irma's destruction was on a scale "nobody has seen before". Marco Rubio (R). But Rubio appeared to cringe and grimace slightly when Trump tried to touch his shoulder. Trump said, turning to the cameras.

"What do I know, but I hope this man right here, Rick Scott, runs for the Senate", Trump said in Fort Myers.

They were joined by first lady Melania Trump at Naples Estates, a mobile home community for people 55 and older. Trump defeated Democrat Hillary Clinton in Florida past year by about 1 percentage point.

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President Trump met with survivors of Hurricane Irma in Naples, Florida Thursday afternoon.

He called the impacts a "real disaster" and said there's "much work do" but that Florida "will be rebuilt and will come back even better than before".

Nevertheless, the president said he is convinced forward progress to restore power in Florida's 90-plus-degree weather is unprecedented. Almost 2.7 million homes and businesses - about one in four Florida customers - are without power.

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The trip will be Trump's third related to hurricane response in just over two weeks. He visited Texas and Louisiana after Harvey struck.

"Clearly the environment changes all the time, and whether that's cycles we're going through or whether that's man-made, I couldn't tell you which one it is", he said. He toured a Houston shelter housing hundreds of displaced people and walked streets lined with soggy, discarded possessions. He hewed toward hearty handshakes and enthusiastic promises rather than hugs and tears, but he was well received by people grappling with the storm. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) estimates 25 percent of homes in the Keys were destroyed. Widespread outages led to long lines outside of the relatively few stores, gas stations and restaurants that had reopened.

Thomas reported from Washington.

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