President Donald Trump arrived in Florida Thursday to tour damage caused by Hurricane Irma, the third time in three weeks he’s visited an area devastated by a natural disaster.
Hurricane Irma slammed into Southwest Florida last weekend, destroying buildings and snapping trees after causing more extensive damage on the Florida Keys. Trump planned to meet Republican Governor Rick Scott and first responders in Fort Myers and visit storm victims in Naples, said Deputy White House Homeland Security Adviser John Daly.
“I think we’re doing a good job in Florida,” Trump said upon arrival in Fort Myers.
Since last month, Trump has traveled to Texas twice and to Louisiana to view damage from Hurricane Harvey, which made landfall Aug. 25 as a Category 4 storm and dumped more than 50 inches of rain on Houston.
While Southeast Texas took the brunt of Harvey’s wrath, Hurricane Irma’s destruction was more widespread, causing damage in the Caribbean and across the Florida peninsula. More than 6.5 million homes and businesses lost electricity in Florida, and fuel shortages plagued much of the state. As of Wednesday afternoon, 3.7 million customers still were without power, according to state statistics. In Collier County, where Naples is located, 75 percent of residents still faced outages.
Eight people in a Hollywood, Florida, nursing home died after Hurricane Irma knocked out power to the facility, police said Wednesday.
“This is an inexcusable tragedy that frail patients would die of heat exhaustion without it being recognized and taking them to the hospital next door,” Florida Senator Bill Nelson, a Democrat, said in a statement Wednesday.
The Atlantic hurricane season has killed at least 100 people so far and caused estimated damage of at least $135 billion in the U.S. and the Caribbean.
It has also affected Trump’s legislative agenda, forcing Congress to appropriate emergency funding for relief efforts. Last week, Trump cut a deal with Democrats in Congress to provide more than $15 billion in disaster aid for Harvey, while raising the U.S. government’s borrowing limit and funding the government through Dec. 8.
Trump on Wednesday said this year’s deadly hurricanes add urgency to his tax-cut plan.
“With Irma and Harvey devastation, Tax Cuts and Tax Reform is needed more than ever before. Go Congress, go!” Trump tweeted.
Trump is planning to campaign for the Republican tax plan in states where Democratic senators face tough re-election prospects in 2018. In Florida, where Democratic Senator Bill Nelson is running for re-election next year, Trump has already encouraged Scott to challenge the incumbent.
Trump won Florida’s 29 electoral votes in last year’s presidential race.