U.S. President Donald Trump spoke to the governors of Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina and Tennessee on Sunday, according to the White House, as Hurricane Irma’s estimated path turned away from the Florida Keys and moves to the Gulf Coast.
The White House also stated that Trump is in regular communication with Republican leaders in Florida, Governor Rick Scott and U.S. Senator Marco Rubio, and also spoke Sunday with Democratic U.S. Senator Ben Nelson.
Scott said he spoke with Trump Sunday morning. “He’s offered every resource there is of the federal government,” he said on ABC’s This Week.
The White House also said the president issued a disaster declaration for Puerto Rico on Sunday and expanded federal funds available to the hurricane-ravaged U.S. Virgin Islands.
Both islands have experienced massive power outages, but search-and-rescue operations had to wait out Hurricane Jose before they could begin recovery efforts there, Brock Long, who leads the Federal Emergency Management Agency, told ABC.
“I’m in great communication with the White House and Homeland Security,” Long said. “We’ve all been working together. They realize what needs to be done to give me the enduring authority to push forward.”
In a video address on Trump’s Twitter page, the president said that the storm has “enormous destructive power,” mirroring his tweet about Irma from Saturday evening.
Trump also restated his warning that those in Irma’s path need to evacuate and stay safe.
“My administration is monitoring the situation around the clock, and we’re in constant communications with all of the governors, with the state and local officials,” Trump said in a video of the meeting.
“We’re doing everything possible to help save lives and support those in need. Again, we’ve never seen anything like this. Together, we will restore, recover and rebuild. We will do it quickly.”
CNN reports that Trump is also angling to ask Congress to “speed up” tax reform measures in wake of the hurricane.
“I think now with what’s happened with the hurricane, I’m going to ask for a speedup. I wanted a speedup anyway, but now we need it even more so,” the president said at the outset of a Cabinet meeting at Camp David. The White House released a video of his remarks.
READ MORE: LIVE UPDATES: Tracking Hurricane Irma’s path
As the Trump administration is dealing with Hurricane Irma, federal government is still handling the aftermath from Hurricane Harvey in Texas at the end of August. Trump signed a bill on Friday extending the government debt limit for three months and providing about $15 billion in hurricane-related aid, bringing his surprising deal with Democratic congressional leaders this week to completion.
— With files from Reuters.