President Trump and First Lady Melania Trump and Vice President Mark Pence reached the Gulf coast of Florida on Thursday to survey the widespread destruction caused by the Hurricane Irma and the relief operations.
"We love the people of Florida, and they went through something that I guess the likes of which we can say nobody has ever seen before", Trump said amid piles of debris and downed trees. "But I know that at a certain point it ends for you, and we can't let it end", Trump said.
Irma has devastated Florida, causing at least 25 deaths as of Wednesday morning, and leaving millions without power. In Texas, Hurricane Harvey had left the Houston area deluged by rising flood waters.
It was the first time the president had offered such encouragement, though Trump acknowledged Thursday, "I don't know what he's going to do".
The president couldn't resist injecting a political flavor into his visit, telling reporters in Fort Myers that he was hopeful that Florida Gov. Rick Scott, a two-term Republican, would run for the Senate, where Democrat Bill Nelson is up for re-election next year. He visited Texas and Louisiana after Harvey struck. 'Not an expert, but are stiletto heels the best footwear for a disaster zone?' another quipped, as more than 5,000 people shared the post.
"We're deadset on that", said Mr. Trump of rebuilding efforts in the Florida Keys, the hardest hit area in the state. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) estimates 25 percent of homes in the Keys were destroyed.
Some 20% of Florida's gas stations had no fuel yesterday, down from a peak of 46%, according to fuel information service Gas Buddy. "So I hope he runs for Senate".
The situation was even worse to the south in Collier County, home to Naples.