President Donald Trump extended his prayers to the victims of Hurricane Harvey, vowing to assist reconstruction efforts after the storm.
“Tragic times such as these bring out the best in America’s character — strength, charity, and resilience,” Trump said during a press conference with the president of Finland at the White House.
Trump commented on the historic nature of the storm.
“Nobody has ever seen anything like it,” he said. “I’ve heard the words ‘epic,’ I’ve heard ‘historic.’ That’s what it is.”
The president vowed to focus recovery efforts primarily on saving lives endangered by the storm.
“Right now the single most important thing is the safety and security of those still in harm’s way,” he said.
Trump thanked first responders and Texas Governor Greg Abbot’s response to the crisis as well as local officials in Louisiana for working to prepare for further expected damage.
“We’ve pledged our full support as Texas and Louisiana battle and recover from this very devastating and historic storm,” he said.
He dismissed a question from a reporter about whether or not a looming government shutdown would affect emergency funding to help rebuild affected areas.
“I think this is separate,” he said. “This is going to go really very, very quickly. I’ve spoken to many of the people we’re talking about, and everybody feels the same way I do.”
The president confirmed he would visit Texas on Tuesday, and possibly return to the region on Saturday.