- The Washington Times - Thursday, August 27, 2020

President Trump on Thursday said Hurricane Laura did not inflict as much pain as feared, but he will head to the Gulf Coast this weekend to survey damage from the storm that struck overnight with 150 mph winds.

“We’ll be going Saturday or Sunday,” he said during a stop at the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

The president said his administration will be “very aggressive” in getting Louisiana and other states what they need to recover, as the storm continued north with diminished — yet still very strong — winds.

“It went very deep into the country,” Mr. Trump said.

FEMA Administrator Peter T. Gaynor showed Mr. Trump and Vice President Mike Pence pictures of roofs torn off, downed trees and a fire in Lake Charles, Louisiana. He said debris may have live wires and other dangers, so people should not go out unless it is necessary.

“Stay home and pay attention to the warnings,” Mr. Gaynor said. “Please don’t go out sightseeing.”

At least three people have died from the storm, including a 14-year-old girl in Vernon Parish, Louisiana, who was killed after a tree fell on her home.

Mr. Pence said the nation grieves for the girl.

“This was a serious storm,” he said. “We were ready for the worst. … It was not as bad as it could have been.”

Officials in Texas, meanwhile, said they “dodged a bullet” after storm-surge did not rise to expected levels

“It could have been far worse,” Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, a Republican, said. “That, of course, does not help those whose homes have been hit, those whose businesses have been hit.”

Mr. Abbott said the state is working with FEMA to get them assistance.

Mr. Trump, who will accept the Republican nomination later Thursday, visited FEMA after a lunch at his D.C. hotel that raised $10 million for Trump Victory, the joint fundraising committee for the presidential campaign, the Republican National Committee and state GOP committees.

The RNC said the hotel site was “professionally cleaned and sanitized prior to the event.”

“The White House Medical Unit and U.S. Secret Service will evaluate all attendees in order for them to gain access to the event,” the RNC said. “All attendees will test negative for COVID-19 on the day of the event, complete a wellness questionnaire and pass a temperature screening.”

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