Trump Surveys Irma Damage On Southwest Coast

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WASHINGTON (CBSMiami/AP) — President Donald Trump landed in Ft. Myers where he’ll hear from people affected by Hurricane Irma and learn about relief efforts.

“We’ve seen the devastation. We’re going to see some more of it now unfortunately,” said Trump.

The president went on to address the fuel shortage in the state before and after Hurricane Irma.

“What we had to do to get some of those ports open, people wouldn’t even believe,” said Trump while speaking in Fort Myers.

The ports are necessary for getting fuel into the state.

Florida Governor Rick Scott, who stood alongside the president, said Trump and Vice President Mike Pence “were always accessible” when he called for Irma help.

The president even touted working with his former rival, Florida Senator Marco Rubio, when it came to Irma relief.

“Marco I want to thank you a lot. You were really helpful,” said Trump.

Another person touted by the president may not be someone some Floridians agree with.

“I must say, Florida Power & Light….great job,” said Trump while shaking hands with FPL President and CEO Eric Silagy.

At last check, more than half a million Floridians remained in the dark days after Irma hit.

The president tweeted Wednesday that he planned to meet “with our great Coast Guard, FEMA and many of the brave first responders & others.”

Related: FPL: Power To Be Restored To South Florida By End Of Weekend

The trip to Florida follows two earlier outings in which Trump took in Harvey recovery efforts in late August.

During the president’s first trip to Texas, immediately after Harvey, he drew criticism for having minimal interaction with residents, seeing little damage and offering few expressions of concern. On his second trip, with stops in Texas and Louisiana, he was more hands-on, visiting with those driven from their homes by Harvey, touring a Houston mega-shelter housing hundreds of displaced people and briefly walking streets lined with soggy, discarded possessions.

The president monitored Irma over the weekend from Camp David, the presidential retreat in Maryland.

Nearly half of Florida was engulfed by Irma, which left flooded streets, damaged homes and displaced residents in its wake. The Keys felt Irma’s full fury when the hurricane roared in after wreaking devastation in the Caribbean, but the extent of the damage has been an unanswered question because some places have been unreachable.

Florida’s southwestern coast is a haven for retirees seeking warm weather and beautiful sunsets across the Gulf of Mexico. Many communities there are still cleaning up or without power or air conditioning.

In Lee County, which includes Cape Coral and Fort Myers, the Florida Emergency Management Agency said 66 percent of the area’s 290,000 electrical customers were still without power Wednesday. Widespread outages led to long lines outside of the relatively few stores, gas stations and restaurants that had reopened.

The situation was even worse to the south in Collier County, where Naples is located. Days after Irma passed, almost 80 percent of homes and businesses were still without electricity there, and floodwaters still covered some communities entirely.

(© Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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