President Trump said Thursday he’d visit the U.S. territory of Puerto Rico, which has been devastated by Hurricane Maria.
Seated next to Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko on his final day of meetings at the United Nations, Trump did not say when he might go to Puerto Rico, but spoke solemnly about the destruction to an island he said had been "absolutely obliterated."
“Got hit with winds they say, they’ve never seen winds like this anywhere,” Trump said. “Got hit as a 5, Category 5 storm, which literally never happens.”
Maria actually hit the U.S. Virgin Islands as a Category 5 storm and then reduced to a Category 4 storm when it hit Puerto Rico, knocking out the entire island's power grid and causing extensive damage to property and infrastructure.
The president said that Puerto Rico’s electrical grid had been “totally destroyed” and “wasn’t in good shape to start off with.”
Trump said he’s been in contact with his homeland security adviser Tom Bossert — who has been spearheading the White House’s rescue and relief efforts during a busy hurricane season — and that the recovery process in Puerto Rico would begin “with great gusto.”
The president said he spoke earlier in the day with Republican Govs. Rick Scott, of Florida, and Greg Abbott, of Texas, who are dealing with the aftermath of powerful Hurricanes Irma and Harvey, respectively.
Trump said states in the Gulf region that were hit “have recovered well,” but that the Virgin Islands had been “flattened.”
He praised the Federal Emergency Management Agency for covering so much ground.
“So many places have been incredible in the way they’ve handled it,” Trump said.