Trump touts support for Bahamas as crews scramble to rescue survivors


President Trump on Saturday emphasized the United States’s support for the Bahamas as crews in the Caribbean islands rushed to rescue survivors following devastation from Hurricane Dorian.

Trump took to Twitter to thank Bahamian Prime Minister Hubert Minnis for his “very gracious and kind words in saying that without the help of the United States and me, their would have been many more casualties.”

“I give all credit to FEMA, the U.S. Coast Guard, & the brave people of the Bahamas,” Trump tweeted, adding that there was “much work to be done by the Bahamian Government. We will help!”{mosads}

Minnis on Thursday night had praised the United States for “assisting us with all of our needs” after the islands were struck by Dorian and said the help from the U.S. likely lowered the death toll.

“From day one, the United States was in our territory assisting us with all of our needs. Had it not been for the United States we would not have been advanced this far in the entire process,” Minnis said in a CNN interview

“Even though our death numbers, we expect they [will] increase, had the United States not come in quickly … our death numbers would be even more,” he added.

Trump’s tweets Saturday morning came as crews in the Bahamas were scrambling to rescue survivors of the storm, which made landfall in the islands early this week as a Category 5 storm, leaving widespread wreckage.

Some 43 people have been confirmed dead, including 35 in the Abaco Islands and eight in Grand Bahama, according to The Washington Post, though thousands were thought to be missing and the death toll was expected to rise.

“We acknowledge that there are many missing and that the number of deaths is expected to significantly increase,” Minnis said in a statement late Friday. “This is one of the stark realities we are facing in this hour of darkness.”

The U.S. Coast Guard has helicopters and cutters aiding in recovery efforts, along with 1,000 members ready to assist with relief efforts in the area and across the southeastern U.S. following the storm, the Post noted.

“I want to give my warmest, best wishes to the people of the Bahamas. I know what you’re going through. I spoke with your prime minister yesterday, and he’s absolutely devastated,” Trump said in a video tweeted Friday night.
“It looks like the numbers are going to be far worse than anybody thought,” he said.
Trump noted that the U.S. wasn’t “hit nearly as hard as was thought” as a result of the storm, adding, “The Bahamas, you got hit very, very hard.”
Trump on Saturday also took the opportunity to thank Doug Manchester, a San Diego businessman and early Trump supporter he nominated more than two years ago to be ambassador to the Bahamas but who has yet to be confirmed. 
Manchester’s nomination was first submitted to the Senate in May 2017. He appeared with other Trump ambassadorial nominees for a panel before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in June.
“I would also like to thank ‘Papa’ Doug Manchester, hopefully the next Ambassador to the Bahamas, for the incredible amount of time, money and passion he has spent on helping to bring safety to the Bahamas,” Trump wrote Saturday.

The U.S. Embassy in the Bahamas is currently overseen by Chargé d’Affaires Stephanie Bowers.

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