Donald Trump visits Florida to see Hurricane Irma devastation

Trump to visit Florida on Thursday to survey Irma damage

President Trump to travel to Florida to survey damage from Hurricane Irma

"I don't know what he's going to do".

President Trump will travel to Florida on Thursday to survey the damage from Hurricane Irma, the White House said.

In addition to severe flooding across Florida and extensive property damage in the Keys, residents faced widespread power outages that initially plunged more than half the state into darkness.

The death toll from Irma stood at 81, with several hard-hit Caribbean islands accounting for more than half the fatalities, and officials continued to assess damage inflicted by the second major hurricane to strike the US mainland this year.

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Inside a torn-apart mobile home community here, Trump distributed meals alongside his wife, first lady Melania Trump, Vice President Mike Pence, and Pence's wife, Karen. On the tarmac of the Fort Myers airport, he encouraged the state's governor, Republican Rick Scott, to challenge Florida's Democratic senator when his term expires. "So I hope he runs for Senate".

Earlier Mr Trump praised the recovery efforts in Florida, telling reporters at the White House that "power is being turned on rapidly".

The White House said Trump will visit Fort Myers in southwest Florida, one of the hardest-hit areas, for a briefing on Irma before traveling south to Naples to meet with local residents affected by the storm.

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After Harvey struck Texas, Mr Trump drew criticism for having minimal interaction with residents during his first trip in late August. In striking a deal with Democrats last week, Trump secured billions of dollars in federal disaster relief funding, though the affected states will ultimately require exponentially more help down the road.

This will be Trump's third tour of hurricane damage in 17 days, including similar trips surveying damage from Hurricane Harvey a few weeks ago.

Trump tweeted earlier Thursday morning that he also planned to to thank "our GREAT first responders", including both the U.S. Coast Guard and the National Guard.

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

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Images captured by NASA's Operational Land Imager (OLI) on the Landsat 8 satellite show Irma's impact on the British and U.S. About 400 to 500 people are now in shelters, and others are staying with people whose homes were not destroyed.

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