Trump speaks to governors, senators on Irma, approves disaster areas

Reuters News
Posted: Sep 10, 2017 10:41 AM

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump spoke to the governors of Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina and Tennessee on Sunday, the White House said, as Hurricane Irma's path moved away from the lower Florida Keys westward to the Gulf Coast and states to the north.

Trump has spoken regularly to Florida Governor Rick Scott and U.S. Senator Marco Rubio, both Republicans, and spoke on Sunday with U.S. Senator Ben Nelson, a Democrat, the White House said.

The Republican president also issued a disaster declaration for Puerto Rico on Sunday and expanded federal funds available to the U.S. Virgin Islands in the aftermath of Irma, the White House said.

Both islands have had massive power outages, but search-and-rescue operations had to wait out Hurricane Jose before they could begin recovery efforts there, Brock Long, who leads the Federal Emergency Management Agency, said on ABC's "This Week."

"I'm in great communication with the White House and Homeland Security," Long said. "We've all been working together. They realize what needs to be done to give me the enduring authority to push forward."

Florida Governor Scott said he spoke with Trump this morning. "He's offered every resource there is of the federal government," Scott told the ABC program.

(Reporting by Roberta Rampton and Doina Chiacu; Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe and Lisa Von Ahn)