The White House on Wednesday cleaned up comments President Trump made, when he claimed he had seen the “horror and devastation” of Hurricane Harvey “first hand” when he hadn’t.
It was widely reported that the President did not visit any of the most severely flooded parts of Texas during his visit to the state this week because he said he didn’t want to pull resources from search and rescue efforts.
But he tweeted Wednesday morning, expressing greater sympathy for those impacted by the story after witnessing the damage himself.
After witnessing first hand the horror & devastation caused by Hurricane Harvey,my heart goes out even more so to the great people of Texas!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 30, 2017
Local and White House pool reporters who followed the President’s stops in Corpus Christi and Austin, Texas Tuesday quickly called out Trump for his remarks, claiming he didn’t see any of the worst flooding that has occurred in cities like Houston.
I traveled with the President yesterday. Personally, I would not claim to have seen Harvey's horror and devastation first hand. https://t.co/Zb7bsF5CW5
— Andrew Beatty (@AndrewBeatty) August 30, 2017
Our reporting does not match claim that @POTUS witnessed any horror or devastation first hand. #harvey https://t.co/KP4ejyLVpF @dallasnews https://t.co/HBObIh9Tgt
— Todd J. Gillman (@toddgillman) August 30, 2017
On Wednesday, the White House clarified what Trump meant by his statements, saying the President met with all the officials who witnessed the damage themselves.
“He met with a number of state and local officials who are eating, sleeping, breathing the Harvey disaster,” White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters in a press gaggle Wednesday.
“He talked extensively with the governor, who certainly is right in the midst of every bit of this, as well as the mayors from several of the local towns that were hit hardest. And detailed briefing information throughout the day yesterday talking to a lot of the people on the ground — that certainly is a firsthand account,” she said.
White House counselor Kelly Anne Conway echoed those comments on “Fox and Friends” Thursday morning, saying Trump plans to “get closer to the affected areas” when officials say it’s “appropriate to do so.”
“So the President will go, he will ask Congress for money depending on where the needs are,” she said.