President Donald Trump and members of his Cabinet bowed their heads in prayer, led by Vice President Mike Pence, as they met at Camp David in Maryland.
The meeting was to discuss federal preparations for Hurricane Irma as the Category 3 storm prepares to strike Florida.
In his opening remarks at the Cabinet meeting, Trump expressed condolences for the victims of Hurricanes Irma and Harvey, the latter of which struck Texas and Louisiana earlier this month.
‘All of America continues, I must say, to pray for the families affected by Hurricane Harvey, Hurricane Irma, which looks like it’s going to be a really bad one, but we’re prepared,’ Trump said.
‘We’re as prepared as you can be for such an event, that I can say. All of America grieves for those who have already lost their lives.’
President Donald Trump and members of his Cabinet bowed their heads in prayer as they met at Camp David in Maryland to discuss federal preparations for Hurricane Irma (above) as the Category 3 storm prepares to strike Florida
In his opening remarks at the Cabinet meeting (above), Trump expressed condolences for the victims of Hurricanes Irma and Harvey, the latter of which struck Texas and Louisiana earlier this month
Hurricane Irma already swept across the Caribbean as a Category 5 storm, killing at least 23 people and destroying hundreds of homes and businesses, including up to 95 percent of structures on the tiny island of Barbuda.
Aides said Trump would receive hurricane briefings throughout the day as the powerful storm headed towards the southern tip of Florida, forcing millions of residents to flee the impending surge of water and incredibly strong winds.
Trump also said of Irma that ‘we’ve never seen anything like this.’
States of emergency have been declared for Florida, Georgia, the US Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico in preparation for Irma’s expected landfall Saturday.
Although the storm is currently at Category 3 strength, forecasters have warned that the hurricane could strengthen before making landfall.
The president tweeted three times on Saturday with hurricane safety information. The first time was to provide a list of shelters, road closures, and evacuation routes.
The second time was to share a message from Florida Governor Rick Scott and the third tweet was Trump asking Americans in affected areas to get to safety.
‘This is a storm of enormous destructive power, and I ask everyone in the storm’s path to heed ALL instructions from government officials,’ he wrote.
In a video, Trump offered words of encouragement for those affected by Irma as the storm prepares to make landfall on Sunday
On Saturday, the president shared a message from Florida Governor Rick Scott: ‘If you’re in an evacuation zone, you need to get to a shelter…there’s not many hours left’
Trump tweeted again, urging Americans to heed government advice: ‘This is a storm of enormous destructive power, and I ask everyone in the storm’s path to heed ALL instructions from government officials’
One last tweet offered words of encouragement to residents in the storm’s path: ‘The US Coast Guard, FEMA and all Federal and State brave people are ready. Here comes Irma. God bless everyone!’
A White House official said that Trump and First Lady Melania Trump were keeping people affected by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma in their prayers, and encouraged everyone to listen to local authorities, reported the Washington Examiner.
In the video he shared, Trump issued this message to those in the path of the storm: ‘Property is replaceable, but lives are not.’
A readout from the White House issued Saturday evening said Trump, Pence and the Cabinet were briefed on Hurricanes Irma and Jose.
‘President Trump directed Federal agencies to continue supporting State and local efforts to save lives, promote shelter efforts, and expedite requested assistance to affected areas,’ the readout said.