Hurricane Dorian Approaches
Federal Emergency Management Agency Headquarters
12:31 P.M. EDT
THE PRESIDENT: I want to begin today by addressing the heinous shooting that took place on Saturday in Odessa, Texas. On behalf of all Americans, I’d like to express my deepest sympathies and sorrow for the victims and their families. We ask God to comfort and heal those who are suffering, and we hope that there will be a full and quick recovery of the injured.
Today, we also recognize the courageous actions of local law enforcement. I can pretty much say, as usual, they were incredible, several of whom were very seriously injured and wounded as they fought to end this monstrous shooting and save lives.
I’ve spoken to Attorney General Barr, and we will provide all possible support from the federal government in the aftermath of this wicked attack.
My administration is committed to working with Congress to stop the menace of mass attacks. They’ve been going on for a long time. Decades now. And we want to do the best we can to reduce them. It would be wonderful to say — to say “eliminate,” but we want to substantially reduce the violent crime — and actually, in any form. Any of its evil forms. This includes strong measures to keep weapons out of the hands of dangerous and deranged individuals, and substantial reforms to our nation’s broken mental health system.
Our goal must be to identify severely disturbed individuals and disrupt their plans before they strike. To reduce violence, we must also ensure that criminals with guns are put behind bars and kept off the streets. Public safety is our number-one priority. Always wanting to protect our Second Amendment. So important.
We’re here at FEMA Headquarters to receive a briefing on Hurricane Dorian. I want to thank Acting Secretary Kevin McAleenan for the incredible job you’ve been doing. Kevin, thank you — in many ways, by the way.
Acting FEMA Administrator Peter Gaynor. Peter, thank you very much.
Secretary Elaine Chao. Secretary Mark Esper. Thank you. Thank you.
Secretary Alex Azar. Thank you very much, Alex. And all the good news coming out of your administration on drug pricing. Coming way down. We really appreciate it. It’s gone a lot further down.
Administrator Andrew Wheeler. Thank you, Andrew.
Dr. Neil Jacobs. Thank you. Thank you, Neil. Good job.
Senator Rick Scott is here in person. Thank you. Came up from Florida. We appreciate that very much. Thank you, Rick.
And many other senior officials and political folks and military leaders for joining us in person or by phone.
The safety of the American people must always come first. My staff and I receive frequent updates to ensure that we are fully prepared. And we are fully prepared. But we really, basically, I don’t think, ever seen anything like this hurricane.
I want to thank the Coast Guard. Karl, I know that they’re really ready. I don’t know if it’s this — I don’t know how they can come into this one. They’re going to have to come in from the outside I guess, because this looks monstrous.
But I want to thank what — the job you did in Florida, Texas, and Puerto Rico was incredible. This could be bigger than all of them, in terms of the power of what we’re looking at.
It’s a — one of the largest we’ve ever seen. Its effects will be felt hundreds of miles or more from the eye of the storm and long before it potentially makes landfall. It’s going to go at hundreds of miles. We expect that much of the Eastern Seaboard will be ultimately impacted and some of it very, very severely.
My administration is coordinating closely with state and local authorities. Today, we’re joined on the phone by some great people that have been working very, very hard: Governor Ron DeSantis of Florida. Thank you, Ron. Governor Brian Kemp of Georgia. Brian, thank you very much. Governor Henry McMaster of South Carolina. Thank you, Henry. And Governor Roy Cooper of North Carolina. Thank you very much, Roy.
The federal government stands ready to assist their readiness, response, and recovery operations.
And, I will say, the states — and it may get a little piece of a great place: It’s called Alabama. And Alabama could even be in for at least some very strong winds and something more than that, it could be. This just came up, unfortunately. It’s the size of — the storm that we’re talking about. So, for Alabama, just please be careful also.
I ask everyone in Hurricane Dorian’s path to heed all warnings and evacuation orders from local authorities. It looks like they’re going to have to be giving them, unfortunately. And I wish you’d watch.
It’s been lurking. It’s just been building out there. It’s been moving very slowly. It’s a bad thing, not a good thing. The slower it moves, the bigger it is and the bigger it gets. But we want to minimize any unnecessary risks to the public and our brave first responders.
I’ve been working very hard with Governor DeSantis of Florida on getting fuel — getting gasoline brought in, because they’ve never seen anything like it, the rush to get so much. And again, the Coast Guard and the Army and the Marines, they’ve been incredible. We’ve gotten tremendous amounts of gasoline brought in very quickly.
Americans are strong, determined, and resilient, and we will support each other. And we will work very hard to minimize whatever the effect of what’s coming at us. We don’t even know what’s coming at us. All we know is it’s possibly the biggest. I have — not sure — I’m not sure that I’ve ever even heard of a Category 5. I knew it existed. And I’ve seen some Category 4s; you don’t even see them that much. But a Category 5 is something that I don’t know that I’ve even heard the term other than I know it’s there. That’s the ultimate. And that’s what we have, unfortunately.
So with that, I’d like to maybe ask Kevin if he’d like to say a few words. And we’ll go around. And if anyone has any suggestions or questions, I’d love to take them. Thank you.