Trump on Hurricane Irma: ‘This Is Some Big Monster’

September 10, 2017 Updated: September 10, 2017

WASHINGTON—President Donald Trump called Hurricane Irma a “big monster” as it battered the Florida coast, saying he wants to go to the state very soon while praising emergency officials for their efforts to protect people.

“The bad news is that this is some big monster,” Trump told reporters at the White House, saying damage from the storm would be very costly.

“Right now, we are worried about lives, not cost,” Trump said after returning from Camp David, the presidential retreat in Maryland where he monitored the storm and met with his Cabinet.

U.S. President Donald Trump talks to the media about Hurricane Irma, next to First lady Melania Trump, on the South Lawn of the White House upon their return to Washington from Camp David on Sept. 10, 2017. (REUTERS/Yuri Gripas)
President Donald Trump talks to the media about Hurricane Irma, next to First lady Melania Trump, on the South Lawn of the White House upon their return to Washington from Camp David on Sept. 10, 2017. (REUTERS/Yuri Gripas)

The path of the storm, tracking the west coast of Florida, meant it might be less destructive than it would otherwise have been, Trump said, noting the next five or six hours would be critical.

“I hope there aren’t too many people in the path,” he said. “You don’t want to be in that path.”

Trump said the U.S. Coast Guard had been heroic and that the Federal Emergency Management Agency was doing a good job to help coordinate the response with states. He added, however: “I think the hard part is now beginning.”

A partially submerged car is seen at a flooded area in Coconut Grove as Hurricane Irma arrives at south Florida, in Miami, Florida on Sept. 10, 2017. (REUTERS/Carlos Barria)
A partially submerged car is seen at a flooded area in Coconut Grove as Hurricane Irma arrives at south Florida, in Miami, Florida on Sept. 10, 2017. (REUTERS/Carlos Barria)

Trump has offered the full resources of the federal government to Florida and the affected states, Vice President Mike Pence told reporters during a visit to FEMA’s Washington headquarters on Sunday.

“Wherever Hurricane Irma goes, we’ll be there first,” Pence said. “We’ll be there with resources and support, both to save lives and to help to recover and rebuild these states and these communities.”

The Tampa skyline is pictured across Hillsborough Bay ahead of the arrival of Hurricane Irma in Tampa, Florida on Sept. 10, 2017. (REUTERS/Chris Wattie)
The Tampa skyline is pictured across Hillsborough Bay ahead of the arrival of Hurricane Irma in Tampa, Florida on Sept. 10, 2017. (REUTERS/Chris Wattie)

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

He told reporters he hoped to travel to the state soon.

“We’re going to Florida very soon,” Trump said.

By Sarah N. Lynch

Boats are seen at a marina in Coconut Grove as Hurricane Irma arrives at south Florida, in Miami, Florida on Sept. 10, 2017. (REUTERS/Carlos Barria)

Boats are seen at a marina in Coconut Grove as Hurricane Irma arrives at south Florida, in Miami, Florida on Sept. 10, 2017. (REUTERS/Carlos Barria)

Boats are seen at a marina in Coconut Grove as Hurricane Irma arrives at south Florida, in Miami, Florida on Sept. 10, 2017. (REUTERS/Carlos Barria)
Boats are seen at a marina in Coconut Grove as Hurricane Irma arrives at south Florida, in Miami, Florida on Sept. 10, 2017. (REUTERS/Carlos Barria)
Flooding near the Hard Rock Stadium as Hurricane Irma passes Miami, Florida on Sept. 10, 2017. (REUTERS/Stephen Yang)
Flooding near the Hard Rock Stadium as Hurricane Irma passes Miami, Florida on Sept. 10, 2017. (REUTERS/Stephen Yang)
A local resident walks across a flooded street in downtown Miami as Hurricane Irma arrives at south Florida on Sept. 10, 2017. (REUTERS/Carlos Barria)
A local resident walks across a flooded street in downtown Miami as Hurricane Irma arrives at south Florida on Sept. 10, 2017. (REUTERS/Carlos Barria)