Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Vice President Pence surveys Harvey's wreckage in Texas

ROCKPORT, Texas — Walking door to door in the hurricane zone, Vice President Mike Pence surveyed Harvey's path of destruction Thursday and pledged that the Trump administration would help bring southeast Texas back "bigger and better than ever before."

Pence visited Rockport, the small coastal town where Harvey first slammed ashore as a Category 4 hurricane, and saw a church whose wall was blown out. He prayed with residents before taking a walking tour of a street where repairs are underway.

The extent of the destruction could be measured in the piles of garbage heaped outside nearly every home.

"It's a long way to go. It's not months, but it's years," Pence said of the recovery effort as First Baptist Church. "The challenges will be great but we know that the generosity and the prayers and the faith of the people of Texas and the American people will be greater still."

He added: "We are with you and we will stay with you until Rockport and all of southeast Texas come back."

Pence's wife, Karen, led community members in prayer outside the church. The couple shook hands with residents as the crowd sang "God Bless America."

Pence wore work gloves and helped clear away tree limbs and debris. He had a ready hug for one elderly resident, offering a more personal touch than did President Donald Trump, who was in Texas earlier in the week to attend briefings with emergency management officials.

During a 45-minute drive to the church, Pence's motorcade drove past a long row of utility poles that remained standing but at an angle. He saw scattered debris and some downed power lines. Residents of Rockport were among the first in the U.S. hit by Harvey.

The vice president, wearing jeans and cowboy boots, was joined by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, Energy Secretary Rick Perry, a former Texas governor, and other Cabinet members.

Trump had traveled Tuesday to Corpus Christi and Austin for briefings with officials. He plans to return to Texas on Saturday and possibly visit Louisiana, parts of which are being lashed by Harvey's remnants.

The president drew criticism for not directly mentioning the loss of life and suffering of hurricane victims during his visit, and for tweeting Wednesday that after seeing "first hand the horror & devastation" wrought by Harvey "my heart goes out even more so to the great people of Texas!"

But Trump saw little damage during his visit to Corpus Christi — mostly boarded-up windows, a few downed tree limbs and fences askew from his SUV as it whisked him from the airport to a firehouse for his first briefing.

Perry, briefing reporters aboard Air Force Two, said Trump had wanted to visit Texas on Monday but was advised to visit Corpus Christi or Austin "where no search-and-rescue resources would be pulled away."

"The president went to the right place. He literally and figuratively waved the flag," Perry said, noting the president's impromptu remarks to supporters gathered outside a Corpus Christi fire station that were capped with his waving of the Texas flag.

Vice President Pence surveys Harvey's wreckage in Texas 08/31/17 [Last modified: Thursday, August 31, 2017 4:36pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

Copyright: For copyright information, please check with the distributor of this item, Associated Press.
    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. 'Empire' star Grace Byers keynotes USF Women in Leadership & Philanthropy luncheon

    Human Interest

    BY AMY SCHERZER

    TAMPA — The first University of South Florida graduate to address the USF's Women in Leadership & Philanthropy supporters, Grace Gealey Byers, class of 2006, centered her speech on her first name, turning it into a verb to share life lessons.

    Grace Byers, University of South Florida Class of 2006, stars on the Fox television show Empire. She delivered the keynote at the USF Women in Leadership and Philanthropy luncheon Friday. Photo by Amy Scherzer
  2. Southeast Seminole Heights holds candlelight vigil for victims' families and each other

    News

    TAMPA — They came together in solidarity in Southeast Seminole Heights, to sustain three families in their grief and to confront fear, at a candlelight vigil held Sunday night in the central Tampa neighborhood.

    A peaceful march that began on east New Orleans Avenue was held during the candlelight vigil for the three victims who were killed in the recent shootings in the Seminole Heights neighborhood in Tampa on Sunday, October 22, 2017.
  3. It's not just Puerto Rico: FEMA bogs down in Florida, Texas too

    HOUSTON — Outside Rachel Roberts' house, a skeleton sits on a chair next to the driveway, a skeleton child on its lap, an empty cup in its hand and a sign at its feet that reads "Waiting on FEMA."

    Ernestino Leon sits among the debris removed from his family’s flood-damaged Bonita Springs home on Oct. 11. He has waited five weeks for FEMA to provide $10,000 to repair the home.
  4. McConnell says he's awaiting Trump guidance on health care

    STERLING, Va. — Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Sunday he's willing to bring bipartisan health care legislation to the floor if President Donald Trump makes clear he supports it.

    Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says he’s “not certain yet” on what Trump wants.
  5. Tampa's Lance McCullers shows killer instinct in pitching Astros to World Series

    Ml

    HOUSTON — It felt like the beginning on Saturday night at Minute Maid Park, the arrival of a new force on the World Series stage. The Astros are back, for the first time in a dozen years, and they want to stay a while.

    Houston Astros starting pitcher Lance McCullers (43) throwing in the fifth inning of the game between the Houston Astros and the Tampa Bay Rays in Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Sunday, July 12, 2015.