Donald and Melania Fly Down to Texas and Louisiana and Visit the Thousands Made Homeless by Hurricane Harvey … and the Delighted Children Can’t Get Enough of Their President!

First Lady Melania Trump and President Donald Trump disembark Air Force One after arriving in Houston on Saturday

President Trump and First Lady Melania Trump flew to Houston on Saturday morning for their second trip to Texas since Hurricane Harvey ravaged the state.

Their first stop was the NRG Stadium in Houston, where thousands are evacuating after being forced out of their homes by the devastating floods brought by Harvey earlier in the week.

Together they gave out Red Cross meal boxes, shook hands and took selfies with some of the thousands who are being forced to take shelter.

President Trump was jovial and upbeat, kissing the heads of babies and holding hands with little boys who strode up to him for a hug. Before taking their places to give out food, the notoriously germaphobic president proclaimed ‘my hands are too big’ as he struggled his fingers in to a pair of latex gloves.

Melania, who received criticism for the glamorous outfit she chose to travel to Texas in earlier in the week, was defiant with her wardrobe choices on Saturday.

She first emerged from the White House in a $1590 Ralph Lauren dress and $650 pair of Manolo Blahnik heels before changing on board Air Force One into a denim shirt, jeans and sneakers.

After spending time with evacuees at the stadium, the pair went on to a church in Pearland where Trump heaped praise on Texas governor Greg Abbott and congratulated him on doing a ‘terrific job’ since Harvey hit.

President Trump and Melania Trump were greeted by Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner and Texas Governor Greg Abbott and his wife Cecilia
President Donald Trump boards Air Force One at Chennault International Airport in Lake Charles, Louisiana, following a visit with those helping with the impacted of Hurricane Harvey on Saturday

‘The water is disappearing, we have a long way to go, but the water is disappearing. Yesterday we had water and today it’s all swept up and cleared up. That’s a lot of hard working people, I’ll tell you that.

‘You have a great governor and a great first lady of Texas. Special people,’ he said, gesturing towards Abbott and his wife Cecilia.

‘They have worked so hard and the coordination between the federal, state and local governments has been terrific. We’re going to keep it going.’

He strayed from the topic briefly to congratulate Education Secretary Betsy DeVos on a ‘full page story’ in the Wall Street Journal and heaped praise on Ben Carson for his work with Veteran Affairs.

Before leaving the church, he said the clear-up from Harvey may take ‘two or three years’.

‘They say two years, three years. Because this is Texas you’ll probably do it in six months,’ he said, winning roaring applause from the congregation.

‘I think for a lot of places maybe it never gets done. I think in your case it’ll get done very quickly,’ he went on, adding that it was ‘a real honor’ to be with them.

He was joined on stage by Senator Ted Cruz, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, Governor Greg Abbott and his wife Cecilia, and a handful of others.

After his speech, the president and first lady went outside to load waiting cars and vans with cases of bottled water. Trump, 71, was hands on, lugging the heavy cases from the ground to the lined-up vehicles.

Senator Ted Cruz leaned back in order to get the perfect snapshot of President Trump and some supporters on Saturday
At a church relief center, President Trump commended Senator Ted Cruz (pictured) along with Texas Governor Greg Abbott for their orchestrated response to the disaster
First Lady Melania Trump later posted photos of the day on Twitter, writing: ‘Spent today with the wonderful families helping each other after #HurricaneHarvey’
Trump praised Governor Greg Abbott for doing a ‘terrific’ job in dealing with the catastrophe
After giving his speech at the church, the president and first lady loaded supplies of food and water on to the back of waiting trucks
Melania was keen to get involved with the heavy lifting and helped her husband as they dished out supplies
The president spoke with residents as they made their way through a drive-thru at First Church in Pearland on Saturday
The president and first lady deliver supplies from the American Red Cross and Feed The Children to Harvey victims

The pair left the White House at 9.20am to make their way to Joint Air Base Andrews where they boarded Air Force One shortly afterwards.

Melania, heeding none of the criticism she received earlier in the week for wearing towering stilettos for the journey, stuck with sky scraper heels again.

She paired her snakeskin pumps with a khaki dress and wore her signature pair of sunglasses. An aide toted two Louis Vuitton bags carrying a change of outfit for her.

After touching down at Eliot Field in Houston, she emerged in a denim shirt, jeans and a pair of sneakers, adding a hat with the word ‘Texas’ stitched on the front.

President Trump was dressed in a more weather appropriate outfit of a rain coat, shirt and dark trousers. He carried an umbrella for the pair as they made their way across the South Lawn to board Marine One.

Immediately after arriving in Texas, the pair went to the NRG Stadium where thousands are sheltering to give out food.

They went to immediately visit evacuees at the NRG Stadium in Houston where the president picked up and kissed a little girl to the delight of the first lady
He was tender in his treatment of the little girl whose beady hair bands appeared to get in his eye
President Trump greets a little boy at the NRG Stadium in Houston on Saturday during his visit to the city
The president was particularly taken with the children taking shelter at the evacuation center, paying special attention to them as he made his way around
One little boy walked right up to the president and hugged him. Trump, without batting an eyelid, returned his embrace
The president sat down with another little boy who was playing in the stadium where thousands have been forced to take shelter
Trump signed the wall with a sharpie while the first lady played with children nearby

Trump was warm and jovial, kissing babies and chatting to young children who have been forced to recuperate at the stadium with their families after having their homes wiped away by the storm.

They dished out lunch boxes containing hot dogs, potato chips and apples to lines of hungry evacuees and posed for selfies with fans before leaving the stadium to move on to Louisiana.

Before making his exit, Trump told gathered reporters that the people he spoke with were ‘very happy’ and said that though the hurricane itself was ‘tough’, the unified response of the country was ‘wonderful’.

He made brief reference to his request for an additional $7.9 billion to give the victims of the hurricane.

‘We’re signing a lot of documents now to get money into Houston. We signed it and now it’s going through a very quick, hopefully quick process,’ he said.

It is his second visit to Texas where at least 44 are dead and 32,000 are in evacuation shelters as a result of Harvey which has been heralded as the worst natural disaster to have ever hit the US.

Floods have destroyed entire neighborhoods in Houston and Beaumont and Port Arthur in south east Texas.

There are areas of Louisiana which have also been affected. Local authorities are working round-the-clock to rescue anyone still stranded and recover the bodies of those who were unable to escape.

The president posed proudly for photographs with evacuees in the stadium, some of whom were forced to flee a week ago
The president and first lady sort through books and toys at the NRG Stadium in Houston on Saturday.
The president was upbeat and said it was ‘wonderful’ to see so many Texans in high spirits
First Lady Melania Trump plays with two little girls at the NRG stadium in Texas on Satruday
The pair handed out food to a line of evacuees and took pictures with some fans who had lined up
Evacuees at Houston’s NRG Stadium take photographs with the president and first lady on Saturday
A volunteer helps the first lady pack a meal box at the NRG Stadium in Houston on Saturday
Melania Trump gives out food to evacuees at the NRG stadium in Houston on Saturday
The president poses for a selfie with a family of evacuees at the NRG Stadium in Houston on Saturday
They were also welcomed by residents in one affected neighborhood which is now clear of flood water
The pair listen to an aid worker at the church drive-thru on Saturday in Pearland, Texas
Trump poses with a fan in a neighborhood of Houston, Texas, which was affected by the hurricane

During their brief visit to Houston, the Trumps also met with members of the Texas delegation before making their way to Louisiana at around lunchtime.

There, they will take part in a meet and greet with members of the Cajun Navy, a civilian organization comprised of volunteers with boats who have saved thousands since Harvey hit last week.

The couple will fly back to Washington DC afterwards and will arrive back at the White House at 9pm.

On Tuesday, Trump faced criticism for their upbeat visit to the state where he addressed a crowd of supporters in Corpus Christi and met with Governor Greg Abbott but did not visit one of the evacuation shelters in place.

He steered clear of Houston, where the hurricane was ongoing at the time, and instead went to Corpus Christi.

The president was optimistic with his public message as the worst of the storm hit. He marveled at the size of it but assured Texans the ‘good news’ was there was ‘talent’ on the ground who would be equipped to cope with the catastrophe.

The pair paused briefly outside the White House before making their way on to the South Lawn
The pair emerged from the White House shortly after 9.20am and made their way across the South Lawn, battling heavy rain along the way
The pair emerged from the White House shortly after 9.20am and made their way across the South Lawn, battling heavy rain along the way
Melania, heeding none of the criticism she received earlier in the week, wore a pair of towering snakeskin stilettos
An aide carried Louis Vuitton luggage for the first lady which contained her change of outfit
The president and first lady approach Marine One on the White House South Lawn on Saturday, September 2
The pair moved quickly from the helicopter on to Air Force One at Joint Air Base Andrews, battling wind and rain along the way
The pair moved quickly from the helicopter on to Air Force One at Joint Air Base Andrews, battling wind and rain along the way
The president waved at gathered photographers and reporters before boarding Air Force One at around 9.30am
The first lady boarded first, giving what was likely the last glimpse of her glamorous outfit before changing on board
Melania faced criticism earlier in the week when she emerged from the White House to fly to Texas in a pair of towering stilettos. She changed on Air Force One and emerged later in a pair of sneakers
Melania faced criticism earlier in the week when she emerged from the White House to fly to Texas in a pair of towering stilettos. She changed on Air Force One and emerged later in a pair of sneakers

Since then, the reality of the hurricane’s devastation has set in. There has been sharp criticism of the federal response to it from experts who were involved in handling the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, and some fear not enough will be done to repair the damage caused.

The president has donated $1million of his own money to relief funds and the government is asking for $7.9 billion in emergency aid for those impacted.

Trump asked for the increase on Friday to replenish the dwindling FEMA fund which had an existing $7 billion. The additional $7.9 billion is likely to be swiftly approved by Congress this week.

Republicans are planning to use it as an example of why the federal borrowing limit should be increased. Democrats do not want to see the $19.9 trillion debt limit go up and say that Harvey relief money should be dealt with separately.

More than 430,000 homes have already registered for FEMA aid since Harvey hit. On Friday, Trump declared a national day of prayer to take place on Sunday in honor of the hurricane’s victims.

The estimated cost of the damage will be in excess of $110 billion. Experts earlier said it could reach $160 billion.

Huge swathes of Texas remain underwater after the floods which Harvey brought at the start of the week
A view of a neighborhood in Houston, Texas, on Friday shows the persisting flood waters a week after Harvey first hit

SOURCE: Daily Mail, Jennifer Smith