Donald Trump delivered a prepared speech today in Springfield, MO, in which he delivered all those verbal hugs to Texans that some TV pundits thought he would deliver while actually in Texas, one day earlier, when he spoke extemporaneously while visiting Corpus Christi and Austin.
In Texas, he focused on crowd size, and promising not to congratulate himself and state officials on the job of managing the impact of Hurricane Harvey as it was still socking the Houston area. Making the round of morning shows this morning, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie defended Trump’s remarks in Texas, saying he’d do all his hugging when he returned to Texas on Friday.
A few hours later, however, Trump delivered his make-good today:
Before we begin I’d like to take a few moments to discuss the deeply tragic situation in Texas and Louisiana. As you all know our gulf coast was hit over the weekend with a devastating hurricane of historic proportion.
Torrential rains and terrible flooding continue to pose a grave danger to life and to property. Our first responders have been doing absolutely heroic work to shepherd people out of harm’s way. And their courage and devotion has saved countless lives. They represent truly the very best of America.
We must be vigilant; we must protect the lives of our people. I was on the ground in Texas yesterday to meet with Governor Abbott – who is doing, by the way, an incredible job – and local officials, so that we could coordinate the very big and unprecedented federal response. In difficult times such as these we see the true character of the American people, their strength, their love, and their resolve. We see friend helping friend, neighbor helping neighbor, and stranger helping stranger. And together we will endure and we will overcome.
To those affected by this storm, we are praying for you, and we are here with you every single step of the way, and I can speak, I know, for the people in this room, every step of the way. To those Americans who have lost loved ones, all of America is grieving with you, and our hearts are joined with yours forever.
The citizens of Texas and the gulf coast need all the prayers, support and resources our communities have to offer. Recovery will be tough but I have seen the resilience of the American spirit firsthand all over this country.
To the people of Houston, and across Texas and Louisiana, we are here with you today, we are with you tomorrow, and we will be with you every single day after, to restore, recover, and rebuild.
Our thoughts and prayers remain firmly with the citizens and our fellow people, people, great, great people, all affected by this tragedy.
“We’re also glad to be back in the heartland with the very, very fine folks of Missouri,” Trump said, moving on to the reason he’d come to Springfield – to campaign for tax cuts for businesses, urging attendees to jettison their incumbent Dem Sen. Claire McCaskill, “if she does not do it for you.”