Donald Trump met with Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards, US lawmakers and federal agency officials following Hurricane Laura which left 15 dead. The massive storm hit Louisiana early on Thursday with 150mph winds, damaging buildings, knocking down trees and cutting power to more than 650,000 people in Louisiana and Texas. However, Laura’s storm surge was much less than predicted.
The Category 4 hurricane killed at least 15 people, including some killed by carbon monoxide poisoning from the unsafe operation of generators.
Governor Edwards called Laura the most powerful hurricane to strike Louisiana, surpassing even Katrina, which was a Category 3 storm when it hit in 2005.
Mr Trump, told officials, referring to those who were lost: “It’s a tremendous number, but you were thinking it could be, could have been, a lot worse.”
The President signed a disaster declaration for Louisiana on Friday.
READ MORE: Hurricane Laura landfall timeline: Where is Laura going next?
Mr Trump also met with National Guard personnel in Louisiana helping with relief efforts and later flew to Orange, Texas, to meet with officials.
He sat down and called to a group of people, saying: “Come here fellas, get over here. I want a little power.”
Handing over his autograph to an official, he said: “Sell this on eBay tonight, you’ll get $10,000”.
He then told another recipient that he is deliberately not putting his name on as it would be worth more without it.
The President’s autographed memorabilia on eBay has bids topping thousands of dollars.
Lake Charles resident Borden Wilson, a 33-year-old pediatrician, was anxiously anticipating his return home after evacuating to Minden, Louisiana.
He said: “I never even boarded up my windows. I didn’t think to do that. This is the first hurricane I’ve experienced. I just hope my house is fine.”
In the small town of Starks, about 25 miles northwest of Lake Charles, pine trees strewn across roads and homes were the biggest challenge in cleaning up.
Reverend Karl Smith carefully inspected the damage done to buildings around his First Pentecostal Church. He rode out the storm in the cellar of his house – and had to cut through trees so that he and his wife could get out.
“We just had trees thrown everywhere,” Smith said. “It’s a big mess.”