Trump arrives in Texas to view Hurricane Harvey damage in test of presidency

(ABC News) — President Trump is visiting parts of Texas today ravaged by Hurricane Harvey, a milestone trip that allows him to demonstrate his handling of a natural disaster as commander in chief.

Accompanied by first lady Melania Trump, the president touched down at 11:25 a.m. local time in Corpus Christi, Texas, where he was to receive a briefing on hurricane relief efforts with local leaders and aid organizations. He was scheduled to then continue on to Austin for a tour of the Emergency Operations Center and participate in another hurricane briefing with state leaders.

He is expected to return to the White House tonight.

Trump was accompanied by Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price, acting Department of Homeland Security Secretary Elaine Duke, Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson and Small Business Administration administrator Linda McMahon.

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Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, who greeted the presidential party upon their arrival, told reporters shortly before Air Force One landed that it was important for the president to visit the state, and that Trump and his team have been talking about providing additional aid.

“We want him to see and understand the enormous challenges that Texas has faced and the need and the aid that he’s provided,” Abbott said.

During a news conference Monday, the president struck an optimistic tone that the Lone Star State would be “up and running very quickly” and expressed confidence that Congress would quickly approve whatever funds are necessary for recovery, beyond available funding from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

“We think you’re going to have what you need and it’s going to go fast,” he said.

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He also expressed awe over the sheer size of the storm.

“It’s the biggest ever,” Trump said. “It’s historic. It’s really like Texas, if you think about it. But it is a historic amount of water in particular. There’s never been anything like it.”

The president Sunday announced he would be traveling to Texas as soon as it was feasible. But for now, at least, he plans to stay away from Houston and other areas of the state that were hit the hardest.

Trump approved Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s request for a disaster proclamation Friday, activating a response from FEMA for relief to the state.