WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump will donate $1 million of his personal wealth to Harvey recovery efforts in Texas and Louisiana, the White House announced Thursday.
The president and first lady Melania Trump will return Saturday to flood-devastated Texas, likely touring the Houston area, press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said.
They also will visit Lake Charles, Louisiana, also in the storm’s path, Sanders said.
Donald Trump is joining in the charitable giving of people across the country amid Harvey’s destruction and “will pledge — proudly — $1 million of his own personal money to help the people of both Texas and Louisiana,” Sanders told reporters.
She said the president wanted the White House press corps to choose which foundation should benefit.
Vice President Mike Pence, meanwhile, spent the day in Texas, visiting rural Rockport, where he met with volunteers and homeowners, and rolled up his shirtsleeves to remove piles of tree debris.
He was joined by his wife, Karen, and several Cabinet secretaries.
Earlier, Pence spoke at a church torn open by the storm.
“President Trump sent us here to say we are with you. The American people are with you,” the vice president said. “We are here today, we will be here tomorrow, and we will be here every day until this city and this state and this region rebuilds, bigger and better than ever before.”
Trump tweeted his appreciation of first responders and volunteers who have rescued thousands stranded in their flooded homes and provided relief to those reeling from Harvey.
“THANK YOU to all of the incredible HEROES in Texas. America is with you!” he posted.
Trump was in Corpus Christi and Austin, Texas, on Tuesday, when he was briefed on the storm toll and response in roundtable discussions. He did not tour harder hit areas.
He tweeted Wednesday that he had witnessed “first hand the horror & devastation.”
Asked later in the day about the claim, Sanders said he had talked with state and local officials who “are eating, sleeping, breathing the Harvey disaster.”
On Thursday, White House homeland security adviser Tom Bossert defended cuts that Trump had proposed to FEMA long before Harvey struck.
“The core operating function at FEMA is going to be well-funded under the president’s proposal,” Bossert told reporters. “The Disaster Relief Fund — which really provides the money for these events that you don’t plan for, but that you prepare for — those things will be all well-funded.”
Separately Thursday, Sanders would neither confirm nor deny a Fox News report that the administration would announce as soon as Friday its plans to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, program.
“A final decision on that front has not been made,” she said.
The initiative, begun under former President Barack Obama, granted a deportation reprieve to hundreds of thousands of young people brought illegally to the country as children.
The press secretary also discussed Trump’s push for a tax code overhaul, which he promoted Wednesday in Springfield, Missouri, telling lawmakers “it’s time” to act.
He did not go into specifics of what he sought in the legislation.
“Our job is to lay out the core principles. . . . It’s Congress’ job to legislate,” Sanders said Thursday.
She would not say whether the administration expects the plan will be deficit-neutral.