Photo of Donald Trump

Remarks in a Briefing on Storm Damage and Recovery Efforts in Cedar Rapids, Iowa

August 18, 2020

The President. Well, thank you very much. And Governor Kim Reynolds has done an incredible job for calling me, and—with you and Chuck and Joni. We have come through for you, and we will always come through for Iowa, for you.

We're pleased to be joined by Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Chad Wolf, who has been doing a fantastic job. And we're going to the border in a little while, and we're going to see the wall, part of the wall that has been built. We're up to almost 300 miles. Can you believe that? Three hundred miles. And it's moving along rapidly, and we're very proud of it.

It's had a tremendous impact on people coming into our country illegally, especially with the pandemic. Because Mexico has got some very big problems on the pandemic—very heavily infected. And we've stopped them. It's the strongest we've been on the border in many, many years. Probably decades. So it's been very good.

Thank you very much, Chad.

And FEMA Administrator Pete Gaynor—Pete, thank you very much. He's been so busy, I don't even talk to him anymore. I just say, "Hi, Pete." I said, "Where's next?" But you've been doing, really, a fantastic job, and we appreciate it.

And Senator Chuck Grassley—a incredible man and a friend of mine and somebody that represents the State so well. And I almost don't have a chance when he calls. Right, Joni?

Senator Joni K. Ernst. That's right.

The President. We almost don't have—and then, on top of it, Joni Ernst calls. And between the two of them, Kim——

Governor Kimberly K. Reynolds of Iowa. We've got a great team.

The President. you get what you want, right? But we really do; we have a fantastic team. And also, State and local officials and Iowans affected by this incredible storm.

Last week, for those of you that don't know what happened, a powerful hurricane-force winds pummeled Iowa like, I guess, you haven't really seen before. Right?

Gov. Reynolds. Yes.

The President. Has this ever happened, a thing like this?

Gov. Reynolds. Not to this extent have we experienced anything even close to this.

The President. Yes. The size and the power of the wind.

All Americans are united in grief and prayer for the precious life that was lost. So how many people were lost, would you say?

Gov. Reynolds. Right now we've had three fatalities. And when you look at the severity of the damage and how widespread it is, and especially in Linn County that you're in right now, it's been a blessing that we haven't had any more loss of life than we've had.

The President. Well, that's good. That's—three is too many, but that's a lot.

Gov. Reynolds. Three is too many.

The President. And people injured, I know. But it's—but they're—they'll be okay, right?

Gov. Reynolds. Yes.

The President. This took a big chunk out of your entire State, Chuck. This was a big portion. I guess more than half of your counties were affected, and some very badly, right?

Senator Charles E. Grassley. Yes, about 113 million acres of crop.

The President. Amazing. No, it's amazing.

So my administration's already working with Iowa officials, some of whom are with us now, to provide aid and to assess the damage.

Winds from 80 to 110 miles per hour have carved a path of destruction through over half of Iowa's really great counties, many of which I got to know over the years. Up to 43 percent of the State's corn and soybean crops have been damaged or totally destroyed. Three hundred and thirty-two cell towers were damaged—think of that—impacting 1 million residents. Nearly half a million of the Iowa Electric customers lost power, but I understand the power is back to about 90 percent.

Gov. Reynolds. That's the goal by the end of the night——

The President. Good.

Gov. Reynolds. ——so we're making progress and getting closer.

The President. And the power company has done a good job——

Gov. Reynolds. Yes.

The President. ——under the circumstances?

Gov. Reynolds. We had 595,000 households without power. Ninety-seven percent of Linn County had no power from the storm.

The President. Wow.

Gov. Reynolds. So, unbelievable.

The President. So they really did a good job getting it back, right?

Gov. Reynolds. Yes. Yes.

The President. So fast. That's fantastic.

Gov. Reynolds. With the contact aid, but mutual aid really implementing that. We've seen a lot of collaboration take place.

The President. That's fantastic. Thank them for us.

And schools here in Cedar Rapids were hit very hard. And many of the schools that planned to open are now going to be delayed, not for the pandemic reason, but for an unrelated reason that nobody thought would happen.

So yesterday I approved disaster—a disaster declaration for Iowa. You know that. And it was done in record time. And we're offering the full support of the Federal Government, so you'll take care of that.

Federal Emergency Management Agency Administrator Peter T. Gaynor. Sure. Sure. The President. And the USDA also announced assistance for impacted farmers. Just as we delivered $117 million to the Cedar Rapids flood mitigation project in 2018, and that was another big one. Cedar Rapids has had a rough couple of years, when you think about it, right? But we took good care of the flooding. And just like we did that, we're going to help you recover from the storm. And we'll get it done, and we'll all get it done together.

Iowans have always been resilient and strong and tough and great people. From the depths of this grave hardship, we will rebuild even stronger than before. We're going to be in fantastic shape in a very short period of time. You have a outstanding group of people representing you.

And maybe if I could, Kim, you could start off and say a few words as to what's going on and how we can further help.

Gov. Reynolds. Yes. Well, first of all, I just want to extend my gratitude for the incredible turnaround time. In less than 24 hours, you were able to approve the major disaster declaration, and that provides a lot of insurance to our communities that have been impacted by the derecho.

It's basically a 40-mile-wide tornado that went through the State of Iowa.

The President. Amazing.

Gov. Reynolds. A hundred and twelve miles an hour per—you know, wind—up to some of the highest speeds. And as I indicated, 595,000 households without power, significant damage to our electricity and communications infrastructure.

But the capacity of our utilities to get people back up has been great. Appreciated Secretary—Administrator Gaynor being on the ground yesterday and seeing firsthand some of the damage.

Twenty-seven counties; we'll be adding more. Sixteen public assistance in the disaster declaration; 27 getting individual assistance. And that'll have a huge impact on Iowans——

The President. Good. Great.

Gov. Reynolds. ——and just we really appreciate that.

The President. And, Pete, you'll do whatever you have to do?

Administrator Gaynor. Yes, sir. We're on the ground now.

The President. How do you compare this, in terms of damage, with what you had with the flooding a year and a half ago, 2 years ago?

Gov. Reynolds. So this is just so much widespread, when you think about entire counties that have been taken out. You heard the Senator say, you know, over half of our crops have been devastated.

We are—anticipate these early estimates—about $4 billion worth of damage; 3.7 of that is through agriculture, between the loss of crops and structures and then——

The President. So this is even more than the floods.

Gov. Reynolds. Oh, yes. Yes.

The President. Wow.

Gov. Reynolds. More widespread. And we'll have additional counties that will be added. They're working on that right now. We've—the mayors will talk about some of the——

The President. Good.

Gov. Reynolds. ——early estimates that they're seeing. But significant damage. And—but we will come back stronger and better than ever, and we're doing—we've got a lot of help, and we just appreciate the quick response that we've been able to——

The President. Well, you know you have your friends from the Army Corps of Engineers. Nobody better. They helped you the last time. You didn't think you'd be back so soon, General, did you?

Gov. Reynolds. I know. Well, I appreciate the response with the floods.

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Chief of Engineers and Commanding General Lieutenant General Todd T. Semonite, USA. Well, Mr. President, we're—of course, we work for FEMA and the Administrator. We're very, very proud to be out here. We've been asked to do some assessments on some of the debris removal. We think they've got about 1.5 million cubic yards, and the State is going to do a lot of that heavy lifting.

But whatever we can do to help, the Army Corps is all in.

The President. So, Chuck, with that voice, wouldn't he be a great politician? His voice is almost as tough as yours. Not quite.

Sen. Grassley. As long as he doesn't run in Iowa. [Laughter]

The President. That's a good point.

Chuck, what would you like to say?

Sen. Grassley. Well, first of all, I think your coming here and representing the Federal Government and, as President of the United States, to show your work in helping us work through this is very, very important. So we thank you for that.

And if I were going to compare the 150 miles I traveled from Boone to Cedar Rapids Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, last week—the damage to the crops—I've seen corn flat on the ground in my 50 years of farming, but I have never seen it mile after mile, and, you know, just——

The President. Thrown.

Sen. Grassley. ——flat on the ground. And very little of it recoverable, I think. So that's something to keep in mind.

And I think that one of the things that would make you proud of Iowans, as I think you probably know—neighbor helping neighbor——

The President. Right.

Sen. Grassley. ——and things of that nature.

So we thank you for coming. And the widespread damage that you're going to be alerted to and the homes lost and the power outages and the crop damage is all important, but you're stepping up to help with that declaration, and we thank you.

The President. And you know, it's difficult because you had the largest order of corn in history—did you know that?—last week from, of all groups, China. How about that? China. Which—I don't know—it makes you think a little bit, doesn't it? Huh? But China made the largest order of corn, twice, over the last week.

So how does that affect an order like that, when you have such damage to the crops, to the corn crops? Sen. Grassley. Well, I think, last week, when the crop—when the price of grain went up quite a bit, it helps. But then that's going to help those people that have grain to sell. But the farmers that have been hurt with the damaged crop——

The President. Yes.

Sen. Grassley. ——you only help——

The President. But are they able to fulfill an order like that? Can they—will they be able to get an order that big?

Sen. Grassley. Oh, if that's your question——

The President. Yes.

Sen. Grassley. ——the answer is yes, because we have so much carryover from the year before.

The President. That's great. Oh——

Sen. Grassley. Yes.

The President. That's very good.

Sen. Grassley. Yes.

The President. That's the biggest—the two biggest orders of corn in history, we got. That's because they think I'm not happy, and I'm not. I'm not. I'm not happy at all. Just the opposite.

Joni, please go ahead.

Sen. Ernst. Mr. President, thank you so much for being here. Really appreciate your time and your assistance to the folks here in Iowa. And the discussion that we had yesterday morning, I thank you for that. And I can tell that you really do care about the citizens on the ground here.

One thing that would be helpful, of course—with the impact to the ag economy, the loss of so many crops—is our farmers would love to know that, with these gap-year waivers that the oil refineries are submitting to the EPA, that we just dispense of those, we not allow them to move forward. Some of these waivers would apply to years—9 years ago, 8 years ago. Our farmers just really need some help this year, obviously, with the crop damage. And that would be a great step forward, is working with the EPA——

The President. So I approved the ethanol, and we did the whole thing with the 12-month, and all of the others.

Let me ask you, how is ethanol doing with the markets? It's got to be a little bit tough, right?

Sen. Ernst. It is very—it's very tough right now. And through COVID, we saw a decrease in driving, and so the sales of ethanol have not been up where they should be. And we've seen that all across the industry—the impact. And now, after the crop damage, it just sets our farmers even further back.

The President. But they'll be ready when the market comes back. They'll be ready like never before, right?

Sen. Ernst. Yes, they will. And what we need—just help from the EPA to follow the intent of the law with the renewable fuels standards.

The President. All right. We'll speak to them.

Sen. Ernst. Thank you, Mr. President. The President. I'll speak to them myself.

Sen. Ernst. Thank you.

The President. I'll do it myself.

Chad, please.

Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Chad F. Wolf. Absolutely. Well, Mr. President, let me again commend you, as the Senator did, for coming here to Cedar Rapids. I think that sends a strong signal to all Iowans, and it—and certainly, thank you for providing the disaster relief funds that you have done so quickly.

The President. Don't forget: This has been a very loving area for me. Cedar Rapids has been fantastic, and there's a lot of—we've developed a lot of great relationships in Cedar Rapids, so I never had a doubt, really.

So go ahead.

Acting Secretary Wolf. I had the opportunity, last week, again to talk with Governor Reynolds about the devastation. Of course, FEMA has been here, really, since day one, and Administrator Gaynor has been here over the last 24 hours, working with the Governor and all of her staff on these priorities as well. And FEMA stood up, really, since day one, their regional coordination center here to make sure that that tie between FEMA and the State was absolutely critical and spot on. So it's there.

Your certainly granting that major disaster declaration is a huge step forward to providing that public assistance and mitigation assistance. So I really want to thank you for all the work that you've done over the past several days to make sure that we get the resources to Iowans.

The President. And we wanted to get it done fast, and we did record—record fast.

Pete, go ahead, please.

Administrator Gaynor. Yes, sir.

The President. Thank you.

Administrator Gaynor. Again, thank you for approving the dec in record time. It really means a lot to the Governor and her staff.

And we had a great tour yesterday. Went out; we saw firsthand the devastation. So, aside from the level of devastation——

The President. Were you surprised?

Administrator Gaynor. I was. I had not seen——

The President. He's seen it all. This guy has seen devastation like nobody, but this is bad.

Administrator Gaynor. Yes. Yes, sir. And so, aside from the devastation, the thing that impressed me most was the spirit of Iowans helping Iowans out there. So, volunteers helping——

The President. Right.

Administrator Gaynor. ——volunteers with food. We just came from Operation BBQ that's in the backlot of the airport, serving tens of thousands of meals. The National Guard on the streets, clearing streets. Electrical restoration crews as far away as Nova Scotia here to help restore power. Really unbelievable. We have a ways to go——

Gov. Reynolds. Yes. Administrator Gaynor. ——but the amount that they've gone so far, quite impressive. So we'll be here until we're done, right beside the Governor and her team.

The President. What is the timing, do you think?

Administrator Gaynor. Well, it will take some time to clear debris. I think debris is going to be the—some of the hardest things to do; there's lots of it out there. So that does take time, but we have a plan to do it. And, again, we'll be here until the job is done.

The President. Can you find usage in some of the corn? Is it aged enough, or is it just really not going to be able to be used?

Iowa State Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig. Well, Mr. President, I'm secretary of agriculture here in Iowa.

The President. Hi.

Secretary Naig. And, you know, it will depend. A lot of it, as the Senator said, is—it won't come back up. You won't be able to harvest it for any use.

The President. Right.

Secretary Naig. Some of it will. But there are millions of acres of corn that just won't, flat out, be able to be harvested. So—but, to your point——

The President. And you've never seen anything like that?

Secretary Naig. No, not to the widespread—you know, the Governor mentioned it. I mean, we're talking hundreds of miles by 40, 50, 60 miles wide. It's not that we don't—we're not used—it's not that we're not used to dealing with difficult weather in agriculture. It's just something of this scale is really tough.

The President. What about other States, by the way? Did it—how was it? And they weren't affected nearly like this, but——

Secretary Naig. Well, it really—you know, it started in South Dakota. It went to western Ohio. But, really, if you get into western Illinois, there was some crop damage, but nothing like what you're seeing or what you'd see from central Iowa, really, into eastern Iowa.

The President. Right.

Secretary Naig. It took the bullseye.

The President. Incredible. Okay, thank you very much. Good job. Would anybody like to say anything? Please, go ahead. Please.

Mayor Bradley G. Hart of Cedar Rapid, Iowa. I'm Brad Hart, mayor of Cedar Rapids.

The President. Good.

Mayor Hart. And welcome back to Cedar Rapids.

The President. Thank you.

Mayor Hart. Thank you for your leadership, and thank you for the disaster proclamation. That is really important for us. And it's starting to—not only the Federal aid, but the rest of the country is starting to take note. And so we're getting volunteers and help from around the country, and that's really important.

Almost every one of our almost 60,000 homes and businesses had some kind of damage. That's how widespread it was. Most of the city didn't have power for a week. I still don't have power at my home, and there's about maybe another 20- or 30- or 40,000 people that are still waiting for power to come back up in Cedar Rapids.

The President. You expect it when? When do you expect it everything to——

Mayor Hart. Today. Hopefully, today.

The President. Oh, good. All right.

Mayor Hart. Yes.

The President. Well, then they've done a very good job.

Mayor Hart. No, they have.

The President. That's pretty good.

Mayor Hart. They've brought in thousands of linemen to work on this.

One of the things that—and I have a letter that I'll present——

The President. Sure.

Mayor Hart. ——leave with you. But in the disaster proclamation declaration, if we could get the individual assistance. Because so many people have not only—they may have homeowners insurance, but there's still a premium to pay. They still had to throw out food that the insurance won't cover. And most policies for insurance do not cover removal of trees. They take—they'll pay to move it off your house, but not—once it's on the ground, you have to pay for that. And that could be tens of thousands of dollars for lots of homeowners.

And so, adding the individual assistance component to the disaster declaration would really help so many people get those trees out of their yard and not have such a financial burden for them. So that would be a big help for us.

The President. How have the insurance companies responded and acted, would you say?

Mayor Hart. Personally——

The President. Have they tried to hold back?

Mayor Hart. ——from my house, they've been very attentive.

The President. Good.

Mayor Hart. And I know that many of the insurance companies have brought in hundreds of adjusters to try to process claims. But it's hard when we didn't even have power and didn't even have cell service for several days.

The President. Are you pretty well covered with insurance, though? I mean, you have clauses.

Mayor Hart. I hope so, but the trees in my yard will cost me lots of money, more than what my coverage is, and I have pretty good coverage. But I can handle that, but there's so many Iowans who cannot. So that would be a great help for thousands of those.

The President. All right. Good. We'll take a look at that. You know about that.

Administrator Gaynor. Yes, sir.

Gov. Reynolds. And it's actually part of the disaster declaration, and we're actually accumulating the damage and the numbers, and we'll be able to add that on.

The President. Yes. Gov. Reynolds. And we should be able to do that——

The President. All right.

Gov. Reynolds. ——in a short amount of time.

The President. We'll see what we can do.

Administrator Gaynor. Yes, sir.

The President. You'll let me know, right?

Administrator Gaynor. Yes, sir.

Acting Secretary Wolf. Those other assessments are coming through.

Gov. Reynolds. Yes.

Acting Secretary Wolf. We expect them probably in the next week or so, and then we can——

Gov. Reynolds. In the—yes.

Acting Secretary Wolf. ——turn on the individual assistance.

The President. How many people will that affect?

Mayor Hart. Well, I think it could affect 55,000 people at least. Because we—55,000 buildings—homes, mainly homes—and businesses were impacted by that.

The President. Amazing. It's big, right? It's amazing.

Okay. We'll take care of it, Mayor.

Mayor Hart. Thank you.

The President. Thank you very much.

Mayor Hart. Thank you. Thank you.

The President. Please, go ahead.

Mayor Nicolas AbouAssaly of Marion, Iowa. Good morning, Mr. President. I'm——

The President. Thank you.

Mayor AbouAssaly. I'm Nick AbouAssaly. I'm the mayor of the city of Marion.

The President. Good.

Mayor AbouAssaly. We're a city of 40,000 people, right next to Cedar Rapids. And thank you so much for the declaration and the speed with which you approved that.

The President. Thank you.

Mayor AbouAssaly. It—we are Iowans, we help each other, we pull together, and—but it's—with this scale of devastation of this disaster, we need help. And we're really grateful to be getting the help from the State and from you.

As the—as Mayor Hart said, the devastation is very widespread, and that's what's unique about this disaster. It's not just one area of our community; we estimate that 90 to 95 percent of buildings—homes and businesses—in our town have some type of damage.

And the tree removal—my understanding is that, as the mayor said, the insurance policies will pay for removing the tree off the house, but a lot of trees didn't fall on the houses. And so the average tree removal is—what I—how—as I understand, it's $3,500 per tree. So I know someone who lost 39 trees—large, mature trees, some of them over a hundred years old. I know another tree farmer who lost 5,000 trees. So if you drive around the community, there are just—the debris covers up buildings.

The President. So is that liability, when you have trees, all those trees? You love those trees. You'd rather keep those trees, right?

Mayor AbouAssaly. Well, they provide tree cover——

The President. Yes.

Mayor AbouAssaly. ——and are very helpful for energy and efficiency. Yes.

The President. So that's really a loss?

Mayor AbouAssaly. Yes, absolutely. Absolutely.

The other thing we're worried about: individuals and businesses. Because on top of this, the economic stress of COVID, obviously. You know, now people have this type of stress with the financial burden of removing the trees and clearing the debris.

The President. How are you doing with the COVID? How's your area? Both of you, how are you doing with COVID?

Mayor Hart. Well, we were the second—had the most—the second-highest number of cases and deaths. But we're now running fourth or fifth, which is—you know, I don't want to win that race, so I'm happy that we've moved down.

We're working hard. The community has stepped up, and masks—and businesses are requiring masks to protect their own customers and their own workers. I think we'll get through it. People really understand the importance of it now, and people have adjusted their lifestyles. So—but a vaccine will be wonderful.

The President. Yes. Well, they're doing great on vaccines, and they're doing great on therapeutics.

And even places like—I was reading New Zealand is in such good shape, and then, today, they have a big outbreak. So, you know, it's the invisible enemy, but we're getting through it. And the vaccines are coming along really well—soon. And therapeutically, really good.

Mayor AbouAssaly. We are concerned, Mr. President, though, that we might lose a lot of small business, because just as they're starting to recover from COVID and open up for business again and regain their business——

The President. You get hit.

Mayor AbouAssaly. ——now they got hit. And so if there's a way to help them, maybe extend the PPP.

The President. Okay. Well, we're going to look very seriously at the individual help. Okay?

Administrator Gaynor. Yes, sir.

The President. Let's do that. Okay? It's a double whammy. Let's help.


Iowa State Representative Ashley Hinson. Mr. President, I'm Ashley Hinson, State Representative. And the district that I represent is in Marion and Cedar Rapids, so I've been working with these gentlemen since the disaster hit last week.

[At this point, Rep. Hinson continued her remarks, concluding as follows.]

So I just want to say I appreciate your speed in getting that through. Those resources will be greatly appreciated and greatly used to help our kids get back to school.

The President. When was the last time something like this happened, would you say, if ever? I mean, like a hundred years ago?

Rep. Hinson. Not this dramatic and widespread.

Sen. Ernst. Nothing like this.

The President. Nothing like this?

Sen. Ernst. No.

Rep. Hinson. I think the scale is what is the issue here. And, you know, they've touched on it: Everybody had damage, which meant—normally, when we would be out jumping to another community's aid, everybody had to deal with their own community and the challenges that they were facing.

And so we've seen, still, Iowans—they finish their own yard, and they run right to their neighbor's yard. And that's just what we do. That's what we did in my neighborhood. We just got power last night, and you could have heard the cheers, so I think that makes a huge difference in people's recovery. But there are a lot of challenges ahead, and we will see those in the coming days. But appreciate your open line of communication and what you're doing.

The President. Well, we'll take care of it. And you're going to have a very fast recovery, I predict.

Rep. Hinson. Thank you.

The President. Please, go ahead. Yes.

Iowa resident Wayne Blackford. Mr. President, I'm Wayne Blackford. I'm a farmer and a cattle feeder——

The President. Good.

Mr. Blackford. ——north of Marion here. And I want to thank you for coming to Cedar Rapids.

But I think the big thing—we have insurance on our buildings and our farm, and we also have crop insurance, which we want to thank you for and keeping that in place over the next several years.

The President. That's right.

Mr. Blackford. We really need the crop insurance. It's going to be a big help.

But we're fine with our buildings. We're well insured, but we need profitability and agriculture to keep going. We need to be able to rebuild and rebuild right, not just cobble things together.

The President. But you feel good about it?

Mr. Blackford. I feel good about it.

The President. And you have—you really have good insurance? Most of you seem to have very good insurance. That's great. Mr. Blackford. Well, we've seen tornadoes before, and usually when we have a tornado, you know, it hits one spot. We actually feed cattle on 11 farms. And so, yes, we've had trouble before, but never on this many places at once.

The President. So this was, in a way, less dangerous than a tornado, but much wider, right? But the point of a tornado is truly brutal.

Mr. Blackford. Well, you know, my wife and I were in the house, and we said, "This is not a tornado." But when the siding went off the back side, we decided to go to the basement.

The President. It might have been.

Mr. Blackford. [Laughter]

The President. He said, "Maybe it is a tornado."

Mr. Blackford. So yes. So it felt like a tornado. I don't know if it sounded like a freight train. But it was devastating.

The President. That's incredible.

Mr. Blackford. I've never seen stuff go by the window so fast.

The President. Good job. Very good.


Mayor Jeric Armstrong of Clarence, Iowa. Good morning, Mr. President.

The President. Hi.

Mayor Armstrong. I'm Mayor Jeric Armstrong. I'm a mayor in Clarence, which is about 35 miles east of here on Highway 30. It's a town of about a thousand people. A small town, like a lot of communities in Iowa. And we just want to thank you for everything you're doing for the State of Iowa and all of our small communities because we are going to need the help.

We were the hardest hit community in Cedar County. Numerous homes damaged, trees down, as the other mayors said. But you stated earlier: The resilience of Iowans really came out——

The President. It's true.

Mayor Armstrong. ——really came out last week. And I can say that for a fact in my community. The people that stepped up the plate—the farmers that brought their equipment into town and got it out from underneath of their buildings that were collapsed on top of the equipment and brought their equipment to town to help clean up the mess so we could get power restored to town, which we got back about 4 o'clock yesterday afternoon. It really brings out the best in people, and Iowans are some of the best at that.

So we lost—there's farmers—there was a farmer north of town that lost a barn that was in his family for eight generations. So it is something like we've never seen before, and we just appreciate all your help. Thank you.

The President. Thank you. Great job too.

And, Kayleigh, let me ask you: With all that is going on in the world, is the world aware of what happened in Iowa? Because it is really something.

White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany. Well, they're aware now because you came in time to come here. So because now the media is here with you, they're well aware of the huge suffering of Iowans and your great support.

The President. Well, we're going to take care of it.

Would you like to say something?

Mission of Hope Executive Director Kim Reem. Absolutely. Thank you for being here, Mr. President.

The President. Thank you very much.

Ms. Reem. It means a lot to us. I'm the executive director of Mission of Hope here in Cedar Rapids. I've been there almost 40 years.

The President. Right.

Ms. Reem. We work to help people who are homeless, nearly homeless, living in poverty. And this week, I became one of those people. Our family lost our house, you know, due to the damage from the storm. And I know we'll be able to come back. We've got good insurance like everybody sitting here. Really, really grateful for that.

Just to echo what these guys said, we have a 200—sorry, a 2½-acre wooded lot, fully mature oak trees over a hundred years old, and we lost over a hundred of them. And it's going to be well in excess of a quarter of a million dollars just to remove trees.

The President. No kidding. Wow. That's incredible.

Ms. Reem. Yes, so——

The President. That's incredible. That's a big part of it. That's a very big part of it.

Ms. Reem. Yes. It's something that our family, you know, was not quite prepared for. We didn't even own a chainsaw.

[Ms. Reem continued her remarks, concluding as follows.]

And so they're definitely hurting. We're strong as Iowans. You've heard that all around the table: We're strong, and we're resilient, Mr. President. But we are tired, and we need your help.

The President. Thank you very much. Very much.

Would anybody like to ask any questions? The Governor or Senators or FEMA or Chad—any questions for them concerning this situation, which we're going to take care of very rapidly in Iowa? Anybody?

Okay, it's been very well covered.

Senator, thank you very much. Joni, thank you very much. I appreciate it. That's great. We'll get it taken care of. We'll get it done very quickly. All of you, we'll get it done. Ashley, we'll get it done very quickly. Chad, thank you. Governor.

It's all done. So now we have to start working, but the papers are done. You're going to look into the one event——

Administrator Gaynor. Yes, sir. Yes, sir.

The President. ——quickly, and we'll get that approved. Okay?

Thank you very much, everybody. Thank you very much. Appreciate it.

NOTE: The President spoke at 11:47 a.m. at the Eastern Iowa Airport.

Donald J. Trump, Remarks in a Briefing on Storm Damage and Recovery Efforts in Cedar Rapids, Iowa Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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