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Remarks at a Hurricane Harvey Relief Center in Pearland, Texas

September 02, 2017

The President. Well, thank you very much, Governor. And I want to congratulate the Governor. I want to congratulate everybody that's worked so hard. It's been an incredible 5 days, 6 days. This was—it seems like it's much longer than that, but actually, it's going so well that it's going fast, in a certain sense.

But I want to tell—so many of you are faith-based, and I want to just tell you that tomorrow we have National Prayer Day, and that was an official proclamation.

So we have a very special day. They haven't done that—Ted, I don't think they've done that for a while in our country, but now we've done it. So tomorrow is a very big day. So go to your church and pray and enjoy the day, so—and congratulations. We—congratulations on that.

I want to thank Ted Cruz—Senator Ted Cruz—for working so hard with us. And Ted doesn't know, but his work is just starting now, right? We have to push that stuff through. But we will. We signed some very big authorizations last night, and we'll get it through.

And Brock—come here a minute, Brock. What a job you've done, huh? What a job. Thank you very much. Thank you.

And the water is disappearing, and though we do—we have a long way to go, but the water is disappearing. And you look at the neighborhoods, and you see it's—we just rode through this, and 2 days ago, even yesterday they had water. And today it's all swept up and cleaned up, and you've got a lot of hard-working people, I'll tell you that. [Applause] A lot of hard-working people.

So I want to thank everybody for being here. You know Ben Carson. Come here, Ben. The great Ben Carson. And Elaine Duke.

And who likes schools? Because we have the finest person in the world for schools. Come here, Betsy. She just had a full-page story today in the Wall Street Journal, which was actually a very good story. Did you like it?

Secretary of Education Elisabeth P. DeVos. [Inaudible]

Good. And David—thank you—from the VA. David Shulkin.

And most importantly, the real boss of the family, right? Come on up here. Come. This is the real boss. Thank you.

Cecilia Abbott, wife of Gov. Gregory W. Abbott of Texas. Thank you. Thank you so much.

The President. I just have to say—and I was just telling Ted—you have a great Governor and a great first lady of Texas. Special people. They have worked so hard, and the coordination between the Federal and the State and the local has been terrific. And we're going to keep it going that way. And if anything, we'll even get it—I don't know if it gets better, but we're going to try and make it better.

But I just have to say this—the cameras are blazing, I have to say it—you have a great, great Governor. And he's done a fantastic job. So on behalf of Melania and myself, I want to thank you, Governor, for everything you've done. And, First Lady, thank you very much. So nice, so good.

Mrs. Abbott. Thank you for being here.

The President. Well, thank you very much. I appreciate it.

And it's really—David, seeing something like has happened here—you know, David has taken the Veterans Administration—the VA—and he has done so many things for the veterans and such. Since we've really been here 8 months, if you think about it. And they now have choice, which is such a big thing.

You know, you used to read—and for those of you that aren't vets, frankly—and we have a lot of vets in the room, I know, but you used to wait on line for 9 days, 14 days. Ted knows very well. And now, Ted, as you know, he has a program of choice where they don't have to do that. They go to a doctor, and we take care of it. But it's faster.

It's actually—probably, in the end, it will be less expensive, if you think about it. And people that can be fixed up perfectly in a matter of minutes, I mean, in some cases, bad, bad things happen to them because they couldn't get to see a doctor. Now they see their doctor. They see a doctor of their choice. But they go out, and they get great medical care quickly, Governor. It's the way you would do it, I know that.

And really, for years, as a civilian—I don't know if I've ever said this—I used to sit back and say, I wonder why they don't do this. It's not, like, so complicated, right? I'd read these horrible stories about our great people, our great veterans standing on a line and waiting for weeks to get to just see a doctor. And they have some great doctors in the VA, some really talented doctors——

Audience member. Thank you.

The President. ——the problem is, you just can't—oh, somebody said thank you. Sounds like we—are you a doctor in the VA?

Audience member. No, I'm not.

The President. But you see what we're doing? Thank you, honey. I appreciate that. But—so we're doing it, and we're really proud of it.

And, Ben, you are doing a spectacular job—really spectacular—with HUD, and brought a lot of spirit. Ben has brought a lot of spirit to HUD, I can tell you that. I know it very well. And, Betsy, again, thank you very much. Thank you, everybody. And, Governor, congratulations on doing a real job. And now I'll give you another congratulations in about 1 week, because that will be that other.

And then, it's a long-term. I mean, we're talking about—they say 2 years, 3 years. I think that, you know, because this is Texas, you'll probably do it in 6 months, I have a feeling, right? [Applause] Now, I think for a lot of places, maybe it never gets done, right? I think in your case, it'll get done very quickly.

Thank you, everybody. Again, National Prayer Day tomorrow. And a real honor to be with you all. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you, Ted. Thank you, Brock. Thank you.

NOTE: The President spoke at 1:39 p.m. at the First Church of Pearland. In his remarks, he referred to Federal Emergency Management Agency Administrator W. Brock Long; Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Benjamin S. Carson, Sr.; Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Elaine C. Duke; and Secretary of Veterans Affairs David J. Shulkin. He also referred to Proclamation 9634, signed September 1, titled "National Day of Prayer for the Victims of Hurricane Harvey and for Our National Response and Recovery Efforts."

Donald J. Trump, Remarks at a Hurricane Harvey Relief Center in Pearland, Texas Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/331033

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