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Public Papers - 1989 - September

Remarks Following a Tour of the Damage Caused by Hurricane Hugo in Charleston, South Carolina


Well, we've just completed a tour -- something less than I would like to have had, only because of the weather earlier. But we did get to see the inner city and then the outreaches of Charleston, as well as going to rural areas.

And I must say I want to first thank Governor Campbell for his tremendous cooperation. I want to thank the four Congressmen that came down with me, three of whom are with me here; Senator Strom Thurmond, who was so instrumental in passing an emergency bill that permitted me to sign today .1 billion of assistance to South Carolina and Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.

Even though the trip was short, I had a chance to talk to some of the people, and I commend the spirit of the people of South Carolina. I expect it's true for North Carolina and Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. But you couldn't help be impressed to hear the people saying look, we're going to bounce back.

I was grateful to them for their understanding of the Federal Government's role here. I do know that there's been a critic or two, perhaps less than I would have expected. But to the critics I simply say, I understand. We are trying very hard, and there are men and women in the U.S. Services, of FEMA [Federal Emergency Management Agency], out there giving of themselves just as the people's neighbors are here. And I think when all the dust is settled and the debris removed, people are going to understand that this has been a total team effort. And I'm proud to have been in the company of these leaders who were so concerned about their own State, concerned about their country as well.

One thing that touched me very much was a young homeowner there saying that he had had offers of help from all over this country. And I think it does bring out the very best in the men and women of America who want to help in a tragedy of this nature. It's tough, it was devastating, but the spirit of South Carolina came through loud and clear. And so, we'll be alert to do what additionally we might do. But I'm proud of those Federal workers and those civilians that are out there doing their level best to snap back after a terrible tragedy.

Thank you all very much. And, Governor, good luck, stay in touch. Thank you all.

Note: The President spoke at 9:10 a.m. at a disaster relief site. In his remarks, he referred to South Carolina Representatives Arthur Ravenel, Jr., Floyd Spence, John M. Spratt, Jr., and Robin Tallon. Following his remarks, the President returned to Washington, DC.

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