A joint fundraiser run by all five living former presidents has raised $31 million in donations for the victims of Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria, with the presidents thanking each donor “who, out of the goodness of their hearts, has given of themselves in such a selfless way to help their fellow Americans.”
“[T]he One America Appeal today announced its campaign to help Texas, Florida and the Caribbean recover from this catastrophic hurricane season has, to date, raised $31 million in tax-deductible, private funds from over 80,000 donors,” according to a press release that thanked major donors for their contributions to the cause.
“With damage estimates from Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria topping $300 billion and requiring months and years of rebuilding ahead, we hope this strong start to the One America Appeal is just that — a start,” said David Jones, CEO of the George H. W. Bush Presidential Library Foundation.
“The former presidents want to thank each donor who, out of the goodness of their hearts, has given of themselves in such a selfless way to help their fellow Americans,” he continued.
The announcement comes hours before the former US presidents will take part in a benefit concert in Texas on Saturday to raise money for hurricane relief efforts.
Former Presidents Barack Obama, George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George H.W. Bush and Jimmy Carter will attend Saturday night’s event, named “Deep From the Heart: The One America Appeal,” at Reed Arena at Texas A&M University in College Station. The concert will feature rock and country musicians such as Lyle Lovett, Robert Earl Keen, Sam Moore and Yolanda Adams. Country music singer Lee Greenwood will emcee the event.
President Trump, who released a video message ahead of the concert, will spend the day at his golf course, marking the third consecutive weekend he has visited the property.
NBC News reports that Trump has now spent 94 days at a Trump property since his inauguration in January, including 74 days spent at a Trump golf property.
Before leaving for the property, Trump took to Twitter on Saturday morning to attack Rep. Frederica Wilson (D-Fla.), who claimed earlier this week that the president was insensitive during a call to the widow of a U.S. soldier killed in Niger earlier this month.
Trump called the Democratic lawmaker “wacky,” saying she “is killing the Democratic Party.”
Funds collected through concert ticket sales will be distributed through various organizations in Texas, Florida, Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands.
More than a month after Hurricane Maria made landfall as a high-end Category 4 storm, 80% of Puerto Rico’s 3.4 million residents remain without power on Saturday, with an estimated 1 million people without drinking water.
Gov. Rossello says the death toll from Hurricane Maria has risen to 49 after officials confirmed a death from a bacterial disease that spreads through animals’ urine.
According to the Washington Post, the illness is not uncommon in the tropics, particularly after heavy rains or floods. But the outbreak is elevating concerns about sanitation after the storm knocked out running water for much of the territory for weeks. About 30 percent of the island remained without water as of Friday.
Symptoms can be confused with those of other illnesses, including dengue. He urged patients to seek treatment with antibiotics.
The U.S. Virgin Islands are still facing severe power and water shortages. The island of St. John has been in complete darkness for more than 40 days, reports Think Progress.