(Reuters) – In a rare show of unity, U.S. President Donald Trump praised all five of his living predecessors on Saturday, thanking them in a video posted online for their work helping to raise funds to help victims of recent hurricanes.
The statement, which commends Americans for coming together in the wake of four hurricanes and the deadly California wildfires, will be shown at Saturday’s fund-raising concert for hurricane victims organized by the George H.W. Bush Presidential Library Foundation and former presidents Jimmy Carter, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama. All five were expected to attend the event, which will feature country music artists Alabama, the Gatlin Brothers, Lyle Lovett, Robert Earl Keene and others.
“The heartbreaking devastation caused by hurricanes Harvey and Irma and Maria and Nate, along with the terrible wildfires in California, have impacted millions of our fellow Americans,” Trump said in a video posted online by the Washington Examiner newspaper. “As a nation, we mourn for those who died, and we pray for those who lost their homes or their livelihoods.”
The former presidents formed the organization “One America” to help with hurricane relief after the storms left devastation and death in Texas, Florida, Puerto Rico and other parts of the U.S. Gulf Coast and Caribbean.
About 11,000 people planned to attend the concert, which will also be livestreamed on the One America Appeal YouTube channel, theOneAmericaAppeal.org website and the organization’s Twitter feed, said Jim McGrath, a spokesman for former President George H.W. Bush as well as One America and the Bush Library.
Dubbed “Deep in the Heart” in a dual reference to the song “Deep in the Heart of Texas” and the idea that Americans’ compassion for victims runs deep, the concert will be held at Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas.
Reporting by Sharon Bernstein; Editing by James Dalgleish