After surveying mudslide damage from Marine One and meeting for an hour and fifteen minutes with victims' families behind closed doors, President Obama praised the community of Oso, Wash., as it recovers from the March 22 mudslide that so far has claimed 41 lives.
"This is family, and these are folks who love this land, and it's easy to see why, because it's gorgeous, and there's a way of life that's represented," Obama said, speaking to first responders at a firehouse. A handmade sign hung above him reading "OSO STRONG."
"This is also what America's all about," Obama said. "When times get tough, we look out for each other, we get each other's backs, we recover and rebuild and come back stronger."
Recovery workers are still searching for bodies, and just yesterday, the death toll rose by two. Obama praised coordination between government and relief workers and local volunteers.
"Some terrific lessons were learned in the midst of very hard times," Obama said of that coordination.
After speaking at the firehouse, the president was scheduled to depart for a four-country, multi-day trip to Asia, flying from Washington state to Japan.