Houston hosts Donald Trump ‘Howdy Modi!’ rally

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Donald Trump

President Donald Trump boards Air Force One for a trip to Houston to attend an event with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Sunday, Sept. 22, 2019, at Andrews Air Force Base, Md. The president then travels to Ohio before finally arriving in New York for the start of the United Nations General Assembly.( AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

WEBSTER, Texas (AP) — President Donald Trump is joining a Texas welcome party Sunday for Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who’s visiting the United States amid trade tensions between the allies.

Tens of thousands of Indian Americans were expected at the “Howdy Modi!” rally in Houston.

After arriving in Texas, Trump was briefed on recent flooding in the southeastern part of the state during a visit to a nearby U.S. Coast Guard station.

Hundreds of homes and other buildings in the region, extending eastward from Houston and across the Louisiana border, were damaged by Imelda, as the one-time tropical storm slowly churned across the Gulf region, dumping more than 40 inches (102 centimeters) of rain in some areas.

Authorities blamed the storm for at least five deaths.

“This was a really bad one,” Trump said about Imelda. The president spoke with Federal Emergency Management Agency officials at the Coast Guard hangar, and said the federal government was giving Texas money and equipment to help with recovery operations.

Trump said he accepted the prime minister’s invitation to join him in Houston several weeks ago.

“I love India,” the president said.

Trump also planned a stop in Ohio to appear with Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison, who is in the U.S. on a state visit and was treated to a White House state dinner on Friday. Trump and Morrison will help open an Australian-owned manufacturing plant.

The president was ending the day in New York, where he will participate in the U.N. General Assembly this week.

India and the United States have spent months trying to resolve trade disagreements. In June, the Trump administration accused India of erecting a wide range of trade barriers, and the U.S. ended preferential trade deals with India. In return, India levied higher import duties on some U.S. goods.

Trump and Modi also plan a separate meeting later this week while they are in New York, including discussion of the situation in Kashmir. India’s government has stripped the disputed Himalayan region of its semi-autonomy and launched a security crackdown last month.

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