Accompanied by Puerto Rican Gov. Ricardo Rossello, U.S. Vice President Mike Pence flashes two thumbs upon his arrival at the Muniz National Guard Air Base, in San Juan, Puerto Rico, Friday, Oct. 6, 2017. The trip comes days after U.S President Donald Trump visited Puerto Rico and praised relief efforts without mentioning the criticism that the federal response has drawn. (Carlos Giusti/AP)

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — The Latest on Vice President's Mike Pence's visit to the U.S. Virgin Islands (all times local):

5:30 p.m.

Vice President Mike Pence and his wife, Karen, are at a San Juan church handing out sandwiches to Puerto Ricans recovering from Hurricane Maria.

Pence says the United States has 14 Navy and Coast Guard ships near the island, and says the U.S. has been making "steady progress" on other challenges, such as opening roads.

Still, Pence says, "We have a long way to go."

Mrs. Pence read a passage from the Bible: "Love one another with mutual affection." She added that "We see such generosity and such resilience everywhere we go" and led the church in prayer.

The Pences, Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rossello and Del. Jenniffer Gonzalez-Colon then passed out food.


4:30 p.m.

Vice President Mike Pence is touring hurricane damage in Puerto Rico after spending time in the U.S. Virgin Islands.

During a visit to a church, Pence listened as a priest spoke of the resiliency of the Puerto Rican people, telling the vice president that even if the people do not have electricity they do have light.

Pence is telling the congregants that President Donald Trump wants them to know the federal government will stick with them as long as it takes to recover.

The vice president says "the hearts of the American people have been breaking" for those in the islands.

He adds, "We will get through this and we will get through this together for everyone."


2:40 p.m.

Vice President Mike Pence is taking an aerial tour of hurricane damage to the U.S. Virgin Islands.

His helicopter spent about an hour flying over St. Croix, St. Thomas and St. John. The vice president saw upended boats along the coast, blue tarps topping damaged homes and uprooted trees and vegetation.

Pence says the destruction is "overwhelming, but the resilience of the people of the U.S. Virgin Islands is even greater."

He says he's been inspired by the "warm smiles, the cheerfulness and the determination" of the people he's met.


11:55 a.m.

The governor of the U.S. Virgin Islands says the U.S. government has hurricane response "down to a science."

Gov. Kenneth E. Mapp praised the Trump administration's relief efforts during Vice President Mike Pence's visit to St. Croix on Friday. Mapp said, "There is no country that responds to disasters like the United States of America." He added that the government has efforts to restore power and operations "down to a science."

Mapp said the island was making progress in its recovery from Hurricane Maria and expected schools to reopen on Tuesday.

The vice president was receiving briefings on the islands' recovery and getting a view of the damage from the ground and the air.

Pence's visit came after President Donald Trump's tour of Hurricane Maria's devastation on Tuesday in Puerto Rico.


11:45 a.m

President Donald Trump tells residents of the storm-damaged U.S. Virgin Islands that the nation "is with you" in the recovery from Hurricane Maria.

That's according to Vice President Mike Pence, who is in St. Croix on Friday. Pence says he spoke with Trump earlier and the president is relaying the message to residents there that, "We are with you today, we are with you tomorrow."

Pence was being briefed inside a U.S. Virgin Islands Army National Guard hangar. Army personnel in military fatigues stood at attention nearby.

On arrival Friday, the vice president's plane flew over homes stripped of the roofs, toppled trees and debris strewn in yards.


11:39 a.m.

Vice President Mike Pence is in the U.S. Virgin Islands to get an update on the recovery efforts after the islands were socked by Hurricane Maria.

Pence is getting a briefing on the rebuilding efforts in St. Croix and meeting with people affected by the storm. He's the first top member of the Trump administration to visit the U.S. Virgin Islands.

The vice president was aiming to reassure people in the U.S. territories that the Trump administration will help the islands recover from the massive storm.

The vice president was traveling to San Juan, Puerto Rico later in the day. The trip comes days after Trump visited Puerto Rico and praised relief efforts without mentioning the criticism that the federal response has drawn.

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