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Trump calls North Carolina officials, offers help for Florence

Trump calls North Carolina officials, offers help for Florence
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President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump rages against '60 Minutes' for interview with Krebs Cornyn spox: Neera Tanden has 'no chance' of being confirmed as Biden's OMB pick Pa. lawmaker was informed of positive coronavirus test while meeting with Trump: report MORE made a series of calls to North Carolina officials on Friday offering federal help as Tropical Storm Florence pummels portions of the state.

Trump called Lt. Gov. Dan Forest (R), Charlotte Mayor Vi Lyles (D) and Princeville Mayor Bobbie Jones, White House spokesman Hogan Gidley said in a statement.

"President Trump assured each elected official that the federal government stood ready and prepared to assist with anything their state and respective communities would need during this natural disaster,” Gidley said.

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“The President has been monitoring hurricane Florence throughout the day and has received updates regarding the impact of this devastating storm.”

Trump made the calls Friday as the first deaths from Florence were reported in North Carolina, including a mother and her infant who were killed when a tree fell on their house in Wilmington.

The president plans to travel next week to areas affected by the storm once conditions improve and his visit won't disrupt recovery efforts, the White House said earlier Friday.

Trump has faced criticism this week for saying the federal response to Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico last year was an "unsung success."

The president has also cast doubt on the official death toll for the storm — 2,975, the estimate produced by a study from researchers at George Washington University — prompting backlash this week.