Administration

Trump assures storm victims in Carolinas: 'We will be there 100 percent'

President Trump on Wednesday visited the Carolinas to assess the aftermath of Hurricane Florence, assuring local leaders and residents that his administration will support recovery efforts "100 percent."

"We will never forget your loss. We will never leave your side, and to all those impacted by this terrible storm, our entire American family is with you and ready to help," Trump said during a roundtable with federal and state officials in North Carolina.

"We will be there 100 percent, and all of the folks from the federal government that are around the table, they're confirming it," he added. "That's why we started early and we'll be here late."

The president received a briefing at the Marine Corps Air Station in Cherry Point, N.C., where he was joined by GOP Sens. Thom Tillis (N.C.), Richard Burr (N.C.), Lindsey Graham (S.C.) and Tim Scott (S.C.), as well as a few Cabinet officials.

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper (R) gave Trump a sobering assessment of the havoc Florence wrought in the state, where immense rainfall knocked out power, crippled infrastructure and caused dangerous flooding. 

"We have weathered storms before, but Mr. President, we have never seen one like this," Cooper said. "It has been epic, it has been disastrous and it has been widespread."

Cooper asked Trump for government assistance in rebuilding the state, to which Trump assured him "the money will come as fast as you need it." 

More than 30 people have died from Florence's effects thus far, and hundreds of thousands remain without power. The storm made landfall last Friday and has since been downgraded to a tropical depression. 

At one point on Wednesday, Trump asked how the area around Lake Norman, N.C., had been affected by the storm. One of Trump's golf clubs is located in Mooresville, N.C., just off the banks of the lake.

"I can't tell you why, but I love that area," Trump said.

Trump headed to New Bern, N.C., early Wednesday afternoon to assist with a meal distribution effort at a local church and to meet with residents coping with the aftermath of the storm. One young boy asked the president for a hug, and Trump obliged.

The president will travel to South Carolina later Wednesday to tour parts of the state hit by Florence, though the White House has not indicated what specific areas Trump will visit. 

Trump has repeatedly praised the work of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, first responders and rescue teams that have assisted with initial recovery efforts in North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia. However, he warned unprompted on Tuesday that Democrats will "lie" and criticize his administration's handling of the storm.

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