Trump attending campaign rally despite hurricane

Trump attending campaign rally despite hurricane
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President TrumpDonald John TrumpBiden, Sanders lead field in Iowa poll The Memo: Cohen fans flames around Trump Memo Comey used to brief Trump on dossier released: report MORE is going ahead with a campaign rally planned for Wednesday night in Erie, Pa., even as Hurricane Michael pounded Florida's Gulf coast. 

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Trump left the White House just before 4 p.m., tweeting about his decision to attend the rally.

"Departing the @WhiteHouse for Erie, Pennsylvania. I cannot disappoint the thousands of people that are there - and the thousands that are going. I look forward to seeing everyone this evening," he wrote.  

Trump did not take reporter's questions upon departing. But earlier in the day, he echoed his belief it would be unfair to scrap the rally on short notice.

"Well, I hear they have thousands of people lined up and so we are in a little bit of a quagmire," he told reporters at the White House.

"I don't want to disappoint people. So, we'll probably go because what are you going to do? Tell thousands of people who've been waiting there all night that we're not coming? That's not fair either," he said.

The rally could produce some awkward split-screen images on cable news networks, which have been covering the devastating storm all day. 

Trump has previously scrapped campaign events due to storms, canceling rallies last month in Missouri and Mississippi in the wake of Hurricane Florence, which caused massive damage in the Carolinas.

During the 2012 presidential election, Trump ripped then-President Obama for making a campaign appearance days after Hurricane Sandy hit the New York metropolitan area.

"Yesterday Obama campaigned with JayZ & Springsteen while Hurricane Sandy victims across NY & NJ are still decimated by Sandy.  Wrong!" he tweeted at the time. 

While the president said it is too late to cancel Wednesday's event, it is possible he could pull the plug on planned stops on Friday and Saturday in Ohio and Kentucky, respectively.

The president earlier Wednesday said he might travel to areas affected by Hurricane Michael on Sunday or Monday to survey the damage.

The hurricane made landfall on the Florida Panhandle on Wednesday as a devastating Category 4 storm, unleashing high winds and rain that could result in widespread property damage and flooding across the South. 

Trump participated in a hurricane preparedness briefing earlier at the White House and expressed confidence that emergency management officials would respond properly to the "very dangerous" storm. 

"We have our people ready. We are really ready in Florida and frankly Georgia, Alabama, North Carolina, South Carolina. We're very ready and I think it'll be just fine," he said. 

Updated at 4:14 p.m.