Donald Trump

‘Some of the flooding is actually epic’: Donald Trump praises FEMA’s response to Hurricane Florence during North Carolina visit

‘Unfortunately, the money will be a lot. But it’s going to come as fast as you need it,’ says Trump; he applauds the administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency for doing a ‘great job, incredible job’

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 20 September, 2018, 12:02am
UPDATED : Thursday, 20 September, 2018, 2:02am

US President Donald Trump landed in North Carolina on Thursday to inspect damage from Hurricane Florence, which ravaged the state and neighbouring South Carolina over the weekend with high winds and torrential rain.

“Some of the flooding is actually epic, it’s hard to believe,” Trump said at a briefing arranged for him at Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point in Havelock, North Carolina. “Unfortunately, the money will be a lot. But it’s going to come as fast as you need it.”

Trump applauded Brock Long, the administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, for doing a “great job, incredible job” in responding to the hurricane.

North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper said his state took a “gut punch” from the storm.

Trump wants to see parts of the states hardest hit by the storm and subsequent flooding, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters aboard Air Force One. He will be briefed by leaders of the two states and then meet people affected by the hurricane, she said.

The White House has not yet released other details of his itinerary.

Will Trump have another ‘paper towel moment’ after latest hurricane?

Trump was joined aboard Air Force One by Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen and Republican elected officials, including Senators Lindsey Graham and Tim Scott of South Carolina and Senators Richard Burr and Thom Tillis of North Carolina.

Office of Management and Budget director Mick Mulvaney and Small Business Administration chief Linda McMahon also travelled with the president.

Trump told reporters as he departed the White House that he believed it would be “an incredible day”.

Long met Trump on the ground in North Carolina. The Wall Street Journal has reported that Long has been referred for possible criminal prosecution after an investigation of his travel practices led by the DHS inspector general.

Long’s scandal is the latest black mark for the Trump administration’s disaster response.

Recently, Trump has angrily challenged the nearly 3,000 deaths attributed to Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico last year. A Government Accountability Office report released earlier this month said FEMA failed to deploy enough staff to the territory ahead of Maria, among other problems.

‘3,000 people did not die’: Trump disputes Puerto Rico storm toll

Trump said on Twitter on Tuesday that “everybody is saying what a great job we are doing