Seated in the Oval Office, Trump surveyed poster charts of potential hurricane trajectories with Kirstjen Nielsen, the Secretary of Homeland Security, and Brock Long, the administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
Earlier in the day, Trump told reporters at Andrews Air Force Base that his administration is “absolutely, totally prepared” for the hurricane.
“We’re ready. FEMA is ready. Everybody is ready,” Trump said. “We have everybody standing by. We hope for the best,” he said. “There’s a chance it could be a very bad one, as you’ve probably heard … but we are absolutely, totally prepared.”
Speaking on a conference call with reporters Tuesday, officials from both FEMA and the American Red Cross predicted that electrical power and roads could be out for weeks in communities hit hard by Hurricane Florence.
“This is not a storm that on day three the roads are gonna be back and trees will be back green and power will be back on,” said Jeff Byrd, associate administrator for the Office of Response and Recovery at FEMA. Florence, he said, “is going to definitely knock out power days into weeks.”
On Monday, Trump approved federal emergency declarations for North Carolina and South Carolina, and on Tuesday he issued a similar emergency for the state of Virginia.
As forecasts of the hurricane grew more serious on Monday, Trump’s public response consisted largely of tweets. “To the incredible citizens of North Carolina, South Carolina and the entire East Coast — the storm looks very bad!” Trump said in a tweet Monday afternoon. “Please take all necessary precautions. We have already began mobilizing our assets to respond accordingly, and we are here for you!”
Hurricane Florence is expected to make landfall in the Carolinas on Thursday.