President Donald Trump touted the federal government’s response to Hurricane Florence during a stop in North Carolina Wednesday, after the storm overwhelmed the region starting last week.
“There will be nothing left undone. You will have everything you need,” the president told a group of federal and state officials involved in the disaster response who gathered at Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, before touring towns that were hit hard by the storm.
Story Continued Below
Trump has been battling critics, including Puerto Rican officials, over the last week over complaints that the federal response to last year’s Hurricane Maria was not sufficient. He has refused to accept death-toll figures the Puerto Rican government has acknowledged as legitimate, calling it a smear tactic by Democrats to discredit his government’s efforts.
He has argued that because there had been few deaths at the time he visited Puerto Rico, it is unfair to count people who died later. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, however, has encouraged officials to cast a wide net when determining whether a death is disaster-related.
In North Carolina, Trump said things would get better for residents hit by Florence shortly, but he acknowledged that his visit wouldn’t mark the end of the devastation.
“It’s going to be a tough two weeks,” Trump said.
He issued a similar warning later in the afternoon.
“They assume you look outside and you see this beautiful weather, but over the next couple days, it will get rough in South Carolina,” Trump said at an emergency operations center in Conway, S.C..
“I think the most exciting part is the rebuild,” Trump said. “There is a lot of damage, and you haven’t really been hit yet by comparison to what is coming.”
South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster echoed Trump’s warning.
“The worst is yet to come. We will have water outside this building maybe 4 feet deep, maybe 5 feet deep, maybe something less,” McMaster said at the emergency operations center. “But we have people that need help. The good news is that the team in South Carolina is up to the job.”