Florence update: President Trump visits Carolinas

Florence update: President Trump visits Carolinas
President Donald Trump visited the Carolinas on Wednesday, attending hurricane briefings and meeting with residents and emergency workers. (Image source: YouTube screenshot)

President Donald Trump visited the flood-ravaged Carolinas on Wednesday, receiving briefings on the damage done from Hurricane Florence and visiting with residents.

What are the details?

The president stopped in North Carolina first, telling officials at a briefing that they will have the federal government’s full support.

“We’re going to be there 100 percent. … There will be nothing left undone,” he said. “You’ll have everything you need.”

Speaking from inside an airplane hangar, Trump told emergency workers, “The job you’ve done has been incredible. They’re talking about it all over the world.”

He added later, “Unfortunately, the money will be a lot but it’s going to come.”

Trump then spoke to those who lost loved ones in the tragedy.

“America grieves with you and our hearts break for you. God bless you. We will never forget your loss,” he said. “To all those impacted by this terrible storm, our entire American family is with you and ready to help. You will recover.”

Trump then visited a church in heavily hit New Bern, North Carolina, where he helped hand out meals to victims of the flooding. He was accompanied by Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, FEMA chief Brock Long, North Carolina Sens. Richard Burr and Thom Tillis, and South Carolina Sens. Lindsey Graham and Tim Scott.

The president then traveled to South Carolina, where he attended a second briefing and warned residents that the flooding was expected to continue.

“You’ve broken all records — this is going to add 4, 5, 6 feet of water all over the state,” he said.

What are the updates?

The death toll from Florence has reached an official count of 36. At least 27 people have been killed in North Carolina, eight in South Carolina, and one in Virginia.

In South Carolina, two of the victims were mental health patients who died during an effort to transport them to another facility on Tuesday. Two Horry County Sheriff’s deputies were making the transport, when the officer driving lost control in the floodwaters. Both deputies were able to escape, but the two female patients were left behind in the submerged vehicle after efforts to free them were unsuccessful.

As of Tuesday night, their bodies had not yet been recovered.

The deputies have been placed on administrative leave while the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division digs further into what happened.

Horry County Sheriff Phillip Thompson said in a statement, “Tonight’s incident is a tragedy. Just like you, we have questions we want answered. We are fully cooperating with the State Law Enforcement Division to support their investigation of this event.

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper told CNN Wednesday, “We are a state that is hurting,” adding that people are “stunned at the breadth of damage that has been done.” He said his state currently has 13 rivers at major flood stage, with 7,800 residents in shelters and nearly 200,000 customers still without power.