The Latest: Trump in South Carolina to view storm damage

HAVELOCK, N.C. (AP) — The Latest on President Donald Trump’s visit to the Carolinas to review Hurricane Florence damage (all times local):

2:30 p.m.

President Donald Trump has arrived in South Carolina on the second leg of a two-state trip to survey damage caused by Hurricane Florence.

Trump arrived by helicopter Wednesday afternoon at an airport near the city of Conway, which is near Myrtle Beach.

Earlier in the day, Trump visited the city of New Bern, North Carolina, which experienced severe flooding due to Florence. The president helped hand out meals at a Baptist church serving as a food distribution center and walked along a neighborhood street strewn with trash, branches and sodden furniture.

He offered hugs and handshakes and posed for photos with people cleaning up their homes after the powerful storm.

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper also briefed the president on the recovery effort.


1:10 p.m.

President Donald Trump is touring a North Carolina neighborhood that sustained heavy flood damage during Hurricane Florence.

Trump walked along a street strewn with piles of trash, branches and sodden furniture in storm-wrecked New Bern, offering hugs and handshakes and posing for photos outside of damaged houses.

He’s also asking how people are doing as he surveys the block.

As he arrived, Trump’s motorcade crossed a swollen river with busted docks and damaged boats, including one that had washed up against a hotel.

New Bern’s residential streets are lined by debris, including siding and furniture, with sofa cushions and mattresses scattered about. Trees are down and piles of destroyed furniture are stacked outside houses.

New Bern is part of Craven County, which voted nearly 60 percent for Trump in 2016.


12:10 p.m.

President Donald Trump is handing out warm meals and a bit of encouragement to some North Carolinians recovering from Hurricane Florence.

Trump is assisting volunteers at Temple Baptist Church in New Bern, North Carolina, Wednesday.

He’s passing out Styrofoam containers with food, including hot dogs, chips and fruit and asking how those driving through are doing.

“How’s the house?” he was heard asking one person. “You take care of yourself,” he said.

Trump is also applauding organizers and thanking volunteers at the site as well as posing for photos and hugging volunteers, including a young boy.

One volunteer said the site handed out 1,200 meals on Tuesday to those in need.


11:55 a.m.

President Donald Trump has arrived at a North Carolina church that is serving as a distribution center for supplies after Hurricane Florence.

Trump is visiting Temple Baptist Church in New Bern. The area suffered significant damage, with branches down and piles of debris.

Church volunteers have containers of hot dogs, chips and fruit and have been handing out food to people in need.

The president is visiting the region Wednesday after the powerful storm left widespread destruction and flooding. Officials cautioned that the flooding is not over yet.

Trump stressed his sympathy for the victims of the storm and pledged resources for recovery during an earlier storm briefing at a nearby marine base.


11:30 a.m.

President Donald Trump is pledging to help the people affected by Hurricane Florence as he arrives in North Carolina to survey damage wrought by the powerful storm.

Trump says during a briefing by local and federal officials, “We will be there 100 percent” following flooding he described as “epic” and “hard to believe.”

He says, “There will be nothing left undone.”

Trump at times has struggled to project empathy during national crisis. But on Wednesday he offered comforting words to families who suffered losses, saying, “America grieves with you and our hearts break for you.”

When the state’s governor asked for federal support, Trump declared: “I’ll be there,”

Trump is also praising first responders during his visit to a coastal marine base, the first of several stops on his schedule.


10:45 a.m.

President Donald Trump has arrived in storm-ravaged North Carolina to take in the devastation left by Florence.

Trump traveled south Wednesday as the state was still grappling with massive recovery efforts. He was heading to a briefing at a Marine Corps air station where Air Force One landed in the coastal town of Havelock, one of many communities hit by the torrential rains.

Trump told reporters as he departed the White House that he will also visit South Carolina before he returns to the White House later Wednesday.

The president says he wants to say “hello” to everyone from the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the military that are working hard to help residents recover from the storm.

Adds Trump: “I think it will be an incredible day.”

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