President Trump indicated he has no intention of canceling an upcoming campaign rally in Pennsylvania as the Florida Panhandle deals with a powerful hurricane that slammed into it Wednesday.
“I hear they have thousands of people lined up, so we are in a little bit of a quagmire,” Trump said of his supporters during a bill-signing ceremony at the White House on Wednesday. “I don’t want to disappoint people.”
Trump is scheduled to participate in a roundtable with supporters and host a Make America Great Again rally in Erie, Pa., on Wednesday night.
The rally comes as Hurricane Michael hits the Florida Panhandle as a Category 4 storm.
Characterized as an “extremely dangerous” hurricane by the National Hurricane Center, the storm has maximum sustained winds of 155 miles per hour. After hitting the Sunshine State, Hurricane Michael is projected to move across Georgia, North Carolina, and South Carolina.
Trump said his administration has been monitoring the storm closely and has been in “constant communication” with Florida Gov. Rick Scott.
“Federal resources are on the ground at every level, so we are absolutely ready,” the president said. “It’s a top priority, and the single top priority is the saving of lives.”
When pressed as to whether it was appropriate for him to be at the rally while Hurricane Michael batters Florida, Trump said it was a “very difficult situation” but did not believe it would be appropriate to cancel his appearance.
“We have our people ready. We are really ready in Florida and, frankly Georgia, Alabama, North Carolina, South Carolina, we’re very ready, and I think it’ll be just fine,” Trump said. “But I can’t tell thousands of people that have been waiting, some of whom got there literally last night in order to get into an arena at 7 o’clock, it’s hard to tell them, by the way, you’ve been waiting all day, go home. That’s not nice either.”
Earlier Wednesday, the president received a briefing on Hurricane Michael from Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen and FEMA Administrator Brock Long in the Oval Office.
Trump said the federal government has food and water ready to be dispatched to Floridians in need following the storm, and electrical crews staged to restore power.
“I just say God bless everyone, because it’s going to be a rough one,” Trump said.