(WASHINGTON) — After canceling a trip to Poland to monitor Hurricane Dorian’s approach from home, President Donald Trump on Friday declared a state of emergency in Florida as the storm barreled toward the state.
“It’s looking like it could be an absolute monster,” Trump said in a video message he tweeted Thursday evening.
Dorian was forecast to make landfall on Florida’s east coast overnight into Tuesday as a Category 4 storm, potentially with winds of 140 mph.
If the hurricane continues on its current track as forecast, two of the president’s resorts — the Mar-a-Lago Club and Trump National Doral Miami — could sustain direct hits.
As president, Trump has frequented the Mar-a-Lago Club, in Palm Beach, Fla., which according to the Miami Herald, has sent home all employees except security staff and was already shuttered for the off-season.
The Herald reported that amenities like pools at Trump Doral, a resort in Doral, Fla., about 63 miles south of Mar-a-Lago, had been closed. The president this week suggested the resort could host next year’s “Group of Seven” summit.
The White House said Trump would travel to Camp David, in Maryland, late Friday afternoon, but it did not release details of his plans there or who might accompany him. The president on Thursday announced that, because of Dorian, he would not travel to Poland this weekend as planned and that Vice President Mike Pence would instead go in his stead.
After Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis on Thursday declared a state of emergency in all of his state’s counties and requested a federal disaster declaration for the state, the president on Friday approved an emergency declaration for Florida, according to the White House. Across the border in Georgia, the governor on Thursday declared a state of emergency in a dozen counties.
On Thursday, acting FEMA Administrator Pete Gaynor and acting Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Environmental Observation and Prediction Neil Jacobs, of NOAA, visited the Oval Office to provide Trump and Pence with a look at the hurricane’s impact and the response to it, according to the White House. The president “directed Federal agencies to continue their efforts to protect lives, promote preparedness efforts, and expedite authorized assistance to areas that have been affected and are still in the path of this dangerous storm,” the White House said in a statement
“We’re all ready,” Trump said in his Thursday video message. “And hopefully we’ll get lucky. But it looks to me like this time it’s heading in one direction.”
The president’s warning tone for Florida, a swing state with a Republican governor, contrasted sharply with the mocking rhetoric he employed as Dorian headed toward Puerto Rico earlier this week.
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