Trump Sends Surprise Message to North Carolina Mayor as Florence Hits


On Thursday afternoon, Mayor Bill Saffo of Wilmington, North Carolina, was in a media briefing on the advancing Hurricane Florence when his cellphone rang from a number in Washington, D.C. Saffo initially screened the call and didn’t answer, but when the number called again, he picked up.

“It was the White House, and they said, ‘The president would like to speak with you,'” Saffo told WRAL-TV.

Saffo, a Democrat, relayed that President Donald Trump called to offer Saffo and the residents of Wilmington support as the storm approached. Wilmington is North Carolina’s fifth-largest city, with around 121,00 citizens.

Trump wanted Saffo to know that the federal government was monitoring the storm and that Saffo had a line of communication with the president.

Trump assured him that he would send aid if and when Wilmington needed it.

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“He offered any kind of assistance at the federal level,” Saffo said. “He understands this is a pretty significant event for our community.”

The Trump administration has been busy putting preparations in place to assist state and local governments with Hurricane Florence.

A statement from the White House revealed that more than 3,800 federal employees were working together with state and local partners to support response efforts. Federal agencies like the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Department of Health and Human Services were standing by to aid those affected by the storm.

“I told him that we appreciate all the efforts at the federal level,” Saffo told the Wilmington Star News. “I’m sure that we’re going to need some of their assistance when this thing is over.”

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“But he was very gracious, very concerned about what was happening here in the area. And I just told him that I appreciated his telephone call and that we’ll be in touch.”

This comes in stark contrast to how Trump has been characterized by the media. For instance, MSNBC’s Geoff Bennett criticized Trump for not displaying the right feelings at the 9/11 memorial in Shanksville, Pennsylvania.

“He’s not really taken to being a consoler in chief,” Bennett said. “It’s not in his DNA. In this instance, there was a moment in time the president was happy to see people who were happy to see him.”

“He got a lot of applause lines here today,” Bennett continued, saying of Trump that it is “true … that he’s not yet really displayed a capacity for the pastoral elements of the presidency.”

This is totally at odds with people who talked with the president, such as the father of a victim of the mass shooting in Parkland, Florida.

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“I’ve met him three times privately,” the father, Andrew Pollack, told The Daily Caller. “He always makes a point to meet myself and family and remembers my daughter, Meadow.”

“He went out of his way to ask us how we are all doing. Brought his son and daughter over to us to meet us, also.”

“[Trump] can be empathetic and compassionate,” Pollack said. “The media just doesn’t show that side of his personality.”

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Karista Baldwin studied constitutional law, politics and criminal justice.
Karista Baldwin has studied constitutional law, politics and criminal justice. Before college, she was a lifelong homeschooler in the "Catholic eclectic" style.
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