WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump is scheduled to hold a campaign rally in Erie, Pennsylvania Wednesday night, and Hurricane Michael ravaging the Florida Panhandle appears unlikely to change that.
“We’ll probably go,” Trump told reporters during a signing ceremony, a comment that came less than two hours before the he was scheduled to leave the White House.
“What are you going to do, tell thousands of people who have been waiting there all night that we’re not coming? That’s not fair either,” Trump said.
During remarks in the Oval Office earlier that day, Trump appeared to be on the fence.
“I don’t know what to do. It’s a mix,” Trump said. “We’re going to make a determination over the next little while.”
Trump noted that he was not concerned that the rally would hinder his ability to respond to the hurricane since he has “great people” like FEMA administrator Brock Long and Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, both of whom joined him in the Oval Office.
Trump previously canceled two campaign rallies in Cape Girardeau, Missouri and Jackson, Mississippi last month ahead of Hurricane Florence.
In both instances, the campaign gave advance notice.
Hurricane Michael, which is just shy of a Category Five storm, is making landfall along the coast of the Florida Panhandle, clobbering the region with pounding winds, pelting rain and dangerous flooding.
As the dangerous storm makes landfall near Mexico Beach, between St. Vincent Island and Panama City, gusts as high as 155 miles per hour have been reported.
FEMA officials and Florida Governor Rick Scott have urged residents who did not evacuate in time to shelter in place.
Trump said Wednesday that he expects to visit Florida on either Sunday or Monday if he can ensure that his trip won’t disrupt recovery efforts.