President Trump to visit North Carolina in hurricane’s aftermath

President Donald Trump will visit storm-ravaged Eastern North Carolina on Wednesday.

Trump is scheduled to arrive at Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point mid-morning on Wednesday. He will be joined by U.S. Rep. David Rouzer, whose district includes many of the areas hit hardest by Hurricane Florence, including Wilmington.

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper is scheduled to hold a news conference at 2 p.m. in nearby Newport and then survey storm damage and meet with first responders in Carteret County.

Trump’s schedule does not include any details after his arrival, but he is scheduled to spend much of the day in the area so he could make a trip to nearby South Carolina. Trump is not scheduled to arrive back in the Washington area until 6:15 p.m.

The unusual gap in his public schedule is likely an indication that the president’s schedule is still being updated.

The president had been expected to visit South Carolina, where he would be accompanied by the state’s Republican U.S. Sens. Lindsey Graham and Tim Scott, spokesmen for both lawmakers said. But as of now there are no stops on the public portion of his schedule.

Several White House officials said repeatedly Tuesday they could not provide details on Trump’s travel.

A source familiar with the trip’s planning had told The State on Monday that Trump was set to visit Horry County with a stop in the Conway area.

And according to the Federal Aviation Administration’s website, VIP movement is expected Wednesday in the Myrtle Beach area. “Pilots can expect airspace restrictions in conjunction with this VIP movement,” the FAA notice states.

S.C. Gov. Henry McMaster said Tuesday that he didn’t yet know if the president planned to visit the state.

“We don’t know. We’d love to have them,” McMaster said. “I’ll tell you what, though, we are delighted to have had the attention and communication with President Trump and with (his) administration — officials and cabinet members.

“I think virtually all of them have been in communication numerous times. I know the president’s office has called … (state) Rep. Richie Yow (R-Chesterfield) and the (Chesterfield County) sheriff, I think three times in the last couple of days. There’s constant communication, and that’s something that’s very important.”

Conway and other Horry County communities near the Waccamaw River are experiencing historic flooding that is expected to worsen over the next week.

City and county officials fear the area also may become inaccessible if the flooding reaches 3 feet above levels seen with Hurricane Matthew, flooding levels that forecasters are predicting.

— Tom Barton contributed to this report.