As the massive Hurricane Florence barrels towards his state, North Carolina Republican Sen. Richard Burr said Tuesday he is "confident" the White House is prepared to deal with the storm, following the President's remarkable praise of his administration's response to Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico last year where the island's governor has put the death toll at nearly 3,000 people.
"Listen, I'm not going to comment on any particular event," Burr told CNN when asked about Trump's positive comments about the Puerto Rico disaster. "I am going to tell you the cooperation and response that I have experienced with this FEMA versus any FEMA for the 25 years that I've been here has been exemplary."
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Burr said he was briefed Tuesday on the administration's preparations for the storm, which is expected to make landfall later this week.
"Brock Long has thought this disaster through," Burr said referring to the director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency. "They are pre-positioning a number of people on the ground to meet the needs. I had my first daily briefing from them this morning and they've got everything covered. The level of cooperation with the states -- everybody knows exactly what they're doing -- and this will be in large measure an even greater human dislocation that Texas was."
The heavy winds and relentless rains of Hurricane Harvey struck Texas and Louisiana about a year ago causing massive damage.
Asked if he is concerned Trump's praise for the Puerto Rico response reflects that the President doesn't fully appreciate the magnitude of these natural disasters, Burr declined to weigh in.
"You've got to ask him about his comments," Burr said.
Pressed on whether he is confident Trump can marshal the federal government's resources and effectively deal with Florence, Burr said yes.
"I am confident," Burr said. "The President has already signed an executive order faster than any president for a disaster in North Carolina in the 25 years that I've been here. So, I take them by their actions."
Burr was asked if it would be a success or tragedy if North Carolina suffered a major death toll like Puerto Rico did.
"I would say it's a failure of the state of North Carolina to successfully evacuate people, which is North Carolina's responsibility," he said. "It is not the federal government's responsibility to set evacuations, to make people evacuate. It's states and localities. I can't tell you where the failure was in Puerto Rico."
Burr warned the disaster expected in his state could be much larger than Harvey.
"What we're getting ready to have happen is going to probably going to dislocate over 100,000 people -- and 44,000 were dislocated in the Texas storm," he said. "This is potentially three or four or five times greater and I will tell you they are prepared as prepared as one can be."
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