President Trump tours tornado devastation in Alabama

Courtesy of the White House Press Office

Trump is surveying the wreckage and visiting with victims Friday.

Posted: Mar 8, 2019 3:32 PM
Updated: Mar 8, 2019 8:10 PM

AUBURN, Ala. (AP) - The Latest on President Donald Trump's trip to Alabama to survey tornado damage (all times local):

3:05 p.m.

President Donald Trump is signing Bibles at an Alabama church and taking photos with survivors of a deadly tornado outbreak that killed nearly two dozen people.

Trump is surveying the wreckage and visiting with victims Friday.

Volunteer Emily Pike says the president and first lady signed a small Bible owned by her 10-year-old daughter, Meredith Pike.

Pike says: "She just reached out there and said, 'Mr. President, would you sign this?'"

Trump used a felt pen to scratch out his signature on the cover of the girl's Bible, which is decorated with pink camouflage, and first lady Melania Trump then added her signature.

Pike says the Trumps also signed a Bible for one of Meredith's friends.

___

1:35 p.m.

President Donald Trump is visiting a row of 23 crosses, one for each person killed by an Alabama tornado.

Trump and his wife, Melania, held hands Friday as they observed a moment of silence in front of each of the markers erected near a church.

Each cross bears the victim's name and a red heart. Flowers and stuffed animals have been left at the base of the crosses in remembrance of each victim who was killed after Sunday's powerful tornado that bore down on the rural town of Beauregard, Alabama. Messages have also been left at the crosses.

Trump surveyed the damage on Friday, meeting with local officials and victims. He also visited a makeshift disaster relief center set up at the church.

___

1:10 p.m.

President Donald Trump says he couldn't get to Alabama "fast enough" after a tornado struck a rural area and killed 23 people.

Trump flew to the state Friday to survey the damage. He met privately with survivors and family members, including a woman who lost 10 relatives to the powerful storm.

He says, "What they've been through is incredible."

Trump also thanked law enforcement and Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, whose department oversees the Federal Emergency Management Agency, which is assisting state and local response efforts.

Trump was already scheduled to fly to his Florida home on Friday before the Alabama stop was added to his schedule. He plans to fly to Florida afterward.

___

12:30 p.m.

President Donald Trump is surveying damage in Beauregard, Alabama, the community hardest hit by Sunday's tornado that killed 23 people in a rural, eastern part of the state.

The president and first lady Melania Trump saw trees that appeared to have been snapped in half. The twister ripped roofs off houses. Tree roots were ripped from the grown. There were holes where houses once stood. A homemade "Make America Great Again" greeted the president.

Trump spoke with families affected by the tornado and got a briefing from local officials.

Commenting on the destruction, Trump said: "We saw things that you wouldn't believe."

The tornado, with 170 mph (270 kph) winds, left a path of destruction nearly a mile wide.

___

9:05 a.m.

President Donald Trump is heading to Alabama to survey damage from a deadly tornado outbreak that devastated a small town, killing nearly two dozen people.

Trump is expected to tour rural Lee County in eastern Alabama, where 23 people died Sunday in an E4 tornado that carved a path of destruction nearly a mile wide.

It was one of at least 36 tornadoes confirmed to have touched down across the Southeast in a deadly weekend outbreak.

Trump has said he's instructed the Federal Emergency Management Agency to give Alabama "the A Plus treatment" as the state recovers, marking the latest example of Trump's differing rhetoric concerning states that voted for and against him.

Trump had already been scheduled to fly south Friday for a weekend at his private Mar-a-Lago club.

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