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President Trump on Friday is visiting parts of Tennessee that were hit by tornadoes earlier this week, leaving dozens dead and many more injured.
Trump, wearing a Keep America Great hat, was greeted by state and local officials after landing in Nashville. He then boarded Marine One. The visit comes a day after Trump declared a major disaster declaration for the state, and ordered federal aid to supplement local recovery efforts in Davidson, Putnam and Wilson Counties.
President Donald Trump speaks with Gov. Bill Lee, R-Tenn., as he arrives, Friday, March 6, 2020, at Berry Field Air National Guard Base in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
“Before I begin I want to send my warm wishes to the great people of Tennessee,” Trump said at the beginning of his speech at the National Association of Counties Legislative Conference Tuesday. “I’ll be going there Friday. Our hearts are full of sorrow for the lives that were lost.”
Trump had previously tweeted that he was monitoring developments out of Tennessee and that the federal government is “is with you all of the way during this difficult time.”
Trump will be joined on the trip by Gov. Bill Lee, Sen. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., and other top officials.
At least 24 people were killed when storms ripped through the state on Tuesday. Putnam County was hardest hit, where 18 people were killed — including five children under 13.
“It hit so fast, a lot of folks didn’t have time to take shelter,” Putnam County Mayor Randy Porter said Tuesday. “Many of these folks were sleeping.”
The weather service said that the tornado that hit Putnam was an EF-4 tornado, categorized as extreme between 166 and 200 mph. Local officials said it was on the ground for about two miles.
Amid the damage was more than 100 destroyed buildings, downed power lines and a severely damaged airport.
Fox News’ Kelly Chernenkoff, Brie Stimson and The Associated Press contributed to this report.