While seated with Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen and Federal Emergency Management Agency head Brock Long, President Donald Trump received briefings from local, state and federal disaster recovery officials in a hangar at Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point in Havelock, North Carolina.
The group convened to discuss the devastation caused by Hurricane Florence. 37 people died as a result of the storm, 27 of those from North Carolina.
An official from Duke Energy spoke about their efforts to restore utility service to their customers. When she finished, Trump asked her one question that caused a few chuckles among those in attendance, but outrage from others.
In front of news cameras filming the status briefing, Trump asked:
"How is Lake Norman doing? I love that area. I can’t tell you why, but I love that area."
Watch the video here.
President Trump loves Lake Norman but he can't tell you why. #LKN @WCNC https://t.co/ONVuh1piGK— Evan West (@Evan West)1537376778.0
The worst of the storm tore across the coastline of North and South Carolina on Thursday into Friday. Hurricane Florence made it to the Charlotte, North Carolina, area over the weekend as a tropical depression with wind speeds around 35 mph.
While Duke Energy reported about 12,300 homes without power in the Charlotte area on Monday morning, that did not compare to the 630,000 homes they reported along the coast. Lake Norman sits north of Charlotte. While low lying areas flooded due to heavy rains, the most devastating impact of the storm fell miles away along the coastline.
So why ask an energy official about a much less devastated area instead of asking about restoring power to those most affected?
Pres asks @DukeEnergy official about Lake Norman area of NC. "I love that area. I can’t tell you why, but I love th… https://t.co/Qlk9IaNDbN— Mark Knoller (@Mark Knoller)1537370427.0
President Trump owns a golf course on the shores of Lake Norman. A power outage would cost the Trump Organization in lost revenue.
This is not the first time the President drew criticism for thinking of himself in times of crisis. After the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, Trump brought up the winery he owns there.
When reporters asked about the volatile situation in Charlottesville—that resulted in the murder of Heather Heyer and injuries to 19 others when a white supremacist drove his car into a crowd of counter protesters—Trump stated:
"I own a house in Charlottesville. Does anyone know I own a house in Charlottesville? Oh boy, it's gonna be...it's in Charlottesville."
"It is the winery. I mean, I know a lot about Charlottesville. Charlottesville is a great place that's been very badly hurt over the last couple of days."
"I own actually one of the largest wineries in the United States, it's in Charlottesville."
At the time, people accused the President of being more concerned about his winery than Heather Heyer's murder or the racism displayed in Charlottesville. Now, people accused Trump of showing more concern for one of his golf courses than the people of North Carolina.
But it could be something else entirely.
When speaking of most events, the President displays a definite pattern of inserting himself into the situations however he can. When he spoke of the death of Aretha Franklin, Trump made claims of knowing her well and stating she worked for him many times.
His comments then angered people as well. All records indicated they met in passing 2 or 3 times and Franklin never worked directly for Trump.
When he spoke last month of the 2020 Republican Convention taking place in Charlotte, he bragged about his golf course instead of congratulating the city as he intended. He said:
"I actually have investments in Charlotte. They’ll say, ‘Oh, that’s a conflict of interest.’ Fake news, they’ll say this is a conflict of interest."
"You know where my club is, right? Trump National. It’s a very big success on Lake Norman. Beautiful. Largest man-made lake in the world by far, right?"
At the time, Trump took heat for his boast about Lake Norman which is not even in the top 10 largest manmade lakes in the United States. It is 25 times smaller than Lake Mead, Nevada. The largest manmade lakes in the world in both volume and surface area are in Africa.
News of today's remarks by Trump angered people again online.
@markknoller @Stonekettle @DukeEnergy Those of us in the Charlotte area are very keenly aware of the gaudy Trump th… https://t.co/AdAbj6XcN2— Captain America's shieldmaiden (@Captain America's shieldmaiden)1537370721.0
@dawn_sickles @markknoller @Stonekettle @DukeEnergy North is great. South metro area still has some issues. My husb… https://t.co/G4Ut6WKi91— Captain America's shieldmaiden (@Captain America's shieldmaiden)1537372251.0
@markknoller @Stonekettle @DukeEnergy Does he think he's being cryptic? Mysterious? That his self aggrandizemen… https://t.co/eKudIVdJ9R— Laurie J Hughes 🦋 (@Laurie J Hughes 🦋)1537371030.0
@markknoller @DukeEnergy Ugh ‘me me me’ he’s so transparent it’s boring— Joan M.Brenner (@Joan M.Brenner)1537370595.0
@markknoller @Uab_BabaKofi @DukeEnergy So much for not making the devastation about him. Epic fail!— Debra 🆘 - Siren Sword of Truth (@Debra 🆘 - Siren Sword of Truth)1537374298.0
@markknoller @DukeEnergy Always self centered— Jeremy (@Jeremy)1537372845.0
@markknoller @MalcolmNance @DukeEnergy It’s always about him.— Beverly M Kelley (@Beverly M Kelley)1537371868.0
@markknoller @DukeEnergy " I can't tell you why" Plug Plug 🙄— Raffaella77 (@Raffaella77)1537374219.0
@markknoller @DukeEnergy Let’s see if trump can sign up for aid just like he took money from funds after 9/11— Ellen C Kolb (@Ellen C Kolb)1537370690.0
@markknoller @DukeEnergy When does the paper towel throwing begin?— Eli Cash (@Eli Cash)1537371441.0
Trump's schedule indicated he would return to the White House Wednesday evening.