President Donald Trump took a moment to inquire about the condition of a North Carolina lake on Wednesday while he was being briefed on the devastation of Hurricane Florence.
After a Duke Energy representative assured him that Lake Norman was fine, Trump offered a not-so subtle response: "I love that area. I can’t tell you why, but I love that area."
What the president did not disclose was the fact that one of his golf courses, Trump National Golf Club, sits on the lake's shores.
Although Trump did not ask about his golf course specifically, some critics suggested on Twitter that the president's question highlights his lack of concern for those who have been impacted by the hurricane and a continued insensitivity in the face of natural disaster. When the president visited Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria ravaged the island, video footage infamously revealed Trump hurling paper towels into a crowd of people at a relief center, many of whom were left without homes, food, water and other basic necessities.
At least 37 have people have died due to storm-related incidents, and the majority have been in North Carolina. Hundreds of thousands of people are without power in the state and some towns have seen as much as three feet of rain, according to CBS News.
"We are a state that is hurting," North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper said Wednesday. According to CNN, he added that people are "stunned at the breadth of damage that has been done."
In North Carolina alone, Cooper estimated that 7,800 people are in shelters as officials continue to work to get people to safety and reopen roads amid massive flooding in the region.
Trump traveled to North Carolina Wednesday, and Cooper told the president that the state "took a gut punch."
"Our people are still reeling. We have lost 27 lives officially so far, and more are under investigation. We mourn their loss," he added. "We have weathered storms before in our state. Mr. President, we have never seen one like this. This one has been epic, it has been disastrous and it has been widespread."
"Mr. President, we have a long road ahead – and the days, and the months and even years ahead – to make sure we build back to where we need to be here in North Carolina," Cooper continued. "And, you're here, and I'm asking you, sir, for your help every step of the way."
Afterward, Trump praised emergency workers in the state. "The job you’ve done has been incredible," he said. "They’re talking about it all over the world."
The president added that the clean-up budget for the state would likely be steep, but he promised a vigorous federal response. "Unfortunately, the money will be a lot but it's going to come," Trump said.