President Donald Trump will visit the metro Nashville area on Friday after a tornado that swept through the Middle Tennessee area left at least 22 dead, hundreds displaced, and dozens of buildings collapsed. At this time, details of the president's visit remain unclear.
"Before I begin, I want to send my warm wishes to the great people of Tennessee in the wake of the horrible and very vicious tornado that killed at least 19 people and injured many more," the president said at a press conference before the updated death toll was released. "We're working with the leaders in Tennessee, including their great Gov. Bill Lee to make sure that everything is done properly."
"FEMA is already on the ground, and I will be going there on Friday," he announced. "Our hearts are full of sorrow for the lives that were lost."
"It's a vicious thing, those tornadoes," Trump continued. "I've seen many of them during a three-year period and I've gotten to see the results, and they are vicious. If you are in their path, bad things happen, really bad things happen."
"We'll be going, as I said, to Tennessee on Friday," he reiterated. "We send our love and the prayers of the nation to every family that was affected. We will get there, and we will recover, and we will rebuild, and we will help them. Condolences. Tough, tough situation."
Earlier in the day, the president had tweeted "prayers" for those impacted by the storm, which spawned a tornado that ripped through the metro Nashville area just before 1 a.m. local time.
Prayers for all of those affected by the devastating tornadoes in Tennessee. We will continue to monitor the developments. The Federal Government is with you all of the way during this difficult time. https://t.co/eZlA7Ahruj— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 3, 2020
Addressing the tornadoes in his own statement, Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee said that that state "has activated a strong coordinated response effort to last night's devastating storms" and "will continue deploying search and rescue teams, opening shelters across the state, and sending emergency personnel to our communities hit hardest."
At this time, the death toll stands at 22, with dozens more hospitalized. Of the casualties, 16 occurred in Putnam County, with Putnam Sheriff Eddie Farris saying that only 30 percent of the disaster area had a "hard check" by mid-day, according to the Associated Press.