President Donald Trump is preparing to depart Washington D.C. en route to Nashville, Tennessee, where he will survey the communities impacted by the deadly tornadoes that swept through the area earlier this week. A Fox News live stream, shared below, shows Air Force One awaiting the president’s arrival.
The president is expected to land at Berry Field at Nashville International Airport at around 10 a.m. CT, according to News Channel 5. He will then depart the airport to survey the hardest-hit areas in Middle Tennessee, where tornadoes swept through Benton, Carroll, Davidson, Putnam and Wilson counties.
At this time, details of the president’s visit remain unclear, including which neighborhoods he will visit, though it is believed that he will survey the areas alongside Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee, U.S. Sen. Marsha Blackburn, and other top officials. Early Friday morning, Blackburn announced on Twitter that she was currently traveling back to the state to join Trump, who has approved a disaster declaration allowing federal funding to be made available to those affected by the tornadoes.
The National Weather Service has since determined that an EF-3 tornado with winds up to 165 mph touched down in the Nashville area, striking the Five Points in east Nashville, Donelson, and Mount Juliet neighborhoods. Two people were killed in that tornado, which was on the ground for more than 50 miles.
Meanwhile, preliminary survey results determined that Benton and Carroll counties were struck by at least EF-2 tornadoes with winds of 125 mph. An EF-1 tornado hit the Lebanon area of Smith County.
In Putnam County, the hardest-hit area, an EF-4 tornado touched down, with winds between 166 and 200 mph. It remained on the ground for about 2 miles, killing 18 people, among them five children aged 13 and under.
"God was not in this tornado but he has been in our response," State Rep. Ryan Williams said of the disaster, reports News Channel 5. "We are excited to see that come to fruition in the next days, weeks, and months as we get back to what it is we do here in Putnam County."
Following his visit to Middle Tennessee, the president will fly to Florida, where he will spend three nights at his south Florida retreat, Mar-a-Lago. According to Politico, Trump canceled his previously scheduled visit to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, with the White House announcing the decision was due to the president's desire to "not want to interfere with the CDC's mission to protect the health and welfare of their people and the agency" amid the coronavirus outbreak.