President Donald Trump said Friday that over the weekend he would monitor the situation with Hurricane Dorian -- a storm he said is "looking like it could be an absolute monster" -- with experts at the Camp David presidential retreat in Maryland.
As he left the White House for Maryland Friday evening, he told reporters, " We have a lot of the FEMA people coming up, but we are very importantly coming back. On Sunday at 12:30, we have a meeting at FEMA headquarters. That will be about the time that we will know where everything is going. A lot of decisions will be made. That'll be a little less than a day before it hits. So we will see what happens," Trump said.
"I think Senators Rubio, Scott, and I don't think the governor will be there, Governor Desantis, I think he wants to be in Florida. The governor, he is doing a fantastic job, by the way. Fantastic job,” the president said.
Asked whether he was concerned, Trump replied. “It would look like Mar-a-Lago is dead center. Mar-a-Lago can handle itself. It's a very powerful place. The one I'm thinking more about is the state of Florida because this hurricane is looking like it's -- this could be a record-setting hurricane," Trump said.
"Now maybe things change. We are hoping for one element that might happen in that it makes a right turn and it goes north just before hitting shore, that would be great, but that’s a pretty small percentage at this point," he said.
As president, Trump has frequented the Mar-a-Lago Club, in Palm Beach, Fla., which according to the Miami Herald, has sent home all employees except security staff and was already shuttered for the off-season.
The Herald reported that amenities like pools at Trump Doral, a resort in Doral, Fla., about 63 miles south of Mar-a-Lago, had been closed. The president this week suggested the resort could host next year's "Group of Seven" summit.
After Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis on Thursday declared a state of emergency in all of his state's counties and requested a federal disaster declaration for the state, the president on Friday approved an emergency declaration for Florida, according to the White House. Across the border in Georgia, the governor on Thursday declared a state of emergency in a dozen counties.
On Thursday, acting FEMA Administrator Pete Gaynor and acting Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Environmental Observation and Prediction Neil Jacobs, of NOAA, visited the Oval Office to provide Trump and Pence with a look at the hurricane's impact and the response to it, according to the White House. The president "directed Federal agencies to continue their efforts to protect lives, promote preparedness efforts, and expedite authorized assistance to areas that have been affected and are still in the path of this dangerous storm," the White House said in a statement