President Trump to visit Carolinas in hurricane’s aftermath

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President Donald Trump will visit the storm-ravaged Carolinas Wednesday.

A White House spokesman confirmed Tuesday that Trump would travel to North Carolina.

However, according to the Federal Aviation Administration’s website, VIP movement is expected Wednesday in the Myrtle Beach area, too. “Pilots can expect airspace restrictions in conjunction with this VIP movement,” the FAA notice states.

A source familiar with the trip’s planning told The State Monday that Trump is set to visit both Carolinas, including Horry County with a stop in the Conway area.

An official announcement is expected soon.

U.S. Rep. Tom Rice, R-Horry, could not confirm the speculation when The Sun News spoke to him Tuesday morning.

An official with Myrtle Beach International Airport told The Sun News he wasn’t aware of the visit, but speculation started circulating Monday that the president was preparing to make a trip.

S.C. Gov. Henry McMaster said Tuesday during his news conference he doesn’t know if the president is planning to visit the state.

“We don’t know. We’d love to have them. We don’t know,” McMaster said. “I’ll tell you what, though, we are delighted to have had the attention and communication with President Trump and with (his) administration — officials and cabinet members.

“I think virtually all of them have been in communication numerous times. I know the President’s office has called … (state) Rep. Richie Yow (R-Chesterfield) and the (Chesterfield County) sheriff, I think three times in the last couple of days. There’s constant communication, and that’s something that’s very important.”

Flooding and downed trees from Hurricane Florence were blocking dozens of roads in and around Wilmington Monday, leaving the coastal city largely cut off from the rest of the state, according to a story from the News & Observer of Raleigh.

The North Carolina Department of Transportation on Monday tweeted the city is “inaccessible by land,” warning: “Don’t travel, let responders work.” The N.C. transportation secretary clarified later Monday that one road to Wilmington is open.

Conway and other Horry County communities near the Waccamaw River are experiencing historic flooding that’s expected to worsen over the next week.

City and county officials fear the area also may become inaccessible if the flooding reaches three feet above levels seen with Hurricane Matthew, flooding levels that forecasters are predicting.

Paul A. Specht, Chuck Liddy, Tom Barton and Emma Dumain contributed to this report.