JOINT BASE CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) — Melania Trump and Karen Pence traveled to South Carolina on Wednesday to get briefings about some of the military’s emergency preparedness and humanitarian efforts in a state where both are often needed because of active hurricane seasons.
During a few hours in and around Joint Base Charleston, where several branches of the military have operations, Mrs. Trump and Mrs. Pence were updated by a handful of agencies, whose officials described how they mobilize federal resources before and after natural disasters.
Oftentimes, that means natural disasters in South Carolina, where the coast was evacuated earlier this year as Hurricane Dorian swirled in the Atlantic Ocean. Skirting the Carolina coast just after Labor Day, Dorian’s high winds and rain spun off tornadoes that peeled away roofs and flipped recreational vehicles.
Earlier, at an elementary school just off the base, Mrs. Trump and Mrs. Pence also met with fifth-grade students participating in the Red Cross Pillowcase Project, which helps children mentally and physically prepare for natural disasters. Chatting with the children in small groups about what they would pack for a disaster, Mrs. Trump and Mrs. Pence then handed the children a flashlight to pack into their pillowcases, on which the students wrote the date and listed their items.
“I love what you are doing,” Mrs. Trump said, also telling a girl who said that her sister was serving in the military to thank her for her service.
Mrs. Trump and Mrs. Pence have previously toured military installations together, including North Carolina’s Fort Bragg earlier this year. To close out their South Carolina trip, both women made remarks to several hundred service members and their families on the base, thanking them for serving the country. Mrs. Pence reminded the crowd of the importance of military spouses and families, while Mrs. Trump focused on heralding the strength of the U.S. military.
“Our military has never been stronger or more capable than it is now, and our nation will continue to stand strong in the face of any enemy,” the first lady told a crowd of several hundred service members and their families gathered in a hangar.
The wives of President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence were greeted on the tarmac by Republican Gov. Henry McMaster and his wife, Peggy. McMaster has long been an ally of the president, becoming the first statewide-elected official in the country to endorse his 2016 candidacy.
The first lady’s visit came just days after President Trump’s trip to South Carolina, where he participated in a criminal justice forum last week.