Hurricane Florence forces President Trump off the campaign trail

President Donald Trump’s plans to hold campaign rallies in two states this week have been put on hold, as the White House and the federal government move to marshal resources to deal with the threat from Hurricane Florence.

The President was scheduled to headline a rally on Friday night in Jackson, Mississippi, but that was scratched on Monday – now a second rally in Missouri which was set for Thursday night has also been postponed.

In a statement, the campaign of Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-MS) said she understood the President’s decision to cancel.

“Mississippi residents understand what it’s like to prepare for, endure and recover from a major hurricane,” the campaign said. “However, as our neighbors on the East Coast prepare for Hurricane Florence’s landfall, we agree with the decision to cancel this Friday’s rally.”

The Missouri rally originally set for this Thursday would have been one where the President would likely have targeted incumbent Sen. Clare McCaskill (D-MO), who is a tough re-election race with Missouri state Attorney General Josh Hawley.

In Mississippi, the President has been looking to give a boost to Hyde-Smith, who was appointed to fill the vacancy created by the resignation of Sen. Thad Cochran (R-MS).

Hyde-Smith is in a non-partisan special election with three other candidates in November; if no candidate receives a majority, then the top two finishers would proceed to a runoff on November 27.

But those campaign stops will have to wait for the President, as state, local, and federal officials say the threat to the Eastern Seaboard from Hurricane Florence is substantial, as mandatory evacuations are already underway in some coastal areas in the Carolinas.

“The earliest reasonable time that tropical-storm-force winds could arrive in the United States from Florence is late Wednesday,” the National Hurricane Center stated. “Wednesday should be the last full day to prepare, so plan accordingly.”

Along with being natural disasters that can cause major damage, hurricanes also are a time-tested political event as well – just look back a year ago at the aftermath of a series of hurricanes which struck the Gulf Coast, Florida, and Puerto Rico.

President Trump has promised to be very active on the campaign trail – last week he held events in Montana, South Dakota, and North Dakota to boost a variety of GOP candidates running for U.S. Senate, and Governor.

But at least for this week – preparations for a hurricane will put those campaign efforts on hold – as the clock ticks towards Election Day.

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