On Wednesday, Oct. 30, Melania Trump and Karen Pence visited South Carolina to receive a briefing on the emergency and humanitarian efforts made by the military in a state where both are often needed in the course of the active hurricane season.
For a few hours in and around Joint Base Charleston, where several military branches have operations, a handful of agencies updated the first lady and Karen Pence, describing how they mobilize federal resources before and after natural disasters.
The coast of South Carolina was evacuated earlier this year as Hurricane Dorian swirled in the Atlantic Ocean. Just after Labor Day, skirting the Carolina coast, Dorian’s high winds and rain set off tornadoes that ripped off roofs and overturned recreational vehicles.
Earlier, the first lady and the second lady also met in an elementary school just off the base with fifth-grade students participating in the Red Cross Pillowcase Program, which helps children prepare mentally and physically for natural disasters. Talking to the children in small groups about what they’d pack for a disaster, the wives of the president and the vice president then handed the children a flashlight to pack in their pillowcases, where the students wrote the date and listed their items.
“I love what you are doing,” the first lady said, also telling a girl who said that her sister was serving in the military to thank her for her service.
The first lady and the second lady 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. Karen Pence reminded the crowd of the importance of military spouses and families, while Melania 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.
Includes reporting from The Associated Press