President Donald Trump on Thursday called off a planned trip to Poland this weekend to instead oversee the response to Hurricane Dorian, which is expected to bear down on the southeastern United States this weekend.
“It’s something very important for me to be here,” Trump said. “The storm looks like it could be a very, very big one indeed.”
Trump said that Vice President Mike Pence will go to Poland in his place to attend ceremonies commemorating the 80th anniversary of the Nazi invasion.
A senior administration official said the decision was made after the National Hurricane Center predicted Thursday that Hurricane Dorian could reach maximum winds of 130 mph — putting it at a Category 4 — within the next 72 hours. The category is the second-highest on the hurricane wind-speed scale; anything 3 or above is considered a major hurricane.
Trump has had a stormy history with hurricanes, suffering widespread criticism for his administration’s response to Hurricane Maria in 2017, which led to at least 2,600 deaths in Puerto Rico, according to government estimates.
Dorian stands to be the ninth major hurricane during his presidency, including potentially the first Category 5 storm to hit the U.S. in more than two decades.
Trump has a history of canceling foreign trips, scrapping visits to London, South America and Switzerland. This month he canceled the second leg of the Poland trip, a visit to Denmark, following a dispute with the Danish prime minister over Greenland.