CBS News September 19, 2018, 9:34 AM Trump surveys Hurricane Florence damage in the Carolinas — live updates

Last Updated Sep 19, 2018 1:21 PM EDT

President Trump is in North and South Carolina on Wednesday to tour storm damage from Hurricane Florence. Before he left, the president took questions on his embattled Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.

Mr. Trump told reporters it would be "unfortunate" if Christine Blasey Ford, the woman accusing Kavanaugh of assaulting her assault when they were both in high school, doesn't show up to a scheduled Senate Judiciary Committee hearing Monday, and "wonderful" if she does. If she does show up "and makes a credible showing, that'll be very interesting," Mr. Trump added.

In North Carolina, a state where 343,000 people are still without power after bearing the brunt of the storm's impact, the president spoke with federal responders and with residents affected by the storm. Mr. Trump praised the federal response to what he described as "epic" flooding. Mr. Trump helped hand out meals at one station.

President Trump embraces a boy while helping hand out meals with North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper at a distribution center at Temple Baptist Church while participating in a tour of Hurricane Florence recovery efforts in New Bern, North Carolina, U.S., September 19, 2018.

Kevin Lamarque / REUTERS

He is then traveling to South Carolina. At least 37 people have died in storm-related incidents, including 27 in North Carolina, 8 in South Carolina and 2 in Virginia. The region is now dealing with massing flooding in the wake of Florence's path.

The federal response to Hurricane Florence has largely been overshadowed by the president's claims of "A Plus" response to past storms, including that of Hurricane Maria. Mr. Trump recently disputed new findings that Hurricane Maria's death toll was far greater than originally estimated in Puerto Rico, placing blame on Democrats for inflating numbers to "make him look bad."

He tweeted on Tuesday that they would deploy a similar tactic in the wake of Florence.

"Don't be fooled, at some point in the near future Democrats will start ranting that FEMA, our military and our first responders, who are all unbelievable, are a disaster and not doing a good job. This will be a total lie, but that's what they do and everybody knows it!" Mr. Trump tweeted at the time.

The president is touring multiple sites in North Carolina and South Carolina.

After landing in North Carolina, the president praised the federal and state response to the storm, and said "some of the hard work is taking place right now." After speaking with the state's governor, Mr. Trump said he understands some of the flooding is actually "epic" and "hard to believe." Mr. Trump toured a station stocked with hundreds of meals for those in need. Mr. Trump handed out some of those meals.

Meanwhile, Mr. Trump's top response official, FEMA administrator Brock Long, is under investigation for his alleged use of government cars in a personal capacity, all while managing the response, recovery and cleanup efforts from the hurricane's impact.

U.S. President Trump visits distribution center while participating in a tour of Hurricane Florence recovery efforts in New Bern, North Carolina Original Article