Trump praises Rick Scott as he tours hurricane damage in Florida

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The US Air Force has also confirmed that an unknown number of aircraft, including some of its F-22 Raptor stealth fighters, were damaged when the hurricane mauled Tyndall Air Force Base in Florida last week.

After landing in an airport outside Panama City, the president took a helicopter ride to witness first-hand the destruction caused by the storm.

"Look behind you. I mean, those massive trees are just ripped out of the earth. This is really incredible".

The First Lady's visit to Florida with her husband also comes after she was forced to dismiss allegations of infidelity, saying people are just spreading rumors about her marriage.

In the meantime, donation drives, like the one the Rays are doing in St. Pete, are going on all across the Sunshine State, giving people a way to help their fellow Floridians.

"You wouldn't even know they had homes", Trump said of people whose houses were swept off their foundations as the monster storm hit.

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The White House has not released detail of his visit ahead of his arrival in Middle Georgia.

Mexico Beach Mayor Al Cathey told reporters that there were 289 people still in the city when the storm hit, despite the mandatory evacuation orders.

Relief workers who arrived in the aftermath of the hurricane set up water and food distribution centres, as cars formed long queues in front of the few gas stations open for business. It's unclear how many people stayed behind in nearby communities. A water tower lay on its side, and 18-wheelers were scattered in a parking lot like children's toys. The view on the drive toward Panama City included houses smashed by trees, bent billboards and a demolished trailer park.

In the nearby city of Lynn Haven, where blue tarps topped numerous homes, Trump walked up to a house where a massive pine tree lay on the front yard next to a palm tree that stood tall.

"Gov. Scott will be focused on response and recovery from the devastating hurricane that hit the Panhandle for the foreseeable future".

"I did not know the force of nature could be this bad", Rollins said. "I have two dogs and a parrot", Rollins told Trump.

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Hurricane Michael slammed into Florida as a Category 4 storm on October 10 and continued its path north to Virginia, leaving almost 20 people dead and hundreds of thousands of homes and businesses without electricity.

After the helicopter tour, the President, first lady, Scott and Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen surveyed a street of damaged homes in nearby Lynn Haven.

Survivors grappled with power outages and shortages of food and water amid the mazes of uprooted trees and debris. "Some of them have no trace of a home ... so our big thing is feeding, water and safety".

"You're a great Governor".

"His denial to me could not have been stronger", Mr. Trump told reporters before leaving for Florida and Georgia, adding later, "The denial was not only a denial, it was a very firm denial". "Every time I called, he's come through and done exactly what he said he was going to do".

Hurricane Michael was one of the most powerful storms ever recorded in the United States and struck on Wednesday with 155mph (250km/h) winds.

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