From late September through early October 2016, Hurricane Matthew cut a devastating path northward from the Caribbean to the southeastern United States, leaving more than a thousand dead and billions of dollars in property damage in its wake. In North Carolina, Matthew’s last point of contact with land before dissipating in the Atlantic on 9 October, at least 26 people were known dead and some communities in the western part of the state were still”effectively underwater” a week later, according to Reuters.
On 14 October 2016, posts went viral on Facebook and Twitter carrying the news that GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump had delivered $29,000 worth of emergency food and supplies to residents in Lumberton, NC and other nearby towns stricken by the hurricane:
Apart from the implication that Donald Trump himself was present for the deliveries (he wasn’t), the social media reports were accurate. Led by daughter-in-law (wife of Eric Trump) Lara, a Trump/Pence campaign offshoot called the Women’s Empowerment Tour spent two days delivering emergency supplies to Lumberton, Fayetteville, and Greenville, North Carolina in mid-October. Campaign spokesman Mark Serrano told the Fayetteville Observer that Donald Trump donated $29,000 worth of food and supplies for the effort.
The GOP nominee tweeted a short video about the hurricane relief mission on 14 October:
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 15, 2016
Lara Trump, a North Carolina native, credited the candidate with diverting her group from the campaign trail and sending them to the devastated region. She told the Fayetteville Observer:
My father-in-law said, you take a break and go down and help them out. We really want to bring whatever relief we can.
Lanyon, Charley. “A Week Later, Hurricane Matthew Death Toll Continues to Rise.”
Reuters. 15 October 2016.
Mullen, Rodger. “Lara Trump Delivers Groceries in Fayetteville for Flood Victims.”
The Fayetteville Observer. 13 October 2016.
Reuters. “North Carolina Estimates $1.5 Billion in Hurricane Damage to Buildings.”
16 October 2016.