President Trump meets with Benton Co. mayor

Updated: Mar. 6, 2020 at 5:13 PM CST
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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WMC) - President Trump visited Nashville Friday to personally survey the tornado damage.

WMC Action News 5 spoke exclusively with a Tennessee mayor who met with the president.

President Donald Trump deplaned Air Force One at Berry Field Air National Guard Base in Nashville with Tennessee Senators Marsha Blackburn and Lamar Alexander by his side.

Tennessee Governor Bill Lee was there to greet him.

Benton County Mayor Brett Lashlee stood next to Governor Lee.

"Just to meet a president, I think is an honor regardless of the reason to be there. And also, to be positioned right beside the governor, I mean what better location could I have been,” said Brett Lashlee, Benton County Mayor.

Lashlee says security surrounding the event was intense. Secret Service didn't allow him to tell anyone what he was doing.

"So, I didn't even tell my family until I was here today. And so, they didn't know where I was,” said Lashlee.

Lashlee had the privilege of shaking the president’s hand outside Air Force One. He says he discussed with him the damage in his community.

"He knew about Benton County. He said, ‘Listen, I know that you got a fatality and our thoughts and prayers are with you,’ and I thanked him for that,” said Lashlee.

Lashlee gave the president a “Believe in Benton” pin to wear as he surveyed the damage left behind by the tornadoes.

He believes the president’s visit will help speed up recovery.

"I think having boots on the ground, to see the devastation, you can bet that probably response times, cutting through the bureaucracy to be able to get aid and some type of reconstructive efforts to the community, of course having a President is going to be able to get things done a little bit quicker,” said Lashlee.

President Trump left Nashville Friday afternoon for Atlanta where he visited the headquarters of the Centers for Disease Control.

He is scheduled to leave Atlanta to travel to Florida for a fundraiser Friday evening.

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