Nearly one year after Hurricane Maria struck Puerto Rico, killing more than 1,400 Americans and leaving the island largely powerless for months, President Donald Trump issued a message on Hurricane Florence: "We're ready."

Also, his administration's widely criticized response to Maria was in fact "an unappreciated great job," Trump said Wednesday.

Besides threatening destruction to the Carolinas, Florence also poses political risk to Trump, who sought to encourage the nation in a series of tweets and statements while shifting blame to local officials. FEMA, for its part, admitted it fell short in its Maria response but said it's ready this time around.

"Bad things can happen when you’re talking about a storm this size," Trump said in a video released Wednesday. "(It's) called Mother Nature; you never know – but we know."

This is OnPolitics Today.

FDA declares a teen vaping 'epidemic' 

The Food and Drug Administration threatened Wednesday to halt sales of flavored e-cigarettes if major companies can't find a way to stop kids from puffing their products. All the big vaping brands — think Vuse, Blu and the king of them all, Juul — have 60 days to submit plans on how they'll curtail child vape enthusiasts, said Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, calling youth vaping an "epidemic." Juul is wildly popular among teens, who sneak nicotine hits at school from discreet devices that look like a flash drive. 

Trump signs new sanctions to ward off meddling he's suggested didn't happen

Trump has called the investigation into Russian efforts to sway the 2016 U.S. election a "witch hunt" and once sided with Russia in its denials of any such meddling. But still, perhaps just to be safe, he signed a sweeping executive order Wednesday authorizing sanctions on any nation or individual who tries interfere with America's democratic processes. Dan Coats, Trump's national intelligence director, said the order is a direct response to Russia's 2016 actions, aiming "to make sure that doesn't happen again."

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