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Donald Trump and his running mate Mike Pence were traveling to Louisiana Friday to survey the flood damage that killed at least 13 people and displaced thousands more.
Pence arrived ahead of the Republican presidential nominee, who was seen chatting on the tarmac with Louisiana Lt. Governor Billy Nungesser and Attorney General Jeff Landry. The officials are the highest-ranking Republicans in the state. Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards, a Democrat, says he won't be involved in Trump's visit.
A torrent of about 2 feet of rain inundated the southern part of the state, devastating areas hit hard by Hurricane Katrina over a decade ago.
Thursday marked the 13th day of President Obama’s 16-day Martha’s Vineyard vacation, nine days of which he has so far spent on the golf course, three at the beach.
Meanwhile, the state of Louisiana has been ravaged by the worst flooding in decades, with a mounting death toll and millions of dollars in damage.
Flooding victims carry belongings through water. Image Credit: Joe Raedle/Getty Images. Today, The Advocate newspaper in Baton Rouge called for Obama to cut his vacation short and make a personal visit to the state to view the devastation caused by historic rains.
The paper’s editorial writes Obama’s presence would help boost morale:
“Sometimes, presidential visits can get in the way of emergency response, doing more harm than good. But we don’t see that as a factor now that flood waters are subsiding, even if at an agonizing pace. It’s past time for the president to pay a personal visit, showing his solidarity with suffering Americans.”It also warns Obama should not go the way of President George W. Bush, who was criticized for doing a flyover of Louisiana in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.
Obama himself, campaigning in 2008, attacked Bush for not showing up in person:
“We can talk about what happened for two days in 2005 and we should. We can talk about levees that couldn’t hold, a FEMA that seemed not just incompetent but paralyzed and powerless, about a president who only saw the people from the window of an airplane instead of down here on the ground. Trying to provide comfort and aid.”Now, says The Advocate, it’s time for Obama to walk the talk.
“[I]f the president can interrupt his vacation for a swanky fundraiser for fellow Democrat Hillary Clinton, as he did on Monday, then surely he can make time to show up for a catastrophe that’s displaced thousands. The optics of Obama golfing while Louisiana residents languished in flood waters was striking.”
Instead of visiting himself, Obama tasked Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson with making the trip to Louisiana Thursday to survey the devastation.
He is scheduled to return to the White House on Sunday evening and will now visit Louisiana on Tuesday.
Portions of the story have already been reported
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