Donald Trump said the president should have been there earlier, although the governor initially warned everyone to stay away.
President Barack Obama has finally made it to Louisiana to tour areas devastated by the flooding, but it’s soon enough to avoid harsh criticism for not being their sooner. Obama toured Baton Rouge Tuesday, the city most heavily impacted by the torrential rains and subsequent flooding that called to mind Hurricane Katrina in 2005.
Obama surveyed the damage in Louisiana’s capital, which has seen more than 100,000 residents and households register for federal assistance. Officials estimate more than 60,000 homes have been damaged, according to media reports.
This disaster has become particularly politicized due to the fact it happened right in the middle of a divisive presidential campaign. Donald Trump, the Republican presidential nominee, immediately came to Louisiana — despite the fact that the state’s governor warned him to stay away and not interfere with first responders — and instantly made it a political issue, bashing his opponents for not being there.
Obama had been vacationing at Martha’s Vineyard, saying he wanted to honor the governor’s wishes, but Trump framed it as him not being there for residents.
Trump is seeking to make himself look more presidential as he faces an uphill battle in defeating the Democratic presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton, who holds significant leads on him in the polls.
John Bel Edwards, the state’s Democratic governor, backtracked a bit recently when he acknowledged that Trump’s visit was helpful because it shined a spotlight on the state and helped call attention to the need for assistance.
Hillary Clinton said recently she wouldn’t visit Louisiana until she was confident the campaign wouldn’t disrupt first responders.