Accessibility links

USA

Obama to Travel to Flood-stricken Louisiana Following Criticism


President Barack Obama is seated in the presidential vehicle as his motorcade leaves after playing a round of golf at Farm Neck Golf Course in Oak Bluffs, Massachusetts, on Martha's Vineyard, Aug. 18, 2016.

President Barack Obama is seated in the presidential vehicle as his motorcade leaves after playing a round of golf at Farm Neck Golf Course in Oak Bluffs, Massachusetts, on Martha's Vineyard, Aug. 18, 2016.

President Barack Obama will travel next week to Louisiana where unprecedented flooding has left at least 13 people dead and thousands displaced.

The White House announced that Obama will visit Tuesday, following days of criticism from some in the Southern state for the president continuing his New England vacation while many in Louisiana suffered.

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump and running mate Mike Pence visited flood victims Friday. Trump criticized Obama's absence during his visit, in which he toured neighborhoods devastated by water damage and met with disaster relief volunteers.

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump and his running mate, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, right, help to unload supplies for flood victims during a tour of the flood damaged area in Gonzales, Louisiana, Aug. 19, 2016.

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump and his running mate, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, right, help to unload supplies for flood victims during a tour of the flood damaged area in Gonzales, Louisiana, Aug. 19, 2016.

"What's happened here is incredible, nobody understands how bad it is," Trump said. He noted Obama played golf this week.

The White House has said Obama received regular updates about the flooding during his vacation in Martha's Vineyard and has argued that a visit to Louisiana could interfere with recovery efforts by drawing away first responders.

Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards said he would prefer the president wait a few weeks before visiting because of the large security needs for such a visit.

Edwards said he had not been informed of Trump's visit and hoped the candidate was in not in town solely "for a photo-op." He said, "Instead, we hope he'll consider volunteering or making a sizable donation … to help the victims of this storm."

Many Louisiana residents lined the streets to see Trump, cheering him and thanking him for bringing more national attention to the disaster.

Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton said on social media Friday that she called Edwards to discuss the flooding and said "the relief effort can't afford any distractions." She said "my heart breaks for Louisiana" and urged people to donate to the relief effort.

The flooding, which began last week after record-breaking rains of more than 75 centimeters, has been described as the worst U.S. disaster since Superstorm Sandy in 2012. An estimated 40,000 homes have been damaged.

Show comments

XS
SM
MD
LG