Welcome to the party, POTUS.
The media coverage around Louisiana has been intense, but in the political world, nothing has topped the news more than President Obama’s unwillingness to travel to the flood damaged state. Obama has been on vacation at Martha’s Vineyard, and was unwilling to part from the golf course.
This has opened him up for a barrage of criticisms, mostly regarding his hypocrisy surrounding the way he harangued George W. Bush for simply flying over the state during Katrina. Furthermore, Obama made little in the way of friends when he also sent out a “guidance” message telling Louisiana residents not to be racist as they rebuild.
To make the optics look even worse, Republican presidential candidate, Donald Trump, showed up in Louisiana and took the opportunity to be seen helping with the relief effort by unloading a truck with VP pick Mike Pence.
So it is that Obama has finally changed his mind, and has said that he will visit Louisiana this Tuesday to survey the damage.
“The President is mindful of the impact that his travel has on first responders and wants to ensure that his presence does not interfere with ongoing recovery efforts,” the White House said.
“He is also eager to get a first-hand look at the impact of the devastating floods, hear from more officials about the response, including how the federal government can assist and tell the people of Louisiana that the American people will be with them as they rebuild their community and come back stronger than ever,” the White House said.
While it may have been best for Obama to calmly explain that going to Louisiana would mean diverting energy, and resources to prepare for his arrival, his treatment of George W. Bush has essentially left him with little choice here. The other option would have been to apologize for what he said of the former president, but we all know he’s not going to do that.