On Friday morning, Department of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson spoke with reporters and was perfectly clear. Barack Obama was simply too busy to visit the flood ravaged state of Louisiana but he was receiving updates (between holes on the golf course.) When pressed by reporters who reminded Johnson that he just told them Obama was golfing today, Johnson replied, “Well, the president can’t be everywhere.”
Given the fact that Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump and his vice-presidential running mate Mike Pence are visiting Louisiana today, interacting with people who have suffered through the floods and helped unload items from trucks to help the victims of the flood, the optics were terrible for Obama. After all, he attacked then-President George W. Bush for viewing the devastation of New Orleans by Hurricane Katrina by helicopter. Now that Louisiana is being hit by massive, catastrophic flooding, Obama is busy on vacation at Martha’s Vineyard, golfing, getting some sun, and partying with those “evil 1%.”
In addition, the largest newspaper in the state, the Louisiana Advocate, wrote an editorial calling for Obama to cut his vacation short and visit the hurting state.
It was announced on Friday afternoon that Barack Obama will be touring Louisiana after all, but there’s one catch. It will happen AFTER his two-week Martha’s Vineyard vacation is over. It has been flooding for over a week in Louisiana but, hey, at least Obama has caught up on his rest and relaxation while people in Lousiana are dying and losing their homes.
Josh Earnest, White House spokesperson, tried by play clean up by issuing a statement shielding Obama from any culpability.
“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,” White House spokesman Josh Earnest said in a statement.
“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,” Earnest added.
This weak excuse where the White House attempted to absolve Obama from his decision to golf while Louisiana floods is a far cry from what Obama said about George W. Bush in 2005 when he toured the devastation from Hurricane Katrina from above rather than being in the mix of things on the ground.
Campaigning for president a few years later, he slammed Bush for flying Air Force One over the floods. “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.”
Then again, Obama has always been one to very obviously believe that there are two sets of rules, one for him and one for everyone else.
Here are some pictures and tweets of the devastation in Louisiana by the massive flooding.
— TIME LightBox (@timepictures) August 19, 2016
— ABC News (@ABC) August 19, 2016
— Social Leaf (@SocialLeafSMG) August 19, 2016
— The Hill (@thehill) August 18, 2016
Coffins float down street… https://t.co/Xxxo4mb2xH
— DRUDGE REPORT (@DRUDGE_REPORT) August 18, 2016
— Franklin Graham (@Franklin_Graham) August 17, 2016
— John K Stahl (@JohnKStahlUSA) August 15, 2016