Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson visited Louisiana yesterday to reassure local officials and citizens in the state that President Obama cared about the victims of the devastating floods.
When asked by reporters during a press conference if President Barack Obama would take time from his vacation to visit the state, Johnson was unable to commit.
“As I said, the president can’t be everywhere, I know he has a very busy schedule this fall and in the coming days,” Johnson said.
He assured the people of Louisiana that Obama was monitoring the disaster from his vacation home in Martha’s Vineyard.
“When you are the chief executive of the entire U.S. government, you can’t be everywhere including places you would like to be,” he said, assuring again that Obama was “on top” of the situation.
Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards, a Democrat, also defended the president’s absence, assuring reporters that he was not complaining about his relationship with federal aid.
“The president is welcome to visit whenever he wants to visit,” he said. “When he wants to visit we’re going to receive him and we’re going to do whatever’s necessary to make sure that that visit goes off without a hitch.”
Edwards said that he had been in touch with Obama senior advisor Valerie Jarrett to discuss the federal response, while Obama was vacationing. He added that the security required for a presidential visit was significant and that he preferred law enforcement resources to remain assisting flood victims.
“Quite frankly, that’s not something I want to go through right now,” he said. “While the president is welcome to visit, I would just assume he give us another week or two, get back to a greater sense of normalcy and then he can visit.”
DHS Sec. Jeh Johnson: President Obama can't go to Louisiana because he has a "busy schedule" pic.twitter.com/otFpRnZP1Z
— Charlie Spiering (@charliespiering) August 19, 2016