President Barack Obama announced plans to visit flood victims in Baton Rouge, Louisiana just hours after Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump visited the state on Friday.
After Trump’s visit, the White House press office released a statement to reporters announcing that Obama would visit the state on the following Tuesday.
“The president today directed his team to coordinate with Louisiana officials to determine an appropriate time for him to visit, and together they have determined that the president will visit Baton Rouge, Louisiana on Tuesday, August 23rd,” the statement read.
Obama’s vacation on Martha’s Vineyard was already scheduled to end Sunday, so he will not have to interrupt his 16-day vacation for a trip to the flooded state.
The White House assured victims of the flood that Obama was “mindful of the impact” his travel would have on law officials and wanted to make sure that his visit didn’t deter “ongoing recovery efforts.”
“He is also eager to get a first-hand look at the impact of the devastating floods, hear more from 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 statement concluded.
The decision for Obama to visit marks a stark reversal from the White House position after Department of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson told reporters that it was unclear whether the president could visit.
“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. “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.
Both Obama and Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton are currently in Martha’s Vineyard, where former President Bill Clinton is celebrating his 70th birthday.
Full statement from the White House about Obama's plans to visit Louisiana. pic.twitter.com/ektKBktaLp
— Charlie Spiering (@charliespiering) August 19, 2016