WASHINGTON, Facing criticism for remaining in New England on vacation instead of visiting flood-ravaged Louisiana, President Barack Obama will travel to Baton Rouge next week.
The White House said Obama will make the trip on Tuesday, which will follow visits to the area by multiple members of his administration this week.
“While in Martha’s Vineyard, the President has received updates on the situation in Louisiana, including from the DHS Secretary and the FEMA Administrator, who took separate trips there,” White House Director for Incident Management Integration Policy Sean Griffin wrote in a news release Friday. “Together they have determined that the President will visit Baton Rouge, Louisiana on Tuesday.”
The president and the first family arrived on the Massachusetts island Aug. 6 for a 16-day vacation. In recent days, Obama has received criticism from some who faulted him for failing to cut the trip short to visit flood victims in Louisiana.
During a visit Friday, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump slammed Obama for his absence.
“The president says he doesn’t want to come, he is trying to get out of a golf game,” Trump told volunteers at Greenwell Springs Baptist Church.
At least 13 people were killed this month after severe rains caused flash flooding in the Bayou State.
“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,” Griffin added. “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 Obamas are scheduled to return to Washington on Monday.
By Doug G. Ware