In flood-ravaged Louisiana, newspaper criticizes a golfing Obama – Chicago Tribune
Devoted golfer President Barack Obama isn’t letting criticism from flood-ravaged Louisiana get in the way of a round with pals.
The president on Wednesday hit the links to resume his golfing grudge match with buddy Marty Nesbitt, former NBA star Alonzo Mourning and attorney Cyrus Walker, while vacationing at Martha’s Vineyard.
That’s raised the ire of The Advocate of Baton Rouge, which says its high time Obama leaves the “playground for the posh and well-connected” to see with his own eyes the impact of a disaster that has left thousands displaced.
In an editorial published Thursday morning, the paper noted that Obama was among those making hay out of then-President George W. Bush’s perceived aloofness during Hurricane Katrina in 2005, when an unfortunate photograph of Bush showed him peering down on the floods from Air Force One.
It said, “We’ve seen this story before in Louisiana, and we don’t deserve a sequel … (if Obama was able to) interrupt his vacation for a swanky fundraiser for fellow Democrat Hillary Clinton, as he did on Monday, then surely he can make time to show up for a catastrophe that’s displaced thousands.”
Obama has been briefed on the situation in Louisiana by FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate and Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards, and has approved a major disaster declaration for affected parts of the state.
“Since last weekend’s historic storms, the President has received regular updates on the situation in Louisiana, including from Governor Edwards on Sunday, from FEMA administrator Craig Fugate who traveled there Tuesday, and from his Homeland Security Adviser Lisa Monaco,” White House deputy press secretary Jen Friedman is quoted as saying in an emailed statement Thursday.
Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson traveled to Baton Rouge on Thursday and will update the president on Friday, according to the White House.
“As the president told Gov. Edwards over the weekend, the community of Baton Rouge has faced a difficult, even tragic, summer but can count on the ongoing prayers and unwavering support of the president and their fellow Americans in their time of need,” Friedman said.
But it isn’t the first time his love of golf has caused a stir.
In 2014, he was criticized for playing a round at Martha’s Vineyard shortly after the beheading of James Foley by Islamic State, a move he acknowledged had bad “optics.”
More recently, the Tribune revealed that a golf course could be the first major redevelopment associated with the Obama library site in Jackson Park.