La. newspaper asks Obama to cut vacation short as floods ravage state – The Hill (blog)

A Louisiana newspaper is calling on President Obama to cut his vacation short and visit the state to address the devastation occurring as a result of severe flooding.

“A disaster this big begs for the personal presence of the President at ground zero,” said an editorial published in The Advocate on Thursday.

“In coming here, the President can decisively demonstrate that Louisiana’s recovery is a priority for his administration — and the United States of America.”

Obama is vacationing at his Martha’s Vineyard getaway. His vacation is scheduled to end on Sunday, but the paper called for the president to “pack his bags now.”

“Pay a call on communities who need to know that in a national catastrophe, they are not alone,” the editorial said.

“The President’s presence is already late to this crisis, but it’s better later than never.”

The newspaper said the president continued his vacation at a “playground for the posh and well-connected” last week as the rain brought “death, destruction and misery” to the state of Louisiana.

“Sometimes, presidential visits can get in the way of emergency response, doing more harm than good,” the editorial said.

“But we don’t see that as a factor now that flood waters are subsiding, even if at an agonizing pace. It’s past time for the president to pay a personal visit, showing his solidarity with suffering Americans.”

Crises don’t follow any calendar, the editorial said, noting this is what the president signed up for when he took the job.

“The optics of Obama golfing while Louisiana residents languished in flood waters was striking,” the editorial said.

“It evoked the precedent of the passive federal response to the state’s agony in 2005, a chapter of history no one should ever repeat,” it added, referring to Hurricane Katrina, when President George W. Bush was criticized for responding too slowly to the devastation. 

The editorial said the president acted “prudently” in declaring a disaster for the area. It said the state has been “heartened” by the involvement of Craig Fugate, head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson is also planning to visit the site to “review the ongoing response,” according to CNN.

But there have been no plans announced for the president to end his vacation and make a visit to the state.

Since the federal disaster was declared, more than 70,000 people have registered for individual assistance and more than 9,000 have filed flood insurance claims, according to CNN.

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