Right-wing media are criticizing President Obama for not visiting Louisiana following widespread flooding, saying “the feeling is, does [Obama] really even … care” and attacking him for not ending his “golfing vacation,” ignoring the fact that Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards has publicly requested that Obama not visit due to fear it would drain state resources.
Louisiana Governor Praises Federal Government Response To Flooding, Asks Obama Not To Come
The Advocate: After Massive Flooding In Louisiana, Governor Said That He “Would Just As Soon [Obama] Wait A Week Or Two” To Visit. The Advocate, Louisiana’s largest daily newspaper, reported that massive flooding in Louisiana “has sparked disaster declarations for 20 parishes” and resulted in 13 deaths and damage to 40,000 homes so far. Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards told reporters “he’s not concerned that President Barack Obama has not yet visited Louisiana and that that a visit from the president “would be a drain on resources as the state still works to respond to the flood.” Edwards added, “I would just as soon [Obama] wait a week or two.” Edwards also said he in “near daily communication with the White House” and that the administration had “shown that the flooding is a priority for the federal government.” From the August 18 article:
Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards says he's not concerned that President Barack Obama has not yet visited Louisiana to see the flood crisis first-hand.
“I'm not complaining in any way about our federal partnership,” Edwards said during a news conference on Thursday.
Edwards, a Democrat, said that those trips, plus near daily communication with the White House, has shown that the flooding is a priority for the federal government. He said a visit from Obama, which would require heightened security and road closures, would be a drain on resources as the state still works to respond to the flood.
“Quite frankly, that's not something I want to go through right now,” Edwards said. “I would just as soon he wait a week or two.” [The Advocate, 8/18/16]
Ignoring Governor’s Request, Right-Wing Media Criticize Obama For Not Visiting The State
Breitbart News: “Trump Visits Louisiana Flood Victims As Hillary Rests And Obama Vacations.” A Breitbart News article reported that “the president played another round of golf Thursday with television star Larry David and Bain Capital co-managing partner Jonathan Lavine” and that he “has given no indication he will interrupt his two week vacation … to visit the flood victims.” The article claimed that the “mainstream media, which was so critical of President George W. Bush’s handling of the Katrina flooding of New Orleans in 2005, has no such criticism of President Obama’s hands off approach to this year’s Louisiana flooding.” From the August 18 article:
President Obama has given no indication he will interrupt his two week vacation in exclusive Martha’s Vineyard to visit the flood victims. The president played another round of golf Thursday with television star Larry David and Bain Capital co-managing partner Jonathan Lavine.
The Obama family’s vacation is scheduled to continue until Sunday.
The mainstream media, which was so critical of President George W. Bush’s handling of the Katrina flooding of New Orleans in 2005, has no such criticism of President Obama’s hands off approach to this year’s Louisiana flooding. [Breitbart News, 8/18/16]
Fox’s Steve Doocy: Obama “Is On Vacation, And There Is No Word That He's Going To Leave The Island.” Fox co-host Steve Doocy reported that President Obama “is on vacation, and there is no word that he’s going to leave the island.” Co-host Anna Kooiman said that “the optics do not look good” for Obama, and Kilmeade blasted The New York Times for not publishing “a negative story … about the president deciding not to show up in Louisiana.” From the August 19 edition of Fox News’ Fox & Friends:
STEVE DOOCY (CO-HOST): [Donald Trump] is moving on, as John just mentioned, down to Louisiana. It will be powerful images if we see them, but as John said, it's closed press at this point. He's going to tour the damage with Mike Pence. Thirteen people have died down there. Hillary Clinton says she is monitoring the situation. The president of the United States, however, is on vacation, and there is no word that he's going to leave the island.
ANNA KOOIMAN (CO-HOST): Yeah, he's playing golf with Larry David. The optics do not look good when you see Americans there in Louisiana dealing with the some of the worst flooding they have ever seen in their lives.
BRIAN KILMEADE (CO-HOST): By the way, little bit different. You can't find a negative story in The New York Times about the president deciding not to show up in Louisiana, which been devastated. In fact, one editorial writes that it could be an opportunity to be a cleansing experience.
DOOCY: Oh, good.
KILMEADE: Isn't that fantastic for the people of Louisiana who are taking a canoe to their backyard? [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 8/19/16]
Fox’s Ainsley Earhardt: “The Feeling Is, Does [Obama] Really Even -- Does He Care?” Fox’s Anna Kooiman asked Fox & Friends co-host Ainsley Earhardt to “contrast the image of ... Donald Trump down there visiting with everybody” “to the president of the United States who’s out golfing with Larry David.” Earhardt responded that Obama “refuses to leave Martha’s Vineyard,” possibly because “he’s not up for re-election,” adding, “And so the feeling is does he really even -- does he care?” From the August 19 edition of Fox News’ Fox & Friends:
AINSLEY EARHARDT (CO-HOST): I got off the plane, and my phone is blowing up with folks from both of the campaigns. And they said, “I'm so sorry, we're going to have to postpone the interview until Saturday morning because Donald Trump and Gov. Pence have been watching all of these images, these horrible images on TV.” The coffins floating down the street. Nobody doing anything to help. They're shocked that the president is on the golf course and that Hillary Clinton’s not down there. So they said they’ve got to go down there and help. So they decided to spend the entire day today with those families, going down to Baton Rouge and just meeting them, asking them what they can do, and just hearing some of their stories so they'll know how to move forward and how to help them down the road.
ANNA KOOIMAN (GUEST HOST): And, Ainsley, after Donald Trump gave one of the best speeches of his life, as many are saying last night, in Charlotte, North Carolina, and now going to Louisiana and looking very presidential, contrast the image of -- in our minds -- of Donald Trump down there visiting with everybody who is dealing with some of the worst flooding they have ever seen, record flooding, and compare that to the president of the United States, who’s out golfing with Larry David.
EARHARDT: Yeah, the images of the president, who’s playing golf and refuses to leave Martha's Vineyard, you know, he's not up for re-election. And so the feeling is, does he really even -- does he care? I mean, he's playing golf, and he’s not leaving the island -- this exclusive island, Martha’s Vineyard, and he’s going to be there until Sunday. [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 8/19/16]
Newt Gingrich: Obama Is “Golfing Because He Can’t Really Be Troubled” To Visit Louisiana. Fox contributor Newt Gingrich commented that “it’s a remarkable contrast” to see Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump in Louisiana while “you have the president golfing because he can't really be troubled.” From the August 19 edition of Fox Business’ Varney & Company:
NEWT GINGRICH: Well it used to be that the party of sympathy and concern and focus on human beings was the Democratic Party and that the Republicans would be kind of standing around, sucking their thumb, trying to figure out what to do. Now you have an enormous disaster in Louisiana, where I went to school and my younger daughter Jackie was born. The biggest disaster really since Hurricane Sandy, and you have the president golfing because he can't really be troubled, and you have Hillary Clinton, who naturally should have been the person down there. I mean, Bill Clinton would have been down there in a heartbeat and he would have understood instantly. And who is going down? Well you've got Donald Trump and Mike Pence and, very correctly, they're going down without cameras. I think they're going to see what's going on, and they’re trying to be helpful. Pence, of course, as a governor has had to deal with tornados and other disasters, so I think it's a remarkable contrast. [Fox Business, Varney & Company, 8/19/16]
Fox’s Jeanine Pirro: Obama “Doesn’t Feel Our Pain, He Doesn’t Make Believe He Feels Our Pain.” Fox host Jeanine Pirro claimed that Obama didn’t visit Louisiana because “it would throw off his golf game" and said that Obama not visiting Louisiana is “consistent” with the president having “this kind of distance” from people. Pirro added that Obama “doesn’t feel our pain, he doesn’t make believe he feels our pain.” From the August 19 edition of Fox News’ Fox & Friends:
STEVE DOOCY (CO-HOST): Donald Trump now on his way to Baton Rouge, Louisiana, where he and his running mate, Mike Pence, will tour the flood-damaged areas.
BRIAN KILMEADE (CO-HOST): In the meantime, President Obama’s criticized for staying on vacation, and Hillary Clinton is taking the weekend off.
ANNA KOOIMAN (CO-HOST): Well here to discuss is host of Justice, Judge Jeanine Pirro. Thanks for being with us. And somehow some in the mainstream media are even rushing to the president’s side and saying, “Oh, it would be a distraction if he went down there.”
JEANINE PIRRO: Yeah, it would throw off his golf game. There is a double standard. There’s no question about it. Everybody was saying how horrible it was when President Bush was in an airplane looking down --
DOOCY: Flew over.
PIRRO: Yeah, flew over on Katrina. But, look, this is consistent with President Obama and that is that he’s got this kind of distance. “Let me hold myself separate and apart from the pain that you’re going through.” He doesn’t feel our pain, he doesn’t make believe he feels our pain. Let him go off into the sunset on his golf cart. Meanwhile, Donald Trump and Michael Pence get it. They're going to Louisiana. They're going to make sure that they connect with the people there. [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 8/19/16]
Wash. Times: “Obama Refused To Cut Short His Golfing Vacation” To “Survey The Louisiana Flood.” The Washington Times reported that “President Obama is stirring resentment over his refusal to interrupt his Martha’s Vineyard vacation to survey the Louisiana flood” and that “Mr. Obama’s lack of urgency is drawing unflattering parallels to the federal response in 2005” to Hurricane Katrina. The article buried the point that the governor said “that the timing for a presidential visit is bad given the security.” From the August 18 article:
President Obama is stirring resentment over his refusal to interrupt his Martha’s Vineyard vacation to survey the Louisiana flood — the worst U.S. natural disaster since 2012 — while drawing comparisons to President George W. Bush’s hotly criticized response to Hurricane Katrina in the same state.
Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards, a Democrat, backed him up, saying at the press conference that he is “not complaining in any way about our federal partnership.”
Even so, Mr. Obama’s lack of urgency is drawing unflattering parallels to the federal response in 2005, when Mr. Bush was branded as uncaring and even racist for not touching down during a flyover two days after Hurricane Katrina unleashed record destruction along the Gulf Coast.
Not only has Mr. Obama refused to cut short his golfing vacation, but he also has issued no public or written statements about the crisis, which has been dubbed the Louisiana Flood of 2016. [The Washington Times, 8/18/16]
The Daily Caller’s Vince Coglianese: “President Obama And Also Hillary Clinton … Are Avoiding [The Flooding] Outright.” Daily Caller executive editor Vince Coglianese claimed that Trump showed “quite a contrast” to Obama and Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton by visiting Louisiana, saying people will think “‘at least this guy's showing a degree of empathy that I'm not seeing from either the president or from Hillary Clinton.’” From the August 19 edition of Fox News’ America’s Newsroom:
MARTHA MACCALLUM (CO-HOST): Vince, you look back at President Bush, who basically did not land there during Katrina for that reason. He didn't want to distract from the efforts that were going on, and then, in retrospect, he said it was a mistake. He said there would have been a way for me to get there to sort of bring focus to that story and to make it clear that the country cares about what's going on in Louisiana and the people there. President Obama has chosen not to go, and Donald Trump is on the ground this morning, so your thoughts on both of those realities.
VINCE COGLIANESE: Well, politics isn't just sort of about weighing the entertainment benefits or whether or not the candidate should show up for cynical reasons. Politics is about real-world impacts. So oftentimes when people are in crisis, they do like to see a steady hand. Donald Trump, of course, is not the incumbent president, but he does want to make a demonstration that he cares about issues like massive devastation going on in Louisiana. So I don’t necessarily think that politically it’s optically bad. I mean politics is about real world consequences. And you've got a guy like President Obama and also Hillary Clinton who are avoiding it outright. I think that's quite a contrast for people who might be on the fence about what candidate they want to support, and they'll see Donald Trump, like, “Hey, at least this guy's showing a degree of empathy that I'm not seeing from either the president or from Hillary Clinton.” [Fox News, America’s Newsroom, 8/19/16]