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Obama to visit Baton Rouge this week

Posted at 9:43 PM, Aug 21, 2016
and last updated 2016-08-22 00:18:08-04

President Barack Obama will visit flood-stricken Baton Rouge, Louisiana, on Tuesday after outcry that he didn’t end his Martha’s Vineyard vacation to visit the area.

The White House said Obama was “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.”

Obama’s trip won’t interfere with his summer vacation, as he was scheduled to return to Washington on Sunday.

The announcement comes hours after Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump toured areas affected by the floods in Baton Rouge with his running mate, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence.

They visited Baton Rouge and toured the areas damaged by flooding, meeting with residents about their concerns and helping distribute supplies. They were there for a few hours.

Republicans and some in Louisiana slammed the President for not visiting the flood-damaged area, criticizing him for not cutting short his vacation to deal with the crisis.

“A disaster this big begs for the personal presence of the President at ground zero,” read 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.”

Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton spoke to Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards earlier Friday to discuss damage in the state.

The flooding in the area — brought on by 6.9 trillion gallons of rain that pummeled Louisiana last week — damaged more than 40,000 homes and killed at least 13 people.

In the state, more than 70,000 residents had registered for individual assistance and more than 9,000 had filed flood insurance claims, according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency.