Donald Trump’s visit to Louisiana seems great act to gain favors
Donald Trump’s decision to be the first big-name U.S. politician to visit Louisiana amid historic flooding turned out to be a savvy one.
The Republican presidential nominee, fresh off the best speech of his 2016 campaign on Thursday night, visited the Baton Rouge area on Friday and successfully drew attention to the unfolding crisis. He even earned praise from a former Democratic senator from Louisiana, Mary Landrieu, who suggested President Obama and Hillary Clinton might want to follow his lead.
And now the White House has announced Obama will indeed travel there next week, and Clinton has called Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) for an update.
But even in playing his political cards right and potentially reaping the benefits — perhaps most notably in appearing presidential, something he has struggled with all campaign — Trump couldn’t quite help himself.
During a stop at a church, Trump made clear that this was partially a political trip for him.
“The president says he doesn’t want to come; he is trying to get out of a golf game,” Trump told volunteers in the area.
After a man remarked that Obama might be “under-par while we’re underwater,” Trump responded with a wry smile: “He’ll never be under-par.”
“Today, Donald Trump acted more presidential than the president himself, by immediately going to Louisiana while President Obama chose to continue playing golf and Hillary Clinton phoned in her views,” said Rudy Giuliani, the former New York mayor and Trump surrogate.
Conservatives and Trump backers had already been decrying a media double standard, comparing Obama’s continued vacation on Martha’s Vineyard during the disaster to President Bush’s much-criticized and delayed response to Hurricane Katrina in Louisiana and Mississippi in 2005.
Much of the problem back then, of course, was not just with Bush’s absence but with a botched federal response. This was a conversation that was already happening, and it’s not clear it needed any more prodding from the Trump campaign.