It’s been a month since devastating floods wreaked havoc in the southern state of Louisiana. While the news coverage on the floods has ceased, the ramifications, damages to property, homes, local businesses and people’s lives has longer lasting effects. A natural disaster strikes Louisiana, inflicts millions of dollars’ worth of damage, lays waste to hundreds of homes and businesses and displaces thousands of people, and where do we find our commander in Chief? He’s having a gay-old-time and a leisurely game of golf under clear blue skies in Martha’s Vineyard. Through his leisurely record, did we actually expect him to be anywhere else?
The governor of Louisiana, John Bel Edwards remarked that the catastrophe was a “historic, unprecedented event” not seen since Hurricane Katrina which devastated New Orleans and resulted in untold destruction. The recent floods claimed thirteen lives as well as an estimated 146,000 homes which were completely destroyed. Four days before the President decided to mosey on down, the Republican candidate, Donald Trump set aside his presidential campaign to fly out to the affected areas and meet with thousands of men and women who were coping with the catastrophe.
“I came here to help,” Trump told victims, according to the Advocate newspaper.
And Louisiana citizens took note. The leftist media accused of Trump visiting the disaster area in order to score political points. However, this is simply not the case. In an effort to consolidate his own notion of what a president should do in the event of a natural disaster, Trump wanted to be more presidential.
“I just appreciate his passion,” Phinney, a Louisiana resident said. “When he looked me in the eye and shook my hand, it felt real. The guy is down here for more than just a vote. I feel like this is legit. So he’s got my vote.”
Trump himself, and many others criticized the lack of responsiveness and unwillingness from the President to perform his duties as Commander in Chief by cutting his golfing vacation short and visiting the state. The president stated that he simply didn’t go down there in order to allow emergency responders to do their job; as though the president would somehow get in the way of their ability to help people, but this was an outright lie. In the event of a natural disaster, presidents usually visit hard-hit areas in order to drum up support and donations to help the areas affected. Donations are fundamental to more passive disasters that incur heavy material damages (such as a floods) and are the most crucial within the first three days of the event.
Without the national spotlight that results from a presidential visit, it is harder for Americans to donate. In the case of the Louisiana flooding, the disaster did not involve high-scale destruction. Instead incurred damages weren’t simply a matter of life or death. It actually entailed a greater need for direct donations, as there are less mortal victims and more material victims. In this case, the need for a presidential visit is all the more vital, pressing, and quickly necessary. Emergency responders can also easily assess with the help of a presidential visit. However, it seems Obama simply did not want to cut his vacation short. For the President, the flooding was essentially someone else’s problem.
“It just lets you know that somebody on the national level is doing something,” said Sandra Bennett, 76, a Trump supporter who lost everything in the flooding and had come to see the Republican presidential nominee at the first of his stops around the flood-battered area on Friday. “We don’t just believe in Trump for this, though,” she said. “We think he’s got the right values.”
But it wasn’t just Obama who didn’t see the need or intrinsically feel the plight of his fellow Americans. Hillary Clinton also said that she would not visit Louisiana in the near future. She claims that the visit would “cause distraction and take attention away from her campaign”. For Hillary Clinton, Louisiana is too red to matter.
oes this sound like someone who can bridge political divides and work for all Americans? Someone you’d want to be your next President. When real, unprecedented things happen, Hillary and Obama can’t take time out of their busy schedules. It might be too much to ask from Hillary Clinton to care about real Americans. But then again, Obama is her best bud. So it wouldn’t come as much of a surprise.