President Barack Obama plans to visit Baton Rouge, Louisiana on Tuesday, Aug. 23, the White House announced Friday, amidst historic floods that have killed at least 13 people and prompted mass evacuations.
The announcement came as critics have bashed the President for not cutting his vacation in Martha’s Vineyard short to travel to the flood-ravaged region, though Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) has said that a presidential visit should wait until it will not come at the cost of distracting authorities currently dealing with the response effort.
“The President is mindful of the impact that his travel has on first responders and wants to ensure that his presence does not interfere with ongoing recovery efforts,” White House spokesperson Josh Earnest said in a statement announcing next week’s visit.
According to Earnest’s statement, Obama has received updates from Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson and Federal Emergency Management Agency Administrator Craig Fugate while on his vacation.
“He is also 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,” Earnest said.