Courtesy of Mediaiate:@realDonaldTrump and @GovPenceIN help unload and hand out supplies to flood victims in Baton Rouge. #LouisianaFlood pic.twitter.com/3o6Ut4f1qK— RSBN (@RSBNetwork) August 19, 2016
On Friday morning, freshly-minted Donald Trump campaign manager Kellyanne Conway told ABC News that Trump and running mate Mike Pence would be traveling to Baton Rouge, Louisiana to “help people on the ground” in a “decidedly nonpolitical event” with “no press allowed.”
As it turns out, though, there actually were members of the press allowed, and the candidate did use the occasion to attack his political opponent, and there were opportunities for photographs, but true to his word, Trump did “help out.” Pool cameras trailed Trump for his entire visit, and over the course of those several hours, Trump “helped out” by unloading a truckload of toys for 49 seconds.
If you pause the video you will see that Trump is handing out boxes of Play-Doh which I am sure most of you know is a child's toy and not something to eat or drink.
This visit is of course a purely political response to the fact that President Obama did not cut his vacation short to appear in one of those photo-ops that are supposed to demonstrate that he is personally solving each crisis or problem that arises.
For which he is receiving no of end of grief from conservative media.
Chris Cilliza of the Washington Post explains to us why the President is not rushing to get his face on the news in Louisiana:
Obama just doesn't like to fake it. If he doesn't want to do something or thinks it's stupid to do it — regardless of whether it actually is stupid — he won't do it.
In other words Obama is not willing to jump through the hoops to placate his detractors anymore.
What he HAS done is to sign the Louisiana Disaster Declaration, which he did five days ago:
The President's action makes federal funding available to affected individuals in the parishes of East Baton Rouge, Livingston, St. Helena, and Tangipahoa.
Assistance can include grants for temporary housing and home repairs, low-cost loans to cover uninsured property losses, and other programs to help individuals and business owners recover from the effects of the disaster.
Federal funding also is available to the state and eligible local governments and certain private nonprofit organizations on a cost-sharing basis for emergency work as a result of the flooding in the parishes of East Baton Rouge, Livingston, St. Helena, and Tangipahoa.
Federal funding is also available on a cost-sharing basis for hazard mitigation measures statewide.
In other words this is something that provides services which are actually needed in the area, and having the President show up for a photo-op would really only get in the way at this point.
Speaking of self serving political gestures, this is what Sarah Palin posted on her Facebook page :
That's right, it links to an article over on Palin's favorite go to Right Wing rag comparing President Obama's reaction to this flooding in Louisiana to Bush's historically poor response after Katrina, and suggesting that THIS is WORSE.
No I am not kidding.
Doesn't make any difference, President Obama is just going to continue doing his job. Yes, even while he is on vacation. (Everybody knows that Presidents don't get REAL vacations after all.)
And what's more he is finally at a point where he really does not give two shits what his critics say about him.
And personally I prefer a President who signs an emergency bill immediately after the flooding starts to one who shows up over a week late and hands out Play-Doh for less than a minute before boarding his private jet and flying away.
But hey, that's just me.
Update: President Obama now has plans to visit Louisiana on Tuesday:
"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," the White House said.
And THAT'S how you do it.