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Obama to visit Louisiana flooding next week

President Barack Obama announced on Friday that he will visit Louisiana flood victims next week.

The Hill reports:

Obama directed aides to coordinate with Louisiana officials on an “appropriate time for him to visit” and they chose next Tuesday, the White House announced.

Obama has faced heavy criticism for not visiting the site this week. He received a briefing by phone from the Federal Emergency Management Agency on Wednesday while on a two-week vacation on Martha’s Vineyard, Mass.

Baton Rouge newspaper The Advocate earlier this week called on Obama to cut short his summer vacation to come to the state. And former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee criticized his decision keep golfing and not visit the area this week.

GOP presidential nominee Donald Trumptoured the damage in Louisiana on Friday. He chided Obama for not cutting short his vacation.

“The president says he doesn’t want to come. He is trying to get out of a golf game,” Trump said.

Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) said that he didn’t want Trump to come for a “photo-op,” and said he also would appreciate Obama waiting at least a week to avoid diverting emergency resources for road closures and security.

Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clintonwrote on Facebook that she didn’t want her presence to be a distraction, instead pointing followers to relief organizations.

The president dispatched Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson to tour the state on Thursday and received an update from Johnson on Friday. Obama declared a federal disaster for Louisiana over the weekend.

“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 spokesman Josh Earnest said in a statement.

“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 added.

About 40,000 homes have seen damage and more than 70,000 have registered for FEMA assistance, the White House said earlier this week. At least 13 people have died as a result of the storms and flooding.

Photo credit: WhiteHouse.gov.

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