Hillary Clinton published a statement on Facebook about her response to the Louisiana flooding. The statement is a call to support charities doing relief work but it’s also an explanation of her absence and a swipe at Donald Trump:
I just got off the phone with Governor John Bel Edwards in Louisiana.
The flooding there is bigger than anyone expected—more than 40,000 homes have been damaged and more than 100,000 people have been affected.
My heart breaks for Louisiana, and right now, the relief effort can’t afford any distractions. The very best way this team can help is to make sure Louisianans have the resources they need.
In other words, Clinton won’t be going to Louisiana. Instead the letter asks her supporters to donate money to the Red Cross and a group called the Baton Rouge Area Foundation.
There are a couple of points to make about this. First, the flooding in Louisiana has been going on for a week now. And yet, according to USA Today, this is the first thing Hillary Clinton has said about it with the exception of one previous tweet from Tuesday.
— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) August 16, 2016
Why is Clinton suddenly becoming more expressive about the disaster today? Because Donald Trump and Mike Pence are in Louisiana. As former Senator Mary Landrieu (note: a Democrat and big Clinton supporter) points out in this CNN clip, Trump’s visit helps to bring attention to the state in the midst of a major disaster:
The second point is that Hillary has not been above attacking a president based on his response to a natural disaster in the past. In 2005 she became a leading voice criticizing the Bush administration response to hurricane Katrina. “There was nobody in charge in the federal government, and there was nobody willing to take responsibility to work with state and local officials to make sure they were prepared,” she said at the time.
In 2007 when she was running for president the first time Hillary created a radio ad in which she intoned, “If you’re stuck on a rooftop or stranded at the Superdome during a hurricane, you’re invisible to this president, even when you’re on CNN.” Here’s a link to the audio:
2007 Hillary flash-back "if you're stuck on a rooftop…you're invisible to this president" https://t.co/dkrphbti4j
— Morgen Richmond (@morgenr) August 19, 2016
Does Clinton plan to offer any criticism of President Obama who is on vacation this week as Louisiana is under water? Of course not.
All of this is political posturing but let’s face it that’s part of the job as president. It’s about showing up not just to show you care but to bring the cameras and attention that will help insure other people care too. Right now Donald Trump is doing a much better job of that than either Hillary Clinton or President Obama.