Democratic Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards Sunday disputed reports he had dismissed Donald Trump's tour this week of flood-damaged areas in Baton Rouge as a "photo op," charging that the press got the story backwards.
His remarks came as CNN's Dana Bash questioned him about the Pelican State's deadly flooding, which has already claimed the lives of 13 people.
"You dismissed the visit as a photo op and you said you wished that Trump would make a donation to a relief organization instead," Bash said, adding that the GOP nominee's campaign made a $100,000 donation to the Greenwell Springs Baptist Church where he visited.
Edwards responded by saying, "you mischaracterized what I said. I didn't dismiss his trip as a photo op. Before he came down I said I — we welcome him here."
"We want him to be helpful and we hope that doesn't turn into a mere photo op. So you got the story backwards," he added.
"Okay. So, was he helpful? Now that it's come and gone, was he helpful? Was it a good thing that he came down?" the CNN reporter continued.
The Democratic governor agreed that, yes, Trump's visit was indeed helpful to the state.
"Yes, for the reasons that I stated earlier because it helped to shine a spotlight on Louisiana and on the dire situation that we have here, that it was helpful," he said.
"And I will tell you that I also appreciated the good phone call, the conversation that I had with [Indiana] Gov. Pence," he added in reference to Trump's running mate, "who was sincere and genuine when he called, and we spoke for a long time on Friday morning about their desire to be helpful."
But on Friday, as Trump and Pence surveyed the damage in Baton Rouge and comforted flooding victims, Edward's office sounded less enthusiastic about the candidate's visit.
"Gov. Edwards wasn't informed of the Trump campaign's visit to the state or the schedule," they said in a statement. "We welcome them to Louisiana, but not for a photo op. Instead, we hope they'll consider volunteering or making a sizable donation to the LA Flood Relief Fund to help the victims of this storm."
Edwards has good reason not to get too critical of Trump. Louisiana is a reliably Republican state in presidential contests and Trump led his general election opponent, Hillary Clinton, by 16 points in a recent poll.
Clinton, has contributed to rescue efforts by posting donation links on social media directing users to various relief groups.
The Democratic candidate also announced on Facebook Friday that she called Edwards to discuss the deadly flooding and suggested she wouldn't survey the damage personally so as not to distract from relief efforts.
"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," the candidate's Facebook page read.
"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," she added.
At the same time that her campaign was posting links to social media, Trump and Pence were on the ground meeting with survivors.
"You're going to rebuild. It's going to be so beautiful," Trump told one flooding victim.
Former Democratic Louisiana Sen. Mary Landrieu thanked the GOP nominee for drawing attention to the issue.
Louisiana's biggest newspaper criticized another big name Democrat — President Obama — for not showing up in Louisiana, and said he was "AWOL.