White House spokesman Josh Earnest insisted on Monday that the flood recovery effort in Baton Rouge, La., allows President Obama to visit that state this week, and that Obama's trip has nothing to do with Donald Trump's visit there on Friday.
"Of course not," Earnest answered when asked if Obama is going only because Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump went, and was well received, while Obama was finishing up his two-week vacation on Martha's Vineyard, Mass.
Criticism of Obama's concern about the disaster is "politically motivated" and not reflective of the federal government's work to help Louisiana, he said.
"The response you've seen from the federal government has been effective," Earnest said. Even Republicans who have been critical of Obama concede that the Federal Emergency Management Agency-led recovery work is on track, he said.
"They have said very positive things about the federal response" including the "highest-ranking Republican" in the state, Lt. Gov. Billy Nungesser, "who has built his political career, as far as I can tell, on colorfully criticizing the administration," Earnest said.
Nungesser said "'it's always nice to have the president visit'" but the most important thing is getting the job done, which is happening, Earnest said quoting Nungesser.
The federal government's work speaks for itself "and is the most effective way to answer any of the politically motivated criticism that the president has faced," he said.