President Obama slammed for not visiting Louisiana flood sites

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Unprecedented Louisiana Flooding 'Is Not a Sightseeing Tour'



President Barack Obama is facing harsh backlash for continuing his vacation in Martha's Vineyard while Louisiana is reeling from its worst natural disaster since Hurricane Katrina.

So far, last week's heavy rainfall has destroyed some 40,000 homes, which has displaced about 8,000 people. Thirteen people have died so far.

SEE ALSO: 'It turns your heart upside down': Flooding crisis in Louisiana far from over

President Obama declared the floods a natural disaster on Sunday and redirected federal aid to help the state recover. Homeland Secretary Jeh Johnson is set to visit Baton Rouge on Thursday to review the ongoing response and recovery efforts in the area.

But some are questioning why the president is not showing up himself.

Baton Rouge's local newspaper, The Advocate, wrote an op-ed with one message to President Obama, a "hurting Louisiana needs you now."

SEE MORE: See photos of the flooding impact in Louisiana

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A truck takes a detour through a flooded street in Greenwell Springs, Louisiana, U.S., August 14, 2016. REUTERS/Jeffrey Dubinsky
A truck drives through a flooded street in Greenwell Springs, Louisiana, U.S., August 14, 2016. REUTERS/Jeffrey Dubinsky
An aircrew from Coast Guard Air Station New Orleans rescues three people from a rooftop due to flooding in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, U.S., in this still image from video taken on August 13, 2016. Coast Guard Air Station New Orleans/Handout via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. EDITORIAL USE ONLY
An aircrew from Coast Guard Air Station New Orleans rescues three people from a rooftop due to flooding in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, U.S., in this still image from video taken on August 13, 2016. Coast Guard Air Station New Orleans/Handout via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. EDITORIAL USE ONLY
An aircrew from Coast Guard Air Station New Orleans rescues three people from a rooftop due to flooding in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, U.S., A in this still image from video taken on August 13, 2016. Coast Guard Air Station New Orleans/Handout via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. EDITORIAL USE ONLY
An aircrew from Coast Guard Air Station New Orleans rescues three people from a rooftop due to flooding in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, U.S., in this still image from video taken on August 13, 2016. Coast Guard Air Station New Orleans/Handout via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. EDITORIAL USE ONLY
The Acadian Thruway is covered in floodwaters in this handout picture from the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development taken in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, U.S. August 12, 2016. Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development/Handout via Reuters THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY. IT IS DISTRIBUTED, EXACTLY AS RECEIVED BY REUTERS, AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS. FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS
Verot School Rd is seen covered in floodwaters in this handout picture taken by the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development in Lafayette Parish, Louisiana, U.S. August 12, 2016. Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development/Handout via Reuters THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY. IT IS DISTRIBUTED, EXACTLY AS RECEIVED BY REUTERS, AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS. FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS
Motorists on Highway 190 drive through deep water through Holden, La., after heavy rains inundated the region, Sunday, Aug. 14, 2016. Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards said Sunday that at least 7,000 people have been rescued so far. (AP Photo/Max Becherer)
Members of the Louisiana Army National Guard rescue people from rising floodwater near Walker, La., after heavy rains inundated the region, Sunday, Aug. 14, 2016. (AP Photo/Max Becherer)
Danielle Blount carries her 3-month-old baby Ember to a truck from the Louisiana Army National Guard as they evacuate the area near Walker, La., after heavy rains inundated the region, Sunday, Aug. 14, 2016. (AP Photo/Max Becherer)
Members of the Louisiana Army National Guard rescue people from rising floodwater near Walker, La., after heavy rains inundated the region, Sunday, Aug. 14, 2016. (AP Photo/Max Becherer)
Danielle Blount kisses her 3-month-old baby Ember as she feeds her while they wait to be evacuated by members of the Louisiana Army National Guard near Walker, La., after heavy rains inundating the region, Sunday, Aug. 14, 2016. (AP Photo/Max Becherer)
People arrive an area, to be evacuated by members of the Louisiana Army National Guard near Walker, La., after heavy rains inundated the region, Sunday, Aug. 14, 2016. (AP Photo/Max Becherer)
Floodwaters reach the front steps of a home near Holden, La., after heavy rains inundated the region, Sunday, Aug. 14, 2016. Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards said Sunday that at least 7,000 people have been rescued so far. (AP Photo/Max Becherer)
A sign tells motorists to slow down to avoid pushing water into homes near Holden, La., after heavy rains inundated the region, Sunday, Aug. 14, 2016. Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards said Sunday that at least 7,000 people have been rescued so far. (AP Photo/Max Becherer)
An abandoned vehicle is surrounded by water on Highway 190 near Holden, La., after heavy rains inundated the region, Sunday, Aug. 14, 2016. Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards said Sunday that at least 7,000 people have been rescued so far. (AP Photo/Max Becherer)
Floodwaters reach the front steps of homes built on pillars near Holden, La., after heavy rains inundated the region, Sunday, Aug. 14, 2016. Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards said Sunday that at least 7,000 people have been rescued so far. (AP Photo/Max Becherer)
Army National Guard vehicles travel through floodwaters, Sunday, Aug. 14, 2016, on LA-442, west of Tickfaw, La., as rescue operations continue after heavy rains inundated the region. (AP Photo/Max Becherer)
In this aerial photo over Robert, La., Army National Guard, vehicles drive on flooded U.S. Route 190 after heavy rains inundated the region, Saturday, Aug. 13, 2016. Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards says more than 1,000 people in south Louisiana have been rescued from homes, vehicles and even clinging to trees as a slow-moving storm hammers the state with flooding. (AP Photo/Max Becherer)
In this aerial photo a boat motors between flooded homes after heavy rains inundating the region Saturday, Aug. 13, 2016, in Hammond, La. Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards says more than 1,000 people in south Louisiana have been rescued from homes, vehicles and even clinging to trees as a slow-moving storm hammers the state with flooding. (AP Photo/Max Becherer)
People arrive to be evacuated by members of the Louisiana Army National Guard near Walker, La., after heavy rains inundating the region, Sunday, Aug. 14, 2016. (AP Photo/Max Becherer)
In this aerial photo over Hammond, La., flooded businesses are seen from heavy rains inundating the region, Saturday, Aug. 13, 2016. (AP Photo/Max Becherer)
In this aerial photo over Amite, La., flooded homes are seen from heavy rains inundating the region, Saturday, Aug. 13, 2016. (AP Photo/Max Becherer)
Jeff Robinson wades through flood waters near his home in Baptist, La., Saturday, Aug. 13, 2016, as he seeks a boat ride from state wildlife agents to pick up his wife and children. A slow-moving storm that has dumped almost a foot of rain in Louisiana parishes south and west and Mississippi counties north of the Mississippi-Louisiana state line, are in for more rain. National Guard soldiers and other officials in boats and helicopters plucked more than 1,000 people from their homes and cars as "unprecedented, historic" flooding swamped Louisiana, the governor said Saturday. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)
Jeff Robinson lowers a ladder from a Louisiana National Guard truck as his wife wades through flood waters from the Natalbany River near their home in Baptist, La., Saturday, Aug. 13, 2016. Robinson was seeking a boat ride from state wildlife agents to pick up his wife and children when the National Guard truck arrived. A slow-moving storm that has dumped almost a foot of rain in Louisiana parishes south and west and Mississippi counties north of the Mississippi-Louisiana state line, are in for more rain. National Guard soldiers and other officials in boats and helicopters plucked more than 1,000 people from their homes and cars as "unprecedented, historic" flooding swamped Louisiana, the governor said Saturday. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)
In this aerial photo over Hammond, La., cattle can bee seen huddled together in flood water after heavy rains inundated the region, Saturday, Aug. 13, 2016. (AP Photo/Max Becherer)
In this aerial photo over Amite, La., flooded homes are seen from heavy rains inundating the region, Saturday, Aug. 13, 2016. (AP Photo/Max Becherer)
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Previous presidents have bypassed Louisiana after natural disasters. President George W. Bush was widely criticized after he flew over a flooded New Orleans in 2005. Democrats were especially critical.

President Obama's frequent golf trips and yearly vacations have come under scrutiny by Republicans who point to his trips as evidence of inaction.

And some Republicans are criticizing him now for participating in a fundraiser for Hillary Clinton on Monday instead of visiting Louisiana.

"President Barack Obama has yet to even address the situation, never mind lead the effort to respond. Bush got ridiculed in the media for his action, there has been media silence on Obama's inaction," Robert Eno wrote for the Conservative Review.

Obama did travel to New Jersey after Superstorm Sandy and hugged Republican Gov. Chris Christie in a sign of administration support just weeks before the 2012 presidential election.

Related: 'It Turns Your Heart Upside Down': Flooding Crisis in Louisiana Far From Over

According to Larry Sabato, director of the University of Virginia's Center of Politics, Obama may be waiting for the water to recede, since his visit could affect rescue efforts.

"In Obama's defense, he may be waiting for the water to recede and first responders to do their jobs. A presidential visit brings rescue efforts to a halt and complicates the overall effort logistically. Timing is critical" Sabato said.

But the longer Obama waits, the worse his reputation will look as more images of displaced families come to light, Sabato said.

"It will be a serious public relations mistake if the president doesn't break off for a day and visit."

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