On Sunday morning, Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards spoke to CNN’s Dana Bash and hit back at comments by former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani, who attacked the governor for remarks he never made.
Giuliani — who divided his air time between attacking the governor and spreading conspiracy theories about Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton’s mental health — said Bel Edwards should never have “criticized” Trump for flying in for a photo op and bringing no aid or relief supplies.
“I believe Mayor Giuliani got it completely wrong,” the governor said. “I have not been critical of Mr. Trump’s visit. I have tried not to comment because I don’t want to get tied up in the politics of whether it’s the president, whether it’s Hillary Clinton or whether it’s Donald Trump. I have tried not to comment.”
He reiterated, “And the comments that I have made have been very reserved. So I think he was off base there with that comment.”
Bel Edwards said last week that while his state is struggling to recover from the catastrophic floods that have killed dozens, caused billions of dollars in property damage and displaced tens of thousands of families, officials should not plan to visit unless they are bringing direct aid.
On Thursday, the governor’s office released a tersely-worded statement that said, “Donald Trump hasn’t called the governor to inform him of his visit. We welcome him to LA but not for a photo-op. Instead we hope he’ll consider volunteering or making a sizable donation to the LA Flood Relief Fund to help the victims of the storm.”
President Barack Obama opted to wait to visit the flood zone until his arrival would not disrupt or delay relief efforts. Trump, however, flew in on Friday, posed for photos, handed out boxes of Play-Doh, and left again.
One relief worker took to Facebook to vent her frustration with the nominee’s decision to turn the catastrophe into a campaign stop.
“He is exploiting an opportunity to look as if he is welcomed during a tragedy,” wrote Baton Rouge resident Neva Butkus.
“Our Governor literally told him…that Trump is welcome in our state but if he’s coming he better be volunteering or writing a sizable check to assist with recovery,” said Butkus. “A 60 second video of him unloading play-doh from a truck does not count.”
“Trump. Seriously. Where is the check. Like where is the fucking check,” she asked. “My people are drowning. My co-workers and family and friends have lost everything…Give us money or GTFO.”
Watch video of the interview, embedded below: