BATON ROUGE, LA (AP/WAFB) - Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump and his running mate Mike Pence were in Louisiana Friday to survey the flood damage that killed at least 13 people and displaced thousands more.
In East Baton Rouge Parish, Friday, Trump's motorcade drove through hard-hit communities, where ripped up carpet and flooring, furniture and the entire contents of homes were piled on the curb. People who were still mucking out their homes, in some instances, came out to wave at the motorcade with gloved hands dirty from their house-gutting work. He and Pence then met a group of volunteers at a Baptist church who have been cooking meals for flood victims and helping the elderly gut their homes.
While his schedule is not confirmed, sources say Trump is expected to make stops in St. Amant and the Central area.
Trump's decision to visit Louisiana came after the White House said President Barack Obama was unlikely to break from a New England vacation to survey the damage, despite calls for him to visit and meet with responders and victims.
Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards, a Democrat, says he won't be involved in Trump's visit. His office released the following statement Thursday evening:
Edwards defended the administration's response Thursday, saying he has spoken daily with the White House and would prefer Obama hold off on visiting because such stops pull local police and first responders into providing security.
Trump's new campaign manager Kellyanne Conway suggested that the visit was part of a larger effort, like his speech on Thursday, to pivot to a more presidential phase.
The GOP candidate's visit comes amid an ongoing staff shakeup. His campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, resigned Friday following revelations about his work for a pro-Russian political party in Ukraine. In a statement, Trump praised Manafort's work on the campaign and called him a "true professional."
The Associated Press reported Thursday that Manafort's firm orchestrated a covert Washington lobbying operation on behalf of Ukraine's then-ruling political party. Manafort and his deputy, Rick Gates, never disclosed their work as foreign agents as required under federal law.