Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump traveled to Baton Rouge, Louisiana, on Aug. 19 where he toured a flooded area, talked to residents and posed for pictures despite Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards' request that politicians not do so because of limited resources.
"Gov. Edwards wasn't informed of the Trump campaign's visit to the state or the schedule," according to a statement from the governor's office. "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."
Trump also handed out toys with running mate Gov. Mike Pence of Indiana, met with Christian activist Tony Perkins, who has suggested in the past that natural disasters are God's judgments, and chatted with volunteers at the Greenwell Springs Baptist Church, notes ABC News.
During his visit, Trump falsely claimed, "The president says he doesn’t want to go, he is trying to get out of a golf game."
President Barack Obama decided to plan his visit to Baton Rouge for Aug. 23 after consulting with Louisiana officials, notes Reuters.
The White House said in a statement: "The president is mindful of the impact that his travel has on first responders and wants to ensure that his presence does not interfere with ongoing recovery efforts."
Earlier this week, President Obama declared much of Louisiana to be a federal disaster, which freed up federal services and financial help.
U.S. Homeland Security secretary Jeh Johnson and Federal Emergency Management Agency administrator Craig Fugate have already visited the flooded state.
Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton said in an Aug. 19 statement on Facebook: "My heart breaks for Louisiana, and right now, the relief effort can't afford any distractions."
"I’ve had a great history with Louisiana," Trump told reporters, notes ABC News. "They need a lot of help. What’s happened here is incredible. Nobody understands how bad it is. It’s really incredible. So, I’m just here to help."
Despite his unauthorized visit, some Louisiana residents were glad Trump visited their state because of the flood, which struck Aug. 12.
"Americans got to wake up," one Louisiana resident affected by the flooding told ABC News. "Donald Trump’s the way to wake us up. He’s waking America up. He’s got to get busy. America’s got to get behind him. Without America getting behind Donald Trump, we’re going to lose. And we’re going to lose bigger than this flood ever did, so America's got to wake up.
"He took time out of his busy schedule to come here," Kellie Michelli, who lost her home in the flood, but is the proud owner of an autographed Trump hat, told Reuters. "I don't care if he gives a nickel, he showed he cared by coming here."