Governor Greg Gianfort is out of the country on a “long-awaited personal trip” as historic flooding closed Yellowstone National Park indefinitely and flooded communities in southern Montana, his office said Wednesday. Confirmed
Republican Gianfort, who was elected in 2020, left Montana for a private trip with his wife, Susan, last week, before the Yellowstone River rose on Monday and isolated entire communities in Park, Carbon and Steelwater counties. To go The Montana Free Press reported..
But a spokesman declined to say when Gianfort, 61, would return to Treasure State or where he and his wife had reportedly gone.
“The governor is coming back as soon as possible,” spokesman Brooke Strike told the outlet in a statement.
Gianforte has been active on Twitter since the floods began, Statewide disaster announced on Tuesday To help “affected communities get back on their feet” as soon as possible.
“In addition to declaring a statewide catastrophe, we are pursuing the declaration of a rapid presidential disaster to meet the costs to communities,” the governor later said. Tweeted.
Extreme levels of flood danger were announced in at least two places in Montana, with floodwaters expected to rise again in the coming days as heat waves are expected. Helena Independent Record reported..
Speculation over Gyanfort’s whereabouts began after the announcement of the state’s doom, signed by Lieutenant Gov. Kirsten Jurassic. His absence has been criticized by Democrats in Montana.
Sheila Hogan, executive director of the Montana Democratic Party, said in a statement, “In a moment of unprecedented catastrophe and economic uncertainty, Gianforte deliberately kept Montana residents in the dark about where he was, and Who was I in charge of? ” “Again, we ask, where in the world is Government Gianforte?”
A professor of public administration at Montana State University agreed that Gianfort’s trip could not have come at a worse time.
“It simply came to our notice then [the flooding] Professor Eric Austin told the Montana Free Press that it was “extremely severe” and that his office was “very shaky” about where he was and what was happening.
A government official may have legitimate reasons to keep his place private while traveling internationally, but said optics are not good during a natural disaster.
“Ideally, it doesn’t really do any good,” Austin told the outlet.
Wednesday’s statement indicated that Gianfort had been given a “regular briefing” on the flood response since the State Emergency Coordination Council was activated on Monday. NBC Montana reported..
“They are in close contact with state and local authorities, and will continue to share updates,” the statement added. “The top priorities of the governor and the state at present are evacuation from high-risk areas, ensuring shelter for homeless residents, and safe restoration of water and electricity.”
The message, which called for additional comments from the strike early Thursday, was not immediately returned.
Meanwhile, several Twitter users called the Republican governor in response. Latest tweet at the end of Wednesday.
“Where are you writing this from, Greg?” Read one. “Where are you when Montana needs leadership?”