Was Obama the President During Hurricane Katrina?

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Following the severe flooding and devastation caused by Hurricane Harvey, people on social media have been drawing comparisons between President Trump’s reaction and former President Obama’s reaction to Hurricane Katrina. The problem is, Obama wasn’t actually the President of the United States when Katrina hit Louisiana.

Several people have been praising Trump for visiting Texas and for donating $1 million of his own money to relief efforts. However, many of those same tweets have accused Obama of being absent during Katrina, insisting that he was essentially no where to be found (some suggest he was golfing or on vacation) when the state of Louisiana was in ruins. The truth of the matter is that Hurricane Katrina hit in 2005, and Obama wasn’t President until 2008.

According to Snopes, Obama visited Houston (also affected by Katrina) in 2005 — when he was a senator in Illinois.

“Obama did meet with Katrina evacuees on September, 5, 2005, in Houston, Texas, alongside former Presidents Bill Clinton and George H.W. Bush.”

Check out some of the confusing tweets about Obama and Trump below:

Interestingly, it seems as though these comparisons may have started off as a joke. As Snopes points out, some people claim that “bots” actually started the Trump vs. Obama hurricane response chatter and things just took off from there. The site also points out that a survey conducted back in 2013 actually showed that 29 percent of republicans in Louisiana blamed Obama for the “federal response to Katrina.”

“While it is unclear how many of the recent spate of anti-Obama tweets were manufactured or made in jest, an August 2013 survey conducted by the Democrat-oriented Public Policy Polling showed that 29 percent of Louisiana Republicans believed that Obama was to blame for the [oft-criticized] federal response to Katrina. Another 44 percent were reportedly unsure whether Obama or George W. Bush was at fault, while 28 percent blamed Bush.”

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