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Montana governor faces criticism for vacation during floods

Greg Gianforte
Posted at 12:18 PM, Jun 17, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-17 15:18:49-04

RED LODGE, Mont. (AP) — Amid heavy criticism six days after leaving the country without telling his constituents, Montana Gov. Greg Gianforte's office confirmed that he had gone to Italy with his wife.

His office said he was briefed regularly about intense flooding that devastated the northern part of Yellowstone National Park and nearby communities.

The criticism of Gianforte was a little more political than practical.

Democratic U.S. Sen. Jon Tester said Friday that when you're in public service, there are things that take precedent, and this week's disaster is pretty important. But a Carbon County commissioner said he was able to contact Gianforte by phone and that the state did not neglect any duties.

Officials said Friday that a portion of Yellowstone could reopen sometime next week.

"Yellowstone National Park continues efforts to recover from historic flooding," the park said in a press release. "Limited reopening highly possible next week on park’s south loop with certain visitor entrance modifications. Visitors traveling to park in coming weeks must stay informed about [the] current situation, changes in visitor entry requirements, and road and weather conditions."

Officials said that although all five park entrances are closed temporarily, they are targeting to possibly reopen the west, south, and east entrances.