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Montana governor returns home to historic flooding, and criticism

Montana governor returns home to historic flooding, and criticism

Montana Gov. Greg Gianforte out of state during historic flooding disaster that closed Yellowstone National Park.

Montana Gov. Greg Gianforte was expected to return home Thursday, six days after his state was inundated with historic flooding that closed Yellowstone National Park and caused millions of dollars in damage.

Word of the governor's return came a day after his spokeswoman reported that Gianforte — who left the country last week on what his aides described as a “long-scheduled personal trip” with his wife, Susan — was trying to return home as “early and as quick as possible," she told NBC Montana.

While the governor's office refused to say exactly where Gianforte was, it said he has been in communication with his team in Helena, the capital, and keeping abreast of the unfolding calamity in the state through social media.

A house sits in Rock Creek after floodwaters washed away a road and a bridge in Red Lodge, Mont., on Wednesday. David Goldman / APGianforte, a Republican elected in 2020, tweeted Tuesday that he was declaring "a statewide disaster due to flooding to help impacted communities get back on their feet as soon as possible."

But the first inkling most Montanans got that Gianforte was out of the state came Wednesday when the state's formal request for major disaster relief landed on President Joe Biden's desk bearing the signature of Lt. Gov. Kristen Juras, "on behalf of Governor Greg Gianforte."

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