As floods caused by a combination of heavy rain and snowmelt caused Yellowstone National Park to be entirely evacuated earlier this week, Montana governor Greg Gianforte was out of the country, refusing for days to say where exactly he was. So you know the centimillionaire had to be on a really nice vacation.
According to photos obtained by Newsy, Gianforte was in Tuscany, where he and his wife dined on Wednesday night in a historic Etruscan village carved into a hill above the Sienese countryside. It was apparently a last hurrah for the trip: 12 minutes before the photo was taken, his office released a statement saying he would be “returning early and as quickly as possible.”
The governor’s press people claimed that he left for Italy days before the raging Yellowstone River collapsed roads in the nation’s oldest national park and cut off small communities in southwest Montana from supplies. But signs of severe flooding and destruction were clear on Monday morning, meaning Gianforte put off his return for several days as residents were stranded and told that the flooding had contaminated their drinking water. When a statewide disaster was declared on Tuesday to allocate resources to handle the crisis, Montana’s lieutenant governor Kristen Juras had to give the order in Gianforte’s absence. Though the northern half of Yellowstone is expected to remain closed for the rest of its 150th season, no injuries were reported and parts of the park could open as soon as Monday.