HELENA — Gov. Greg Gianforte's Office says the governor will be returning to Montana tonight after a personal trip out of the country.
Montana is currently under a statewide disaster declaration and has requested a major disaster declaration from President Joe Biden due to historic and catastrophic flooding in places like Yellowstone National Park, Red Lodge, Billings and Livingston.
Both the state disaster declaration and major disaster declaration request were signed by Lieutenant Gov. Kristen Juras as acting governor.
According to Gianforte's office, he left last week on a personal trip with the first lady. The Governor's Office has released no details about the length of the trip or the location Governor Gianforte traveled to.
However, Newsy’s Maritsa Georgiou reported Thursday on social media that Newsy had obtained a time-stamped photo that shows Gianforte has been in the Tuscany region of Italy. Newsy is owned by E.W. Scripps, the parent company of MTN.
Gov. Greg Gianforte’s office says he will be back in Montana tonight. They say they do not share his location when he's out of the country for security reasons. @Newsy has obtained a time stamped photo that shows he's been in the Tuscany region of Italy. #mtnews #mtpol— Maritsa Georgiou (@MaritsaGeorgiou) June 16, 2022
Gianforte’s staff told Newsy they do not share his location when he's out of the country for security reasons.
On Thursday, Gianforte's Office reported that Montana had secured the major disaster declaration from President Biden.
The Gianforte administration says the governor has been receiving regular communication and briefings from Montana while abroad.
Gianforte verbally authorized a state disaster declaration Monday according to his staff, which allowed the state the immediate and full flexibility to assist communities whose resources had been exhausted.
Juras has also been visiting flood-impacted communities to tour and assess the damage at the request of Gianforte.
Initial estimates put the damage to transportation infrastructure like roads and bridges at nearly $30 million.