WASHINGTON – President Joe Biden, reprising his role as comforter-in-chief, highlighted Thursday the “life and death” scenario that has introduced collectively all ranges of the federal government as he visits a south Florida group reeling from the collapse of a 12-story condo constructing that left 18 folks useless and scores lacking.
Per week after catastrophe in Surfside, Florida, Biden is assembly with native and state officers on the St. Regis Bal Harbour lodge in Miami Beach. He’s scheduled to visit with first responders and households.
“We’ve come together,” Biden mentioned, as Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis sat to the suitable of the president, and Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava sat to the left. Republican Sens. Marco Rubio and Rick Scott sat throughout from the president. “This is life and death.”
In remarks forward of a roundtable with officers, Levine Cava additionally mentioned the collaboration amongst native, state and federal authorities is bringing hope to the group.
“This is an unprecedented, devastating disaster unlike anyone has ever seen,” Levine Cava mentioned. “It’s shocked the world, and the fact that we’ve all come together is what gives us hope, is what gives us strength and inspiration.”
DeSantis in his remarks famous that there was “no bureaucracy,” when working with the federal authorities, saying “we’re literally getting requests routed from local to state to federal in no time and the approvals happening.”
“There will be no bureaucracy,” Biden responded.
President Joe Biden speaks alongside Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava, heart, and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, left, in regards to the collapse of the 12-story Champlain Towers South condo constructing in Surfside, throughout a briefing in Miami Beach, Florida on July 1, 2021.
Biden’s briefing comes after Levine Cava announced in a press conference Thursday morning that search-and rescue operations have been halted due to structural issues with the constructing.
Biden, with the primary ,ady by his facet, met with roughly 50 first responders in a ballroom on the St. Regis following the roundtable assembly.
“I just wanted to come down and say thanks,” Biden advised the primary responders. “What you’re doing now is just hard as hell to deal with, even psychologically, to deal with. And I just wanted to say thank you. Thank you, thank you, thank you.”
He went on to shake palms with the battalion chief main the response, which was met with applause.
Biden is assembly with relations for the following couple of hours, which is closed to the press.
It’s unclear whether or not the president will visit the positioning of the collapse, and the White House has not introduced an official cease. However, Deputy Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre advised reporters Thursday that there might be updates on whether or not he’ll visit the positioning later, as “things have been kind of moving in the last couple of hours because we want to make sure that we don’t take away any resources, and we do this in a safe way.”
Levine Cava mentioned throughout a press briefing Thursday morning that Biden’s visit had “no impact” on the search-and-rescue operations being halted. She added it “will continue as soon as it is safe to do so.”
President Joe Biden, proper, appears to be like at Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, left, throughout a briefing with first responders and native officers in Miami on July 1, 2021, on the condo tower that collapsed in Surfside, Fla., final week.
Jean-Pierre advised reporters Thursday on Air Force One that the president’s aim for his journey is to supply “comfort” to households and thank first responders.
“We wanted to go there to be to thank them, and also to send a message of unity, to show how state, local and federal government are coming together in this time, especially in this time of tragedy for the community,” she mentioned.
‘Getting to the underside of it’
Psaki mentioned Monday the president believes the collapse should be investigated.
“Certainly we want to play any constructive role we can play with federal resources in getting to the bottom of it and preventing it from happening in the future,” she mentioned.
The National Institute of Standards and Technology despatched a workforce of scientists and engineers to collect data that might be used to decide if a full investigation might be carried out, Psaki mentioned Tuesday.
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More than 50 federal personnel are on the bottom, together with constructing science specialists, structural engineers and geotechnical specialists, in accordance to Psaki.
The National Institute of Standards and Technology introduced Wednesday night that there might be a full investigation into the partial collapse of the Champlain Towers South constructing, Jean-Pierre advised reporters Thursday.
When requested whether or not there are government actions the White House can take to deal with the collapse whereas they await the outcomes of the investigation, Jean-Pierre mentioned that outcomes of the investigation will “steer us and give us a sense of what could be next that we can do to prevent this from happening.”
Biden mentioned in remarks earlier than the roundtable with native and state officers that he believes the federal authorities has the facility to cowl 100% of the prices to the county and state for the primary 30 days of the constructing collapse search and rescue operation.
Although Biden has been selling a $973 billion bipartisan infrastructure bundle, it would possible not be introduced up throughout Biden’s visit to Surfside. The president will possible keep away from making the occasion political as he focuses on the grief of the household.
“It would be inappropriate to use this as an example of why the infrastructure bill needs to pass,” Perry mentioned. “You don’t go to the memorial service where people have lost their loved ones and make a political pitch that that’s just not appropriate.”
Biden’s private tragedies
Throughout the marketing campaign path and into his presidency, Biden has usually shared his private tragedies with America, which is in a pandemic that has left greater than 600,000 useless. In 1972, Neilia Hunter Biden, Biden’s spouse, and 1-yr-outdated daughter, Naomi, had been killed in a automobile accident. Beau, Biden’s oldest son, died of mind most cancers in 2015.
Biden has usually used his story to empathize with those that have misplaced family and friends members all through the pandemic. In April, the president visited Atlanta simply days after a capturing rampage left eight useless, six of whom had been girls of Asian descent. While Biden on the time used the second to condemn racism towards Asian Americans, which has been on the rise amid the Covid-19 pandemic, he additionally gave recommendation to households who had been grieving.
“The day will come when their memory brings a smile to your lips before it brings a tear to your eye, as unbelievable as that is now,” he mentioned in Atlanta in April. “It will take a while, but I promise you it will come, and when it does, that’s the day you know you’re going to make it.”
Barbara A. Perry, director of presidential research on the University of Virginia’s Miller Center, mentioned that presidents visiting the positioning of a tragedy usually looks like a “member of our family” who’s “coming to us to help us grieve and to give us comfort.”
Perry famous that Biden’s personal biography has proven Americans that “there is empathy in him because of what he suffered.”
The Biden administration has despatched assets to the state following the deadly collapse.
Last week, Biden declared a federal emergency in Florida that licensed federal help to complement state and native restoration efforts.
Contributing: Maureen Groppe
Reach Rebecca Morin at Twitter @RebeccaMorin_
This article initially appeared on USA TODAY: Florida condo collapse: Biden meets with Surfside responders, families