‘We can do it’: Joe Biden brings message of comfort to Surfside
President Joe Biden listens during a briefing with first responders and local officials in Miami on the condo tower that collapsed in Surfside. Image via AP.

Joe Biden Surfside
Biden pledged that the federal government would "pick up 100% of the cost."

President Joe Biden on Thursday offered comfort to the grieving and federal support for the ongoing efforts to search for the missing and rebuild after last week’s collapse of a high-rise condo building along the Florida coastline.

Biden, responding to what appeared to be the deadliest calamity of his young presidency, also met with first responders hunting for survivors among the rubble in Surfside. But underscoring the dangers still present in the search, work was halted before Biden arrived due to concerns about the stability of the section still standing.

Biden and his wife Jill arrived in Florida a week after the collapse of the 12-story Champlain Towers South beachfront condominium killed at least 18 people and left 145 missing. Hundreds of first responders and search-and-rescue personnel have been painstakingly searching the pancaked rubble for potential signs of life. No one has been rescued since the first hours after the collapse.

“This is life and death,” Biden said at a briefing about the collapse. “We can do it, just the simple act of everyone doing what needs to be done, makes a difference.”

The President said he believed the federal government has “the power to pick up 100% of the cost” of the search and cleanup and urged the local officials to turn to Washington for assistance.

“You all know it, because a lot of you have been through it as well,” Biden said. “There’s gonna be a lot of pain and anxiety and suffering and even the need for psychological help in the days and months that follow. And so, we’re not going anywhere.”

Biden was briefed on the situation with Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava. The mayor, a Democrat, saluted the efforts to cross party lines in a time of “an unprecedented devastating disaster” and added that the unified government and community response “is what gives us hope.”

DeSantis, a rumored Republican 2024 presidential candidate, said to Biden that the “cooperation has been great,” declaring that the administration has “not only been supportive at the federal level, but we’ve had no bureaucracy.”

As Biden pledged federal help and touted the bipartisan nature of the response, he touched DeSantis’ hand to underscore the point.

“You know what’s good about this?” Biden said. “It lets the nation know we can cooperate. That’s really important.”

Biden then met with first responders who have worked around the clock on a rescue effort that has stretched into its second week amid oppressive heat and humidity and frequent summer storms.

“What you’re doing here is incredible, having to deal with the uncertainty,” said Biden, as he offered profuse thanks to those who have been working at the site.

The president was also expected to meet privately for several hours with family members of those affected by the collapse before delivering remarks Thursday afternoon. A visit to the collapse site was uncertain, however, amid concerns about the stability of the debris.

White House spokeswoman Karine Jean-Pierre said Biden aimed to “offer up comfort and show unity” with his visit to the site.

Few public figures connect as powerfully on grief as Biden, who lost his first wife and baby daughter in a car collision and later an adult son to brain cancer. In the first months of his term, he has drawn on that empathy to console those who have lost loved ones, including the more than 600,000 who have died in the COVID-19 pandemic.

Biden has received regular updates on the building collapse. He also sent FEMA Administrator Deanne Criswell to the area for a tour of the site earlier this week with DeSantis.

The White House emphasized that it was being careful to coordinate with officials on the ground to ensure that Biden’s visit didn’t do anything to distract from the search and rescue effort. “They wanted us to come today,” Jean-Pierre said.

Biden has supported an investigation into the cause of the collapse, and on Wednesday the National Institute of Standards and Technology, which sent a team of scientists and engineers to the site, launched an investigation.


Republished with permission of The Associated Press.

Associated Press


  • Erica

    July 1, 2021 at 1:56 pm

    There is no Democrat Party. There is no Republican Party. Choosing between the two is manufactured consent. They are the same.There is one party in the United States and that’s the Party of the Ruling Class. It consists of billionaires and capitalists and those who prop them up. And they enjoy letting you think youre supporting the social and cultural values of the party you vote for. Neither party represents the workers. Neither party represents the poor. Neither party represents consumers. Neither party cares about your children, health, or safety. The only thing they care about making sure you obey laws that protect them and keep working and shopping to increase their wealth. Nothing will ever change until we force it to. This country is corporatism in decay. And you know comes after that….

  • John

    July 1, 2021 at 3:13 pm

    Was he smelling hair and fondeling children?

    • tjb

      July 2, 2021 at 10:34 am


  • Tom Palmer

    July 1, 2021 at 5:50 pm

    Glad to see our President here; His bipartisan speech was inspiring and positive

  • Sonja Fitch

    July 4, 2021 at 2:10 pm

    Desantis be you.

Comments are closed.


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