President Joe Biden and his wife, Jill, visited Surfside, Florida tonight (Thursday) to meet with rescuers and the families of those killed and missing in the disaster of the collapse of the Chaplain South residential tower last week. Biden received updates from Gov. Ron de Santis, Miami Dade Mayor Daniela Levin Kaba and other senior officials on search and rescue operations, which were suspended early this morning due to fears of the tower collapsing that did not fall last week.
The president noted that the administration is expected to cover the disaster costs for the county and the state of Florida and noted that the tragedy provided an opportunity to show how the federal government works effectively with states and local authorities, regardless of party identity. Republican Gov. De Santis, who is considered closest to former President Donald Trump, praised Biden. “You recognized the severity of this tragedy from day one and were very supportive,” he said. In response, Trump loyalists rushed to attack de Santis on social media for meeting the “impersonating president.”
Biden also met with rescue workers and praised them for their performance and mentioned the experience of his man when his wife and young daughter were killed in a car accident in 1972 and his two sons were rescued with injuries. “I really appreciate what you are doing,” the president said. “I promise you we know that what you are doing here is an amazing thing.” He is expected to hold a closed-door meeting with the families of the victims and the missing in order to “give them comfort while the rescue and rescue efforts continue.”
Rescue and crews stopped searching the tower in the morning for the 145 missing for fear of the collapse of the part left standing after last week’s collapse. Police and rescue personnel said that around two o’clock in the morning, warnings were received about the instability of the building and it was decided to evacuate all the crews from the scene. The governor and the mayor noted that the engineers continue to test the stability of the structure and that they hope the operations will resume soon.