After prayer at site of building collapse, 12-year-old meets with Biden
© Getty Images

A 12-year-old girl had the opportunity to meet President BidenJoe BidenUS lawmakers arrive in Taiwan to meet with local officials Biden meets with Coast Guard on Thanksgiving Five reasons for Biden, GOP to be thankful this season MORE on Thursday after an emotional moment in which she began to pray at the site of a collapsed condo building in Surfside, Fla.

Elisheva Cohen, whose father and uncle are among those missing in the disaster, was invited to meet Biden by the city's mayor after he witnessed her moment of prayer, according to The Associated Press.

When the collapse site was temporarily opened to family members earlier this week, Surfside Mayor Charles Burkett observed Cohen as she stepped away from her mother and brother to read a collection of Psalms and pray. He said the moment moved him and he asked the girl if she was OK, the news outlet noted.


“Yes,” the girl responded.

“And that really brought it home to me,” Burkett told the AP. “She wasn’t crying. She was just lost. She didn’t know what to do, what to say, who to talk to.”

Her father, Brad Cohen, is reportedly still missing under the mountains of debris from the collapse.

Burkett said that he shared Elisheva Cohen's story with various people for several days and when Biden arrived on Thursday he then shared the story with him, in what he called the most moving moment of the visit.

Cohen's mother allowed her to attend the event with a family member after declining to attend, saying that she believed the president's arrival would detract from search efforts, the AP reported.

“I wanted him to know and see the face of that little girl who is praying for her father across from the rubble,” Burkett said. “He looked at me and said, ‘Would you please bring her to me right now?’”

After officials brought Cohen to meet Biden, he walked up to her and gave her a hug.