President BidenJoe BidenSunday shows preview: Coronavirus dominates as country struggles with delta variant Did President Biden institute a vaccine mandate for only half the nation's teachers? Democrats lean into vaccine mandates ahead of midterms MORE spoke with Florida Gov. Ron DeSantisRon DeSantisDemocrats lean into vaccine mandates ahead of midterms California dreaming did not become reality for Republicans Florida landlord requiring proof of vaccinations from tenants MORE (R) after the partial collapse of a 12-story residential building in the state left at least four dead and more than 150 people unaccounted for.
Biden said at a bill signing event at the White House on Friday afternoon that he spoke with DeSantis, adding that “our heart goes out to” people in Florida who have been affected by the collapse. He also promised that the federal government would do “everything possible” to assist the community.
“The President said his administration stands ready to provide additional resources and assistance that state and local officials need,” the White House said in a subsequent readout of the phone call.
“The President expressed his gratitude for the heroic first responders and search and rescue teams who are working tirelessly and whose bravery and courage have saved lives,” the White House said. “The President also expressed his condolences to the Governor and the people of the Surfside community, sharing his grief for the families who lost loved ones in this devastating tragedy and for the families who are waiting in anguish as search and rescue efforts continue.”
Overnight, Biden received a state of emergency request from DeSantis, freeing up federal resources from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to assist with rescue and recovery efforts. FEMA has sent search and recovery teams and building science experts to assess the damage, the White House said.
According to local officials, four people have died in the collapse of the building near Miami and 159 remain missing as authorities continue to sift through the rubble.
Biden has been in touch with other officials, including the mayor of Miami-Dade county, but the phone call with DeSantis on Friday was their first since the building collapsed overnight on Wednesday.