Administration

Biden says he will visit area impacted by storms: ‘We’re going to get through this together’

President Biden during a Saturday press conference called the impact of the severe storms and tornadoes that swept through multiple states in the Midwest and South Friday night into Saturday morning, killing at least 70 people and destroying livelihoods, “a tragedy.”

Speaking from Wilmington, Delaware, he said, “I want folks in all these states to know we’re going to get through this. We’re going to get through this together and the federal government is not going to walk away.”

“This is one of those times when we aren’t Democrats or Republicans. Sounds like hyperbole, but it’s real. We’re all Americans,” Biden added.

Biden confirmed that he was planning to visit Kentucky, which suffered massive damage and where close to 100 people are presumed dead, according to Gov. Andy Beshear (D).
 
He noted that the tornadoes and severe storms that hit states including Illinois, Kentucky and Arkansas were “likely to be one of the largest tornado outbreaks in our history.”

A White House readout released earlier on Friday said that he had been briefed by several White House and Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) officials regarding seven states impacted by the tornadoes and severe storms.

Biden told reporters that emergency response personnel, search-and-rescue teams, water and other supplies had already been deployed, “and FEMA’s on the ground working with each of the states to assess the damages and focus on federal support where it is needed most and how we can get there most rapidly.”

“I’ve also requested that FEMA offer additional federal resources, including help with temporary housing, where homes have been wiped out or too badly damaged to live in. And I also asked [the] FEMA Director to let the states know that they may not be aware of what they may be entitled to because they don’t necessarily know all that’s available,” the president added.   

From Friday night into Saturday morning, multiple states in the South and Midwest were hit by severe storms and tornadoes, with at least 70 dead and tens of thousands without power in Kentucky alone. Other states affected by the severe and dangerous weather conditions included Illinois, Tennessee, Missouri and Arkansas. 

Biden said during Saturday’s press conference that officials still did not know how many lives had been lost or the extent of the damage caused by the severe storms and tornadoes.

According to Accuweather, the tornadoes and severe weather storms were a result of a cold front into the Midwest that ensued following several days of warmer weather. 

Another readout by the White House said that Biden had spoken with the governors of Kentucky, Arkansas, Illinois, Missouri and Tennessee to address any needed resources in the fallout of the severe weather. Biden also confirmed on Saturday that he had also spoken with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.).

So far, the president has only approved one emergency declaration for Kentucky, but he said on Saturday that he would be ready to do the same for other states as needed. 

Beshear called the tornado conditions that swept through Kentucky during a news conference “something we have never seen before.”

“This has been one of the toughest nights in Kentucky history,” Beshear said. “Some areas have been hit in ways that are hard to put into words.

— Updated at 6:15 p.m.

Tags Andy Beshear Joe Biden Kentucky Mitch McConnell President Biden severe storms Tornadoes

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