Remarks by President Biden on the Surfside Rental Collapse

St. Regis Lodge
Surfside, Florida

4:29 P.M. EDT
THE PRESIDENT:  Good afternoon, folks.  Enable me start by indicating that the degree of cooperation in between community, point out, and federal officials down right here has been amazing. 
I want to thank our FEMA Director for foremost this national energy.   But Governor DeSantis, Senators Rubio and Scott, Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, and Mayor Cava –- Cava — they’ve been — they’ve all cooperated in techniques that I have not witnessed in a extensive time.  And it is truly a testomony to — to what’s — how hard matters are down below.  And it’s what, fairly frankly, we miss a lot.  You know, we all — we have all been doing the job in tandem from the minute we bought the information of the collapse of the creating. 
And I imagine my colleagues will inform you we slice by the bureaucracy.  The one — the a single purchase I gave federal folks was, “No paperwork.  Just lower by means of it.  Get to regardless of what they will need.”
That is why we’ve resolved to go over, for illustration, 100 percent of the research-and-rescue fees for the to start with 30 times.  Not completed often but vital right here, in my check out. 
And FEMA is likely to deliver temporary housing and other urgent requirements for the survivors.  The State Office is expedi- — expediting visas for family members users from other nations around the world — and there are from Latin The us, South The usa, Europe, Israel.
And I want to give a special shout-out to the initially responders — International Association of Firefighters, one of the greatest companies in the country.  And I specifically want to thank the president.  Ed came down from Boston, and he’s in this article with the whole — with the complete team. 
You know, these people are — these individuals are always displaying up, no matter what.  They are jeopardizing their life.  You know, there’s that previous expression.  I know, the push that travels with me is tired of listening to me declaring it, but I’m not fatigued of declaring it.  And that is — that outdated expression — “God made person.  Then he built a couple of firefighters.”  They are remarkable, impressive people today.  There is generally — they are often jeopardizing their life to conserve life, as effectively as the police and other initially responders.  I obtained to meet up with with a complete bunch of them. 
And we are capable to deploy just about 500 personnel, such as five other search-and-rescue groups on the ground today listed here because of — our FEMA Director purchased it.
     I want to compliment FEMA and, I may well insert, all all those individuals who are risking their life to preserve lives, but also holding out hope that others will be identified.  Hope springs eternal.
     When I talked to these 1st responders, I pointed out that they’re underneath a great deal of strain and we ought to take advantage — they should just take benefit of the mental wellness amenities that are likely to be accessible.  Simply because, you know, we talk about our military struggling from put up-traumatic strain.  Properly, looking at what they’re observing and carrying out what they are undertaking, knowledge how — how substantially trauma is involved, I just do not want them considering that they should really stroll absent from assistance if it is required.  You know, they stand collectively, and it’s really spectacular. 
And there’s also the need, in addition to condition and neighborhood assistance, to determine the result in of this collapse — and the adjacent structures, how secure they are.
There are two exceptional issues.  First, the remaining structures might collapse — the remainder of the making may well collapse.  We need to have to decide if it is risk-free for first responders to return to the internet site to continue on their rescue mission. 
That is becoming carried out right now.  And that’s why I asked the National Institute of Benchmarks and Technologies — NIST — to examine, to see if it is protected to go again and what triggered the making to collapse in the first position.  Simply because we’re fully commited not only to recuperate, but to restore the basic safety across the board. 
But the other explanation I came down was to fulfill with the people.  The total country is mourning with these families.  They see it every day on television.  They’re heading by means of hell.  And those who’ve survived the collapse, as very well as people who are lacking liked types.
I understand I’m a little late mainly because I used a great deal of time with the households — a entire great deal of time.  And I apologize for having so long to get right here, due to the fact I considered it was important to converse to each and every solitary individual who needed to converse to me.  So, soon after what you all lined when I opened up the — the meeting, I expended the remainder of the time, and I — and this sort of unbelievable individuals. 
I sat with a single female who experienced just misplaced her — her partner and her small newborn boy didn’t know what to do.  I sat with a different family members that lost almost the total family members: cousins, brothers, sisters.  And to view them and to — the — they’re praying and pleading that, “God, permit there be a wonder.  Let them be one thing come about for me that’s very good.” 
Simply because I have, like lots of of you do, some thought what it’s like to endure that sort of reduction so quite a few of them are suffering. 
You know, they had primary heart-wrenching concerns: “Will I be in a position to recuperate the human body of my son or daughter, my partner, my cousin, my mother and dad?  How can I have closure without the need of currently being in a position to bury them if I really do not get the human body?  What do I do?”
Jill and I wanted them to know that we’re with them and the region is with them.  Our message these days is that we’re right here for you, as just one nation.  As a person nation.  And that is the message we communicated. 
We’ll be in touch with a ton of these people continuing by this approach.  But there is significantly extra to be completed.  We’re prepared to do it. 
And all over again, I thank the governor, I thank my colleagues, my — Senator Scott and Senator Rubio, I thank Debbie Wasserman Schultz for their overall, complete cooperation.  There’s no — there is no disagreement, no bickering.  All people is on the identical workforce.  It is what The usa is all about.  It’s about pulling together, leaving nobody guiding.  And which is what made me come to feel — the one particular issue that produced me truly feel fantastic about this is the — is a cohesion that exists.  There’s no Democrat or Republican out there they’re just people seeking to do the correct point for their fellow Us residents. 
So, may well God bless the victims and their family members.  And may possibly God shield our 1st responders. 
And I’ll choose a pair questions suitable now. 
Q    Mr. President, what were being you informed now about the chance — you explained, “Hope springs eternal” — but that any individual will be in a position to be pulled out alive from this?  And what had been you equipped to convey to the families about that chance?
THE PRESIDENT:  Effectively, look, initially of all, the people are extremely reasonable.  They know the lengthier it goes — and just one of the factors that the community FEMA personnel as effectively as the community very first responders did is they took all of the families to the web page to see — to see what it seemed like up close.  And they’re all realists.  They all search, and they see those people floors just practically toes — cement on cement upon cement. 
You know, I — when I talked to some of the people, some of the individuals who did escape, survived, and got out, they talked about looking at the constructing collapse and watching as they have been in the garage — just one floor arrive down — practically a whole flooring on major of an additional flooring.  They know that the chances are, as just about every working day goes by, diminished marginally.
But at a minimal — at a minimum amount — they want to recover the bodies.  They want to get better the bodies.  There’s a great deal of incredibly spiritual people who are in there.  Members of the — the rabbis in the Jewish community ended up chatting about the want to make guaranteed that they get well the physique and be able to bury them.  Give them — and, you know, the — anyway. 
So, I think they’re incredibly practical, Mike.  But — but I don’t feel that that, in any way, implies that it is too — that we need to cease.  I assume that we need to shift on, continue to try to get better the bodies.
In the meantime, that’s why NIST and many others are analyzing no matter whether or not it is protected to send the initially responders again.  When they’d questioned me about this, I’d stage out that the very last point they would want and we would want is, in the procedure of making an attempt to get well — and the probability — there is even now a probability an individual could be alive, somebody could nevertheless be respiration, somebody could be there — that the final issue you want to have occur is have that constructing collapse and get rid of 10, 20, 30, 50 firefighters or wound them, or very first responders.
So — but Mike, they’re — you know, they are real looking.  I — it just introduced again so quite a few — so lots of reminiscences.  It is undesirable sufficient — it’s negative plenty of to eliminate any person.  But the really hard element — the seriously really hard element is to not know no matter whether they’re surviving or not — just not have any plan.
When the incident took my spouse and my spouse and children, the most difficult section was: Had been my boys heading to get out?  Are they likely to make it?  And not figuring out.  Not knowing, when you’re traveling property from Washington to get the information.  You know, you just really don’t know.  So, it’s —
But I was astonished — as you know, sad to say, I have completed a good deal of these situations where by I’ve satisfied with family members who have had wonderful decline.  And what amazed me about this group of people today was the resilience and their absolute determination, their willingness to do whichever it took to locate — to discover an reply.  I walked absent impressed by their energy.  And —
And Nancy, Bloomberg — do you have a concern? 
Q    Yeah —
THE PRESIDENT:  I was informed. 
Q    Oh, thank you.  Yeah.  What did you find out, if everything, about the collapse of the constructing?  Is there nearly anything extra you acquired from investigators or the FEMA directors (inaudible)?
THE PRESIDENT:  No, it’s underway.  I really do not — and the director of FEMA is with me listed here.  We really do not have any company proof of what’s happened.  There’s all varieties of rational speculation about whether or not the rebars are — had been — had been rusted whether or not or not the cement — whether it was limestone or not whether or not —
But a large amount of the — a lot the people who survived talked about how upset they had been that, in the past years that they’ve been below, how there was a single condominium sophisticated crafted throughout the road and a highway was ordered.  And although they have been residing there, they would hear the drilling and they’d feel their constructing moving and shaking. 
There are all forms of conversations about no matter whether or not they considered that drinking water degree increasing — what impact it had.  And appealing to me — I didn’t increase it — but how quite a few of the survivors and how many of the households talked about the effects of world-wide warming.  How a great deal — and they didn’t know particularly, but they talked about sea degrees mounting and about how — how there have been — and — and the combination of that and the issue about incoming storm — incoming tropical storms. 
And so — but I never think there is, at this issue, any definitive judgment as to why it collapsed and what can be done to avert it from occurring and what other buildings could have to be inspected to identify if they have the identical challenges. 
I’m meant to head out and catch up with the governor.  So I want to thank you all for having the time. 
Q    Mr. President, can we request you about two issues away from exactly where we are now?  The 1st is: While you have been speaking, a prime associate of the previous President has been in a New York court docket, pleading not responsible to a variety of economical costs.  Do you have a response to that? 
And secondarily, if I can, does the Supreme Court’s ruling these days on an essential voting rights determination incorporate to the feeling of urgency you really feel about pursuing voting legal rights legislation at this time?
THE PRESIDENT:  I know nothing about the initial circumstance mainly because I have been long gone.  I don’t have any idea, so I’m not going to comment on that.  And even if I did, I wouldn’t remark on an ongoing situation if it’s an ongoing scenario. 
With regard to the second place: I feel I did get a summary on the way down on the airplane of the Supreme Court choice.  It is mildly optimistic, in the perception that there’s a remedy available dependent on the unique voting selection. 
I think that it is crucial that we make a distinction involving voter suppression and suspension.  The capability of a point out legislative overall body to arrive alongside and vote — their legislature — vote to change who is declared the winner, I find to be relatively astounding. 
But the Supreme Courtroom rule did not rule that way right now, to the best of my awareness.  And — but I’ll have significantly a lot more to say about that simply because I strategy on talking extensively on voting legal rights and — as effectively as likely on the road on this concern. 
So thank you all quite substantially. 

4:44 P.M. EDT