Video captured the uncomfortable moment Vice President Kamala Harris was forced to remind President Joe Biden of the
disaster that struck in Surfside, Florida, on Thursday.
A multistory building in the seaside town
partially collapsed in the early hours of Thursday morning, killing at least four people. Officials fear the worst with regard to at least 159 people who were reportedly inside the building at the time of the collapse and who remain missing at the time of this reporting.
What are the details?
During a Thursday White House event, Biden delivered remarks on the country’s infrastructure and more and attempted to wrap up the remarks when Harris approached him and appeared to whisper a reminder about the Florida disaster.
“Florida, yeah,” Harris is heard saying in the video, according to a Friday report from the
New York Post.
Biden responded, “Oh, yes. I apologize. Yes, thank you, Madam Vice President.”
He then segued into a brief discussion of the disaster, promising the state any federal funds should Florida request it and added that he was awaiting such a request from Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R).
“We are on top of it,” the president insisted. “We are ready to move, from the federal resources, immediately — immediately, if, in fact, we’re asked for it.”
He continued, “FEMA is down there taking a look at what’s needed, including from, everything from — if the rest of those buildings have to be evacuated as well, finding housing for those people, making sure they have the capacity to both have a place to — to shelter, and food to eat, et cetera.”
“I made it clear that I say to the people of Florida, whatever help you want that the federal government can provide, we’re waiting,” he promised. “Just ask us; we’ll be there. We’ll be there.”
Later Thursday afternoon, the Miami Herald reported that DeSantis declared a state of emergency for Miami-Dade County, which enabled federal rescue, housing, and financial assistance.
Read more here:
President Biden Delivers Remarks on the Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal
In video obtained by local Florida media outlets, the building can be seen appearing to collapse from the top down, beginning near the center of the building and working outward to the right.
The cause of the collapse remains unknown at the time of this reporting. According to previous reporting, at least 55 units in the northwest corner of the building were impacted by the collapse.
JUST IN: Video I’ve obtained of the building collapse in Surfside, Florida. https://t.co/BGbRC7iSI9
— Andy Slater (@Andy Slater)1624540712.0
Time on Friday reported that Surfside Mayor Charles Burkett said that the building is “literally pancaked.”
“That is heartbreaking because it doesn’t mean, to me, that we are going to be as successful as we wanted to be in finding people alive,” he added.
Time’s report added, “Hours after the collapse, searchers were trying to reach a trapped child whose parents were believed to be dead. In another case, rescuers saved a mother and child, but the woman’s leg had to be amputated to remove her from the rubble.”
Florida Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis, the state’s fire marshal, added that he was heartbroken after seeing a photo of a bunk bed teetering on the very edge of the destruction.
“Somebody was probably sleeping in it,” he said. “There’s all those what-ifs.”