Psaki says Biden won’t visit Miami-area building collapse and supports an investigation

jen psaki
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki holds the daily press briefing in the Brady Press Briefing Room at the White House in Washington, DC, June 28, 2021.

  • Biden does not plan to travel to the area of the Florida building collapse, Psaki said.
  • The trip would divert local resources away from ongoing rescue efforts, she added.
  • The White House has sent federal assistance to state and local officials.
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President Joe Biden doesn’t plan to visit the area of a collapsed Florida building as the trip would divert local resources away from ongoing rescue efforts, according to White House press secretary Jen Psaki.

“We always want to ensure that we’re not pulling from local resources. We don’t want to draw resources that are needed in the ongoing search and rescue operations and efforts,” Psaki told reporters during a news conference on Monday. “We will remain in close contact with officials on the ground.”

The White House has provided state and local officials with federal assistance to help respond to last Thursday’s partial collapse of a 12-story residential building in Surfside, Florida, just outside of Miami.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency and US Army Corps of Engineers have deployed teams to assist with search and rescue operations, incident management and debris removal, Psaki said. FEMA is also coordinating with state and local officials to open a family assistance center and provide communications support, she continued.

Psaki reiterated that FEMA Administrator Deanne Criswell traveled to the state to meet with Gov. Ron DeSantis and briefed Biden on the scene. The president on Sunday said the update was “excruciating” to hear and that his administration is ready to provide any necessary relief.

“This is an unimaginably difficult time for the families enduring this tragedy,” Biden said. “For those who are waiting in anguish for word of their loved ones as search and rescue efforts continue in the aftermath of this catastrophic incident, the pain of the uncertainty is an added, heartbreaking burden. My heart goes out to every single person suffering during this awful moment.”

Psaki also said that Biden supports an investigation into the partial collapse of the 40-year-old condo building, which has left at least 10 people dead, as of Monday afternoon. Over 150 people remain missing.

“The goal of course is to get to the bottom of what happened and of course have it be an instructive guide of how to prevent it from happening in the future,” Psaki said.

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Miami-Dade County mayor says officials authorized ‘voluntary evacuation’ for sister building of collapsed Miami condo

Mayor Daniella Levine Cava of Miami-Dade County speaks to the media after a Miami condo partially collapsed.
Daniella Levine Cava, Mayor of Miami-Dade County speaks to reporters a block west of where the rescue personnel continue their search for victims the day after a partial building collapse in Surfside near Miami Beach, Florida, U.S.

  • Residents of the sister building of the partially collapsed Florida condo, Champlain Towers South, can voluntarily evacuate.
  • “Anyone who chooses to leave can be supported,” Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava said.
  • A local building inspector determined that there’s no “immediate causes of concern,” Cava added.
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Residents who want to evacuate the sister building of the condominium in Surfside, Florida, that partially collapsed last week can do so with support, Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava said.

“So just the building that is the sister building to the one that came down, that is the one that Surfside has authorized for voluntary evacuation,” Cava said in an interview on “Meet the Press” on Sunday morning about people who reside in the Champlain Towers North.

“And yes, anyone who chooses to leave can be supported. It’s also true that the town building inspector went and did not find any immediate causes of concern,” Cava continued.

At least five people are confirmed dead, and about 156 people are still unaccounted for after the partial collapse of Champlain Towers South. Following multiple reports that revealed that the 12-story condo built-in 1981 had “major structural damage,” concerns were raised about its sister building, as local news reported.

“Champlain Towers North is basically the same building as Champlain Towers South. It was built about the same time, it was built by the same developer, it was probably built with the same plans, it was probably built with the same materials,” Surfside Mayor Gary Burkett said, CBS Miami reported. “Given that we cannot determine what made Champlain South fall down it’s understandable that they’re nervous.”

President Joe Biden greenlit an emergency declaration for Florida which “authorizes the Department of Homeland Security, FEMA, to coordinate all disaster relief efforts” and provide resources.

“Not only the state of Florida has been here in force, but the president, on the morning of the disaster, called to offer all possible assistance, and by the end of that day, we had FEMA approval,” Cava added during the interview. “So, we’re working super hard to get everything we need, and we have not lacked any support as well as support from around the world.”

At a press conference on Saturday, Cava announced she is directing an audit “of all of the buildings at the 40-year point and beyond” and “make sure that every building has completed their re-certification process.”

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