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Tags: biden | surfside | families | first responders

Biden to Meet With Families of Condo Collapse Victims

joe biden and jill biden walk out of white house
President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden make their way to board Marine One before departing from the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, D.C., on July 1, 2021. (MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images)

By    |   Thursday, 01 July 2021 08:01 AM EDT

President Joe Biden will meet on Thursday in Surfside, Florida, with families affected by the deadly partial collapse of a condominium building.

At least 18 people died when a portion of the 12-story Champlain Towers South came down. As many as 145 people remained unaccounted for, ABC News reported.

Biden and first lady Jill Biden are expected to go to the scene of the disaster in the morning to meet with search and rescue teams and first responders in a show of support. According to ABC News, they will meet with families of the victims in the afternoon.

"They want to thank the heroic first responders, search and rescue teams, and everyone who has been working tirelessly around the clock, and meet with the families who have been forced to endure this terrible tragedy waiting in anguish and heartbreak for word of their loved ones, to offer them comfort as search and rescue efforts continue," White House press secretary Jen Psaki said. "And they want to make sure that state and local officials have the resources and support they need under the emergency declaration.

But one family says the Bidens shouldn't come. They fear it will take time away from the search, according to Local 10 television in Miami.

"We are concerned that the president's visit will delay the search," said Ezzy Wasserman, whose in-laws, Tzvi and Itty Ainsworth, remain missing. "And we can't delay the search for even a minute."

Chana Wasserman, the Ainsworth's daughter, added: "They are survivors and we believe that they will survive this. It's a tremendous deal. It's their lives. It's our lives. It's everything for us."

Officials insist Biden's visit will not disrupt search efforts, but the family said that's not possible.

"I think every second matters, and I believe we are going to find our parents and we believe that we are going to wind up living with them," Chana Wasserman said.

Meanwhile, The Hill noted the presidential visit poses a political test for Biden and Florida's Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis, who could end up facing each other in a race for the White House in 2024. The two are scheduled to meet in Surfside. 

"The fact that the governor of the affected state may very well turn out to be the leading candidate for the Republican presidential nomination is just a fact and it's not a simplifying fact, it's a complicating fact," William Galston, senior fellow at the Brooking Institution's governance studies program is quoted in The Hill.

"But I think there are incentives on both sides for the president of the United States and the governor of Florida to be seen as setting aside current and future political differences and doing what is right for the people who have been so affected by this."

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President Joe Biden will meet on Thursday in Surfside, Florida, with families affected by the deadly partial collapse of a condominium building. At least 18 people died when a portion of the 12-story Champlain Towers South came down...
biden, surfside, families, first responders
463
2021-01-01
Thursday, 01 July 2021 08:01 AM
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