President Biden was in Houston, the place he frolicked on the Harris Co. EOC, Houston Meals Financial institution and NRG Park.
HOUSTON — President Joe Biden heard firsthand from Texans clobbered by this month’s brutal winter climate on Friday and pledged to stay with them “for the lengthy haul” as he made his first journey to a significant catastrophe space since he took workplace.
Biden was briefed by emergency officers and thanked staff for doing “God’s work.” He promised the federal authorities shall be there for Texans as they attempt to recuperate, not simply from the historic storm but additionally the general public well being and financial disaster attributable to the coronavirus pandemic.
“When a disaster hits our states, just like the one which hit Texas, it’s not a Republican or Democrat that’s hurting,” Biden mentioned. “It is our fellow People which are hurting and it is out job to assist everybody in want.”
With tens of hundreds of Houston space residents with out secure water, native officers advised Biden that many are nonetheless struggling. Whereas he was briefed, first girl Jill Biden joined an meeting line of volunteers packing bins of fast oats, juice, and different meals on the Houston Meals Financial institution, the place he arrived later.
The president’s first cease was the Harris County Emergency Operations Heart for a briefing from performing FEMA Administrator Bob Fenton and state and native emergency administration officers.
Texas was hit notably exhausting by the Valentine’s weekend storm that battered a number of states. Unusually frigid circumstances led to widespread energy outages and frozen pipes that burst and flooded properties. Hundreds of thousands of residents misplaced warmth and operating water.
A minimum of 40 folks in Texas died because of the storm and, though the climate has returned to extra regular temperatures, greater than 1 million residents are nonetheless beneath orders to boil water earlier than consuming it.
“The president has made very clear to us that in crises like this, it’s our obligation to prepare immediate and competent federal assist to Americans, and we’ve to make sure that forms and politics don’t stand in the way in which,” mentioned Homeland Safety Adviser Liz Sherwood-Randall, who accompanied Biden to Houston.
Biden was joined for a lot of his go to by Gov. Greg Abbott and Sen. John Cornyn, each Republicans, 4 Democratic Houston-area members of Congress and Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner and Harris County Choose Lina Hidalgo.
The president additionally stopped by a mass coronavirus vaccination heart at NRG Stadium that’s run by the federal authorities. Biden on Thursday commemorated the 50 millionth COVID-19 vaccination since he took workplace, midway towards his purpose of 100 million photographs by his 100th day in workplace. That celebration adopted a second of silence to mark the passage earlier this week of 500,000 U.S. deaths blamed on the illness.
Democrat Biden prompt that he and Republicans Abbott and Cornyn might discover frequent trigger in getting People vaccinated as shortly as potential.
“We disagree on loads of issues,” Biden mentioned. “There’s nothing incorrect with that, however there are many issues we are able to work on collectively. And one in all them is represented proper right here right now, the trouble to hurry up vaccinations.”
Texas’ different U.S. senator, Ted Cruz, an ally of former President Donald Trump and one in all a handful of GOP lawmakers who had objected to Congress certifying Biden’s victory, was in Florida Friday addressing the Conservative Political Motion Convention.
Cruz, who has been criticized for taking his household to Cancun, Mexico, whereas hundreds of thousands of Texans shivered in unheated properties, later mentioned the journey was a mistake, however he made gentle of the controversy on Friday. “Orlando is superior,” he mentioned to laughs and hoots. “It’s not as good as Cancun. However’s good.”
On the peak of the storm, greater than 1.Four million residents had been with out energy and three.5 million had been beneath boil-water notices within the nation’s third largest county.
Put up-storm debate in Texas has centered on the state sustaining its personal electrical grid and its lack of higher storm preparation, together with weatherization of key infrastructure. Some state officers initially blamed the blackouts on renewable vitality although Texas depends closely on oil and gasoline.
In Washington, Biden’s local weather adviser mentioned the lethal winter storm was a “wake-up name” for america to construct vitality methods that may stand up to excessive climate linked to local weather change.
“We want methods of vitality which are dependable and resilient,” Gina McCarthy mentioned in an interview with The Related Press.
The White Home mentioned Biden’s goal in visiting was to assist, not scold.
Biden was bent on asking Texans “what do you want, how can I provide help to extra,” White Home press secretary Jen Psaki mentioned. “And what can we get extra for you from the federal authorities.”
Biden has declared a significant catastrophe in Texas and requested federal businesses to determine extra assets to assist the restoration. The Federal Emergency Administration Company has despatched emergency mills, bottled water, ready-to-eat meals and blankets.
Galveston County Choose Mark Henry mentioned in an interview that he did not know what extra the federal authorities might do to assist as a result of the failures had been on the state degree. However Henry, a Republican who’s the best county official within the suburban Houston county, mentioned that if Biden “thinks it is necessary to go to, then come on down.”
Biden wished to make the journey final week, however mentioned on the time that he held again as a result of he didn’t need his presence and entourage to detract from the restoration effort.
Houston additionally was the vacation spot for Trump’s first presidential go to to a catastrophe space in 2017 after Hurricane Harvey triggered catastrophic flooding that August.
Trump, who isn’t recognized for shows of empathy, didn’t meet with storm victims on the go to. He returned 4 days later and urged individuals who had relocated to a shelter to “have an excellent time.”
UPDATES OF PRESIDENT AND FIRST LADY’S VISIT
6 p.m. President Biden and First Woman Dr. Jill Biden departed Ellington for his or her flight again to Andrews.
5:30 p.m.: President Biden spoke from the FEMA vaccination web site at NRG Park,detailing efforts of constant to sluggish the unfold of COVID and what’s being performed with vaccines. His tackle got here moments after an advisory board pushed Johnson & Johnson’s single-dose vaccine one step cloesr to approva.
4:15 p.m. President Biden has arrived at NRG Park to tour the FEMA vaccine distribution heart. He’ll communicate shortly.
3:55 p.m. The final cease earlier than returnin to Ellington Discipline for President Biden shall be NRG Park to see the Houston vaccination heart. Safety is making ready for him to reach.
2:57 p.m. Whereas on the Houston Meals Financial institution, President Biden and First Woman Dr. Jill Biden visited with volunteers. The Meals Financial institution has been important in serving to folks in want following final week’s winter storm.
2:10 p.m. – President Biden meets up with the First Woman on the Houston Meals Financial institution.
1:30 p.m. – Harris County Choose Lina Hidalgo, Mayor Turner and different native officers temporary President Biden on the winter storm affect on the Harris County Emergency Operations Heart.
1:24 p.m. – Cecilia Abbott, First Woman of Texas, helps Dr. Jill Biden pack meals on the Houston Meals Financial institution.
1:15 p.m. – First Woman Dr. Jill Biden arrives at Houston Meals Financial institution. The primary girl will tour the constructing in addition to assist pack meals for residents in want.
1 p.m. – President Biden arrives at Harris County Emergency Operations Heart.
12:39 p.m. – Mayor Sylvester Turner greets President Biden in true Texas style, carrying a cowboy hat in honor of Go Texan Day.
12:23 p.m. – President Biden and Dr. Jill Biden are greeted by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, Congresswoman Shelia Jackson Lee, Congressman Al Inexperienced, Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner and Harris County Choose Lina Hidalgo as quickly as they stroll off Air Pressure One.
12:09 p.m. – President Biden and First Woman Dr. Jill Biden arrive in Houston. KHOU 11 was there as Air Pressure One landed at Ellington Airport.
12:08 p.m. – Protestors are outdoors the Houston Meals Financial institution. KHOU 11 Reporter Melissa Correa mentioned one group is spotlighting the bloodbath that occurred in Ethiopia’s Tigray that left lots of lifeless and one other group is Trump supporters.
11:58 a.m. – Though President Biden is anticipated to go to Houston’s FEMA mass vaccination web site right now, enterprise will nonetheless go on as normal. The location plans on administering 6,000 photographs right now.
11:46 a.m. – KHOU 11 crews are arrange throughout Houston awaiting President Biden and the First Woman’s arrival.
11:35 a.m. – Houston SPCA workers stood throughout the road from Harris County’s Emergency Operations Heart as Biden’s motorcade drove by. They held up indicators campaigning for the president so as to add a “first cat” to the household.
RELATED: Houston SPCA campaigns for Bidens to ‘paws’ and undertake a rescue cat or canine
9:30 a.m. – Whereas in Houston, President Biden will meet with Gov. Greg Abbott, Sen. John Cornyn, Harris County Choose Lina Hidalgo, Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner, Rep. Sylvia Garcia, Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, Rep. Al Inexperienced, Rep, Lizzie Fletcher
9:15 a.m. – President Joe Biden and First Woman Dr. Jill Biden departed from Joint Base Andrews for Houston.
7:30 a.m. – Houston Police Chief Artwork Acevedo mentioned vacationers ought to anticipate site visitors delays beginning at midday and into the night hours as a result of Bidens’ go to. There shall be a big police presence primarily close to the 610 Loop. Verify dwell site visitors
6:30 a.m. – KHOU Reporter Brandi Smith was dwell at Ellington on #HTownRush. That is the place President Biden and First Woman Dr. Jill Biden will arrive later right now.
6 a.m. – We’re looking again at previous presidential visits to Houston. Click on right here to learn extra.