President Joe Biden said he wants to visit storm-battered Texas, but only if his trip doesn’t suck resources away from the state’s residents.
‘If in fact it’s concluded that I can go without creating a burden for the folks on the ground while they’re dealing with this crisis, I plan to go,’ he told reporters at the White House Friday.
Biden said he’ll make the decision ‘probably next week.’
‘It is a significant footprint for a president travel to a state, especially for a state that is still recovering from a disaster, so we are taking all of that into consideration before making specific plans,’ press secretary Jen Psaki reiterated on board Air Force One Friday.
President Joe Biden said Friday that he wanted to visit Texas, but only if his visit wouldn’t suck away resources from the state’s residents
Millions of Texans remain under a boil water order because broken pipes created low water pressure, which can lead to problematic bacteria
Bottled water was being doled out to residents in Austin, Texas on Friday, as frozen, broken water pipes have created a widespread shortage of drinkable water in the state
The president said he would sign a major disaster declaration for Texas possibly as soon as Friday afternoon.
After winter storms pummeled Texas’ powergrid, leaving millions in the dark, on Friday around 7 million Texans are still under a boil water order, as broken pipes created low water pressure, which can lead to problematic bacteria.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency is already on the ground in Texas helping with the response.
Biden spoke to Texas Gov. Greg Abbott Thursday night, releasing a photo of the president on the phone afterward.
On Friday, the White House released a list of Texas officials – mayors and judges – that the administration had been in touch with.
Some conservatives, however, were not happy with Biden’s response.
Fox News Channel’s Sean Hannity, an ally of former President Donald Trump, called out Biden for not making any public appearances Thursday, after it had snowed in Washington.
Biden delayed a planned trip to Michigan, making the trek to a Pfizer vaccine facility Friday instead.
On Thursday, the White House called a ‘lid’ at 8 a.m. – meaning the president would not be leaving the complex, nor inviting press into any of his meetings.
During the campaign, Trump and his allies would mock Biden for calling early lids – though Biden was often participating in virtual events at home, due to the coronavirus pandemic.
‘By the way, where’s our commander-in-chief, you know, the new guy?’ Hannity asked on his show Thursday night. ‘Oh, that’s right, this morning he decided to take a snow day.’
‘He took the day off in the middle of this natural disaster,’ Hannity added.
While Sean Hannity went after Biden for taking a ‘snow day’ on Thursday, a much larger political chorus was going after Texas Republican Sen. Ted Cruz, who flew to Cancun with his family amid his state’s winter weather disaster
A much larger political chorus was going after Texas Republican Sen. Ted Cruz, who decided to fly to Cancun while millions of his constituents didn’t have power or water.
Cruz flew back Thursday and admitted the brief trip was a mistake.
On a phone call with reporters, that the White House press secretary Jen Psaki held instead of an in-person briefing – again, thanks to the Thursday snow – she didn’t take the opportunity to go after Cruz.
‘Well I don’t have any updates on the exact location of Sen. Ted Cruz. Nor does anyone at the White House,’ she said when asked if the president had a reaction to reports that Cruz had gone on vacation.
‘But our focus is on working directly with leadership in Texas and the surrounding states on addressing the winter storm and the crisis at home, the many people across the state that are without power, without the resources they need,’ she continued.
‘And we expect that would be the focus of anyone in the state or the surrounding state that was elected to represent them, but I don’t have any update on his whereabouts,’ the press secretary added.
On Friday, on board Air Force One en route to Michigan, Psaki again refused to knock Cruz.
‘We’re not spending any time, energy or breath analyzing Sen Cruz’s whereabouts or his group chat,’ she told reporters then.