President Joe Biden and Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis held a joint press conference Thursday to discuss rescue efforts for the Surfside condominium collapse.
Both leaders praised the local and national response to the collapse. DeSantis declared a state of emergency June 24, the same day that the Champlain Towers South condominium complex collapsed. Biden dispatched Federal Emergency Management Association (FEMA) aid to coordinate disaster relief efforts June 25. More than 140 people remain missing in the rubble, and 18 have been confirmed dead.
Appearing beside DeSantis and Democratic Miami-Dade Mayor Daniella Levine Cava, Biden told reporters that “talking here like we are now, coming together” is “what is really important.” (RELATED: Biden Says He’ll Go To Surfside, Florida, Following Building Collapse)
“This is life-and-death. I just got back from 12 days in Europe. They wonder whether or not we can do this. You are doing it. Just simple acts of everybody doing whatever needs to be done, it really makes a difference,” Biden said.
Levine Cava thanked Biden for offering “whatever we need. I said bring FEMA and here they are. It has been an incredible collaboration from the beginning with the federal and with the state. We had our Florida emergency management director. The governor has been here every single day.”
“We all know this is a devastating disaster unlike anyone has ever seen. The fact that we have all come together is what gives us hope, strength, inspiration,” she continued.
DeSantis praised Biden for “recognizing the severity of this tragedy and [being] very supportive.”
“The cooperation has been great. Both the municipal and the county have been fantastic. You guys have not only been supportive, but we have had no bureaucracy. When dealing with FEMA we are getting requests routed from local, state, and federal in no time.”
A search and rescue team from Virginia is also expected to aid local first-responders, DeSantis added.
Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett also sent an Israeli Defense Forces search-and-rescue team to help in the aftermath of the collapse.
“We are thankful for the support and we do appreciate the collaboration from local, state, and federal. What we need now is a little bit of luck, a little bit of prayer. We would like to be able to see some miracles happen,” DeSantis said.