Biden in Florida Meets Grieving Families, Rescuers, and Officials including DeSantis

President Biden was consoler-in-chief as he met with families and Florida officials in Surfside for more than three hours on Thursday.

Biden sat with DeSantis in a hotel conference room and said the federal government was resolute in its support.

“We’re not going anywhere,” Biden said.

Some families declined to meet with Biden, including one man who decided instead to take his young son a grief counselor.

“I really wish I was because I would really like to be able to talk to him about the need for comprehensive reform on a national level.” He added, “the main problems are systemic and there are millions who live in, and work in, buildings across the USA.”

Another woman said she was unhappy that the President came to the area at this time because his visit could hinder the rescue efforts, also adding, “Tell him to leave…and fast.”

Workers however were instructed to stop just after 2a.m. Thursday morning when sensors detected movement in the debris, raising concerns of further collapse and the safety of rescue efforts. A structural engineer hired by the city said high winds and storms would also be a factor in determining when rescue efforts could safely resume.

The confirmed death toll remains at 18 with 145 still unaccounted for.

Sources at CNN, also here, and Reuters