President Biden visited the site of the Champlain Towers South building in Surfside, Fla. (a suburb of Miami) on Thursday just as local authorities were calling off the search of the rubble, which had been ongoing for a week, despite the fact that more than 140 people are still missing.
While some questioned why Biden was being allowed to visit with so many still missing, the president managed to (as he often does) stick his foot in his mouth during a press conference where he was flanked by local leaders.
“You know what’s good about this? It lets the nation know we can cooperate...that’s really important,” says President Biden during a briefing with Florida Gov. DeSantis on the Surfside building collapse— Daily Caller (@DailyCaller) July 1, 2021
"You know what's good about this?" Biden said during the briefing.
"It let's the nation know we can operate when it's really important."
Biden added that "I just got back from 12 days in Europe. You wounder whether we can do this. And you're doing it. I mean, just the smile act of everybody doing whatever needs to be done."
While 18 bodies have been pulled from the rubble, with so many still missing, Biden's remark about doing "whatever needs to be done" rang eerily hollow.
Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis, who was sitting to Biden’s right during the briefing, thanked the president for the federal support provided to the rescue operation, which was in its 8th day when it was paused Thursday.
"This is your show. We just want to make sure [you have] whatever you need," DeSantis told Biden.
During a brief pep talk with police and emergency responders, Biden said "I just wanted to say thank you. Thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you" before reportedly veering off topic, according to the New York Post. Biden is expected to meet privately with the family members of victims Thursday afternoon before returning to the White House.