Biden to travel to collapsed Florida building on Thursday

Joe biden jill biden
President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden walk on the south lawn of White House on June 27, 2021 in Washington, DC. The Bidens and staffers spent the weekend at Camp David. Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images
  • President Joe Biden will travel to the site of a collapsed Florida building on Thursday.
  • First lady Jill Biden will accompany him on the trip.
  • The visit will come a week after a section of the building collapsed.
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President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden will travel to the site of a collapsed 12-story building in Surfside, Florida on Thursday, the White House announced Tuesday.

The trip will come a week after a section of the 40-year-old building collapsed, which has left at least 11 people dead and 150 missing as of Tuesday. The announcement comes a day after White House press secretary Jen Psaki said that Biden did not have plans to visit the area.

Biden earlier this week said that he would provide any necessary federal relief to help respond to what’s being seen as one of the worst accidental building collapses in US history. The Federal Emergency Management Agency has deployed teams to assist state and local officials with ongoing search and rescue operations.

“This is an unimaginably difficult time for the families enduring this tragedy,” Biden said in a statement on Sunday. “For those who are waiting in anguish for word of their loved ones as search and rescue efforts continue in the aftermath of this catastrophic incident, the pain of the uncertainty is an added, heartbreaking burden. My heart goes out to every single person suffering during this awful moment.”

The president supports an investigation into the collapse, Psaki told reporters on Tuesday, as the cause still remains unknown.

Several reports documenting problems with the building have emerged over the past five days.

In an April 9 letter obtained by USA Today on Monday, Jean Wodnicki, president of the building’s association, warned that the basement garage’s conditions had “gotten significantly worse” since an inspection around two and a half years before.

According to accounts from people who have previously worked at and lived in the building, the basement garage would regularly flood, which may have been a factor that led to the collapse.