President Joe Biden personally went to Surfside, Florida to visit the site where a condo building collapsed and left 18 people dead and more than a hundred still unaccounted for.
Senators Marco Rubio and Rick Scott accompanied the president who spent three hours meeting and conversing with the victims’ families. Along with the first lady, the president also headed to a makeshift memorial site near the building and looked through the photos and signs.
The president delivered a short message, assuring that the federal government, the state and the local authorities are exerting all its efforts to help.
“All those folks are risking their lives to save lives, but also holding out hope that those will be found. Hope springs eternal,” Biden said.
In an interview, the president shared to reporters that he had met a woman whose husband and son were lost in the collapse. He also shared a moment with a family that lost their cousins, brothers and sisters — nearly everyone in the family. Biden was able to connect with the grieving families as he also experienced losing his first wife, as well as his two children.
“They’re praying and pleading, that God, let there be a miracle. Let there be something happen with me that’s good. Because I have like many of you do, some idea what it’s like to suffer that kind of loss that so many of them are suffering,” Biden said.
The president told reporters that the families, who also saw the site, have “realistic” expectations on the results of the rescue.
“They know that the chances are, as each day goes by, diminished slightly,” he said. “But at a minimum, at a minimum, they want to recover the bodies. They want to recover the bodies.”
Still, the president said the worst part is the uncertainty they feel whether their family members have managed to survive, CBS News reported.
“When the accident took my wife, my family, the hardest part was — were my boys going to get out? Were they going to make it? And not knowing,” he said.