Biden addressed some families affected by the tragedy and offered his support and prayers in a private meeting.
He said, in a video uploaded to Instagram by Jacqueline Patoka. This was a close friend of a couple who have been missing for a while and their daughter. .
Biden lost his first wife and daughter in a car accident. Later, he lost his adult son to brain cancer. Few public figures can connect with grief as strongly as Biden. He has used his empathy to comfort those who have lost loved one, including the 600,000 people who died in the COVID-19 epidemic.
On Thursday, Biden spoke in a quiet voice filled with emotion. He described his despair at the fact that he had to wait to learn about the fate of his family after a tragedy like that which occurred in Surfside. Biden spent over three hours talking to grieving people, first addressing them and then moving on to the next family member to hear their stories. Biden talked about wanting to change places with a missing or lost loved one, and said that it was difficult to wait.
He told the families, "The people you might have lost -- they are gonna be with your whole life," "A piece of your soul, a piece of who you are."
Biden explained to the families that it can be more difficult to grieve in public than in private. So I know it's an additional burden on all of you.
He said, "But I promise to you: I still believe that prayer is possible." "You are in my prayers."
Spanish-language translations of his remarks were made available to the families. He encouraged them to "never lose hope" even though the search and rescue operation was halted due to structural issues in the building's remaining section.
As Biden finished his remarks, attendees could be seen in tears as he closed them. Jill, his wife, spent the next few hour visiting with the families privately. Later, he told reporters that he was impressed by the families' resilience, their absolute dedication, and willingness to do whatever it took for an answer to what had happened.
He stated that the hardest questions he was asked by his family were whether there was hope for survivors and if they could recover the bodies of their loved ones.
Biden spoke out about the car accident that left his wife and daughter dead and severely injured his sons. He said, "It's hard enough to lose someone, but the hard part is not knowing if they'll survive."
Biden responded to the worst calamity of his presidency and also met with first responders searching for survivors in the surfside rubble before he paused the search. Biden and the first lady later stopped at a memorial wall with flowers and photos of missing people and placed a bouquet beside a crayon drawing saying "I love you."
The Bidens arrived to Florida one week after the collapse of the 12-story Champlain Towers South condominium . At least 18 people were killed and 145 others were left missing. Search-and-rescue personnel and first responders have spent hours combing through the rubble looking for signs of life. Since the initial hours of the collapse, no one has been saved.
Biden stated that "this is life or death" during a briefing on the collapse. "We can do this, it's as simple as everyone doing what is necessary to make a difference.
The president stated that he believes the federal government can "pay 100%" for the cleanup and search costs and encouraged local officials to seek assistance from Washington.
Biden stated, "You all know it because a lot you have also been through it." "There will be pain, anxiety, suffering, and even psychological help over the coming months and years. We're not going anywhere.
Biden was briefed by Florida Governor about the situation. Ron DeSantis, Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava and the state's Republican senators Marco Rubio, Rick Scott were briefed on the situation. The mayor, a Democrat said that the "unprecedented and devastating disaster" was a "disastrous and he praised the efforts of all parties to overcome it. He also stated that the unified government response and the community response were "what gives us hope."
Rumored Republican 2020 presidential candidate DeSantis told Biden that cooperation has been "great," declaring that the administration had "not only been supportive on the federal level but we've also had no bureaucracy."
Biden pled federal aid and pointed out the bipartisan nature the response. He touched DeSantis's hand to emphasize the point.
Biden asked, "Do you know what's great about this?" It lets the nation know that we are willing to cooperate. This is really important."
Biden met with first responders, who worked tirelessly on the rescue effort that stretched into its second week of oppressive heat, humidity and frequent summer storms.
Biden said, "What you're doing is amazing, having to deal avec the uncertainty," and he thanked all those who had been involved with the site.
Biden stated that the cause of the collapse is still being investigated. Biden said that the National Institute of Standards and Technology sent a team of engineers and scientists to the site and launched an investigation.
The White House announced that 60 Federal Emergency Management Agency staff were deployed, along with 400 additional personnel to five search-and-rescue teams. This was at the request of local officials. FEMA also gave $20 million to the Division of Emergency Management of the state to assist with any unexpected emergency actions related to the collapse.
Biden spent the day in a hotel located about one mile from the site. The White House stressed that the White House was working closely with officials on ground to ensure that Biden’s visit did not distract from the search for survivors.
However, Biden's visit was not welcomed by everyone.
Soriya Cohen, the wife of Dr. Brad Cohen and his brother, said that "I believe it was a terrible idea to send Biden," I am certain he wanted to witness it firsthand. It's not a difficult road, but I believe he was trying to make good on his intentions.
Cohen stated that she supported Donald Trump's campaign and was concerned that Biden's visit would "take away" the attention of those still in rubble.
Cohen's daughter, Cohen, has been praying for her father's safety. Biden was moved by her story and asked to meet her. He also gave her a hug.