Biden surveys flood damage in Kentucky, pledges more US help

Aug 7, 2022, 9:16 PM | Updated: Aug 8, 2022, 10:03 pm
President Joe Biden tours a neighborhood impacted by flooding, Monday, Aug. 8, 2022, in Lost Creek,...

President Joe Biden tours a neighborhood impacted by flooding, Monday, Aug. 8, 2022, in Lost Creek, Ky. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

(AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

LOST CREEK, Ky. (AP) — President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden on Monday witnessed the damage from deadly and devastating storms that have resulted in the worst flooding in Kentucky’s history, as they visited the state to meet with families and first responders.

At least 37 people have died since last month’s deluge, which dropped 8 to 10-1/2 inches of rain in only 48 hours. Gov. Andy Beshear told Biden that authorities expect to add at least one other death to the total. The National Weather Service said Sunday that flooding remains a threat, warning of more thunderstorms through Thursday.

The president said the nation has an obligation to help all its people, declaring the federal government would provide support until residents were back on their feet. Behind him as he spoke was a single-story house that the storm had dislodged and then left littered on the ground, tilted sideways.

“We have the capacity to do this — it’s not like it’s beyond our control,” Biden said. “We’re staying until everybody’s back to where they were.”

In the summer heat and humidity, Biden’s button-down shirt was covered in sweat. Pacing with a microphone in his hand, he eschewed formal remarks as he pledged to return once the community was rebuilt.

“The bad news for you is I’m coming back, because I want to see it,” the president said.

The Bidens were greeted warmly by Beshear and his wife, Britainy, when they arrived in eastern Kentucky. They immediately drove to see devastation from the storms in Breathitt County, stopping at the site of where a school bus, carried by floodwaters, was crashed into a partially collapsed building.

Beshear said the flooding was “unlike anything we’ve ever seen” in the state and credited Biden with swiftly approving federal assistance.

He praised responders who “have moved heaven and earth to get where we are, what, about nine days from when this hit,” he said.

Attending a briefing on the flooding’s impact with first responders and recovery specialists at Marie Roberts Elementary School in Lost Creek, Biden told a delegation of Kentucky leaders that he would do whatever was necessary to help.

“I promise you, if it’s legal, we’ll do it,” he said. “And if it’s not legal, we’ll figure out how to change the law.”

The president emphasized that politics have no place in disaster response, noting his frequent political battles with Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky. “We battle all the times on issues,” Biden said, but in helping Kentuckians rebuild, “we’re all one team.”

Monday’s trip is Biden’s second to the state since taking office last year. He previously visited in December after tornadoes whipped through Kentucky, killing 77 people and leaving a trail of destruction.

“I wish I could tell you why we keep getting hit here in Kentucky,” Beshear said recently. “I wish I could tell you why areas where people may not have much continue to get hit and lose everything. I can’t give you the why, but I know what we do in response to it. And the answer is everything we can. These are our people. Let’s make sure we help them out.”

Biden has expanded federal disaster assistance to Kentucky, ensuring the federal government will cover the full cost of debris removal and other emergency measures.

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said the Federal Emergency Management Agency has provided more than $3.1 million in relief funds, and hundreds of rescue personnel have been deployed to help.

“The floods in Kentucky and extreme weather all around the country are yet another reminder of the intensifying and accelerating impacts of climate change and the urgent need to invest in making our communities more resilient to it,” she said.

The flooding came just one month after Kentucky’s governor visited Mayfield to celebrate the completion of the first houses to be fully constructed since a tornado nearly wiped out the town. Three families were handed keys to their new homes that day, and the governor in his remarks hearkened back to a visit he had made in the immediate aftermath.

Now more disasters are testing the state. Beshear has been to eastern Kentucky as many times as weather permitted since the flooding began. He’s had daily news conferences that stretched to an hour in order to provide details and a full range of assistance for victims.

A Democrat, Beshear narrowly defeated a Republican incumbent in 2019, and he’s seeking a second term in 2023.

Polling has consistently shown him with strong approval ratings from Kentuckians. But several prominent Republicans have entered the governor’s race, taking turns pounding the governor for his aggressive pandemic response and trying to tie him to Biden and rising inflation.

Beshear comments frequently about the toll surging inflation is taking in eating at Kentuckians’ budgets. He has avoided blaming the president, instead pointing to the Russian invasion of Ukraine and supply chain bottlenecks as contributors to rising consumer costs.

___

Schreiner reported from Frankfort, Kentucky and Megerian reported from Rehoboth Beach, Delaware.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

FILE - Suffolk County Congressman Lee Zeldin listens as he prepares to participate in New York's Re...
Associated Press

GOP steps up crime message in midterm’s final stretch

NEW YORK (AP) — The graphic surveillance video shows a man on a sidewalk suddenly punching someone in the head, knocking them to the ground. With muted screams and gunshots in the background, the video stitches together other surveillance clips of shootings and punching on streets and subway trains as a voiceover says, “You’re looking […]
22 hours ago
Javier Diaz poses for a photo next to his home that was destroyed by Hurricane Ian in La Coloma, in...
Associated Press

10 days later, Cubans still recovering from Hurricane Ian

LA COLOMA, Cuba (AP) — Soldiers fix roofs and raise power poles under a blazing sun, while teachers salvage wet school books and residents cook over wood fires in La Coloma, a fishing and industrial town on Cuba’s coast that took the brunt of Hurricane Ian. Ten days after the storm left still unquantified devastation […]
22 hours ago
FILE - A sign advertises for help The Goldenrod, a popular restaurant and candy shop, Wednesday, Ju...
Associated Press

US hiring likely slowed last month (which may be good news)

WASHINGTON (AP) — The piping-hot U.S. job market may be cooling off, if only slightly. But what business managers, policymakers, investors and economists want to know is this: How cool would be cool enough for the inflation fighters at the Federal Reserve to begin to ease their aggressive interest rate hikes? The government’s jobs report […]
22 hours ago
Associated Press

Today in History: October 7, Fox News Channel’s debut

Today in History Today is Friday, Oct. 7, the 280th day of 2022. There are 85 days left in the year. Today’s Highlight in History: On Oct. 7, 1991, University of Oklahoma law professor Anita Hill publicly accused Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas of making sexually inappropriate comments when she worked for him; Thomas denied […]
22 hours ago
FILE - A TV screen showing a news program reporting about North Korea's missile launch with file fo...
Associated Press

US carrier, S Korea warships start new drills amid tensions

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — The nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan launched a new round of naval drills with South Korean warships on Friday, a day after North Korea fired more ballistic missiles and flew warplanes in an escalation of tensions with its rivals. The Reagan and its battle group returned to the waters […]
22 hours ago
This image released by Polk & Co. shows the company during a performance of Roundabout Theatre Comp...
Associated Press

Review: Broadway revival of ‘1776’ shakes things up nicely

NEW YORK (AP) — The somewhat antiquated musical “1776” has long been ripe for a radical makeover and it has found one on Broadway. “Someone oughta open up a window!” an actor cries in the first scene and that applies to both the stifling heat of the setting as well as this revival, which brings […]
22 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...
Children’s Cancer Network

Children’s Cancer Network celebrates cancer-fighting superheroes, raises funds during September’s Childhood Cancer Awareness Month

Jace Hyduchak was like most other kids in his kindergarten class: He loved to play basketball, dress up like his favorite superheroes and jump as high as his pint-sized body would take him on his backyard trampoline.
...
SCHWARTZ LASER EYE CENTER

Key dates for Arizona sports fans to look forward to this fall

Fall brings new beginnings in different ways for Arizona’s professional sports teams like the Cardinals and Coyotes.
...
Dr. Richard Carmona

Great news: Children under 5 can now get COVID-19 vaccine

After more than two years of battle with an invisible killer, we can now vaccinate the youngest among us against COVID-19. This is great news.
Biden surveys flood damage in Kentucky, pledges more US help