Monday, January 17th, 2022

Biden to visit Kentucky tornado devastation as long as he won’t ‘get in the way’


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President Joe Biden responded to a deadly tornado in Kentucky saying he will deploy federal resources to the storm ravaged areas and will visit the scene as long as he isn’t impeding the cleanup process.

“Yes I do,” the president said when asked if he plans to visit Kentucky, where at least 50 people have been killed by a tornado that struck Friday night. Biden says he told Kentucky’s Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear he would be “happy to come but I don’t want to be in the way.”

TOPSHOT - A resident of the The Cardinal Inn in Bowling Green, Kentucky, looks at the damages done after a tornado touched down on December 11, 2021. - Tornadoes ripped through five US states overnight, leaving more than 70 people dead Saturday in Kentucky and causing multiple fatalities at an Amazon warehouse in Illinois that suffered "catastrophic damage" with around 100 people trapped inside. The western Kentucky town of Mayfield was "ground zero" of the storm -- a scene of "massive devastation," one official said. (Photo by Gunnar WORD / AFP) (Photo by GUNNAR WORD/AFP via Getty Images)

TOPSHOT – A resident of the The Cardinal Inn in Bowling Green, Kentucky, looks at the damages done after a tornado touched down on December 11, 2021. – Tornadoes ripped through five US states overnight, leaving more than 70 people dead Saturday in Kentucky and causing multiple fatalities at an Amazon warehouse in Illinois that suffered “catastrophic damage” with around 100 people trapped inside. The western Kentucky town of Mayfield was “ground zero” of the storm — a scene of “massive devastation,” one official said. (Photo by Gunnar WORD / AFP) (Photo by GUNNAR WORD/AFP via Getty Images)
((Photo by GUNNAR WORD/AFP via Getty Images))

KENTUCKY GOV. BESHEAR DECLARES STATE OF EMERGENCY AFTER DEADLY TORNADO, ASKS BIDEN FOR ASSISTANCE

Biden explained that “when the president shows up he shows up with an awful lot of personnel” and implied he did not want to “get in the way” of the recovery efforts and is working with the government to make sure his visit is a “value added” proposition.

Biden’s pledge to visit Kentucky comes at the same time he has faced criticism for not visiting the scene of recent national tragedies and crises including the Waukesha, Wisconsin, parade massacre and the porous southern border.

Biden has made multiple trips to visit storm ravaged areas since the start of his presidency including visits to Louisiana, New Jersey, and New York in response to Hurricane Ida in September.

Biden also approved an emergency declaration Saturday providing federal funds to the commonwealth of Kentucky.

Bowling Green, Kentucky, residents look at the damage following a tornado that struck the area on December 11, 2021. - Tornadoes ripped through five US states overnight, leaving more than 70 people dead Saturday in Kentucky and causing multiple fatalities at an Amazon warehouse in Illinois that suffered "catastrophic damage" with around 100 people trapped inside. The western Kentucky town of Mayfield was "ground zero" of the storm -- a scene of "massive devastation," one official said. (Photo by Gunnar Word / AFP) (Photo by GUNNAR WORD/AFP via Getty Images)

Bowling Green, Kentucky, residents look at the damage following a tornado that struck the area on December 11, 2021. – Tornadoes ripped through five US states overnight, leaving more than 70 people dead Saturday in Kentucky and causing multiple fatalities at an Amazon warehouse in Illinois that suffered “catastrophic damage” with around 100 people trapped inside. The western Kentucky town of Mayfield was “ground zero” of the storm — a scene of “massive devastation,” one official said. (Photo by Gunnar Word / AFP) (Photo by GUNNAR WORD/AFP via Getty Images)
((Photo by GUNNAR WORD/AFP via Getty Images))

“Today, President Joseph R. Biden, Jr. declared that an emergency exists in the Commonwealth of Kentucky and ordered Federal assistance to supplement Commonwealth and local response efforts due to the emergency conditions resulting from severe storms, straight-line winds, flooding, and tornadoes beginning on December 10, 2021, and continuing,” the White House announced.

BIDEN BRIEFED ON DEADLY TORNADOES, PLEDGES FEDERAL GOVERNMENT SUPPORT: ‘UNIMAGINABLE TRAGEDY’

Biden also tweeted about storm which he called an “unimaginable tragedy.”

“This morning, I was briefed on the devastating tornadoes across the central U.S. To lose a loved one in a storm like this is an unimaginable tragedy,” Biden wrote. “We’re working with Governors to ensure they have what they need as the search for survivors and damage assessments continue.”

Beshear stated during a 5 a.m. press conference that a single tornado tore across Western Kentucky in a sustained way for more than 200 miles – and at least four different tornadoes struck the state during the night.

TOPSHOT - A Bowling Green, Kentucky, resident surveys the damage following a tornado that struck the area on December 11, 2021. - Tornadoes ripped through five US states overnight, leaving more than 70 people dead Saturday in Kentucky and causing multiple fatalities at an Amazon warehouse in Illinois that suffered "catastrophic damage" with around 100 people trapped inside. The western Kentucky town of Mayfield was "ground zero" of the storm -- a scene of "massive devastation," one official said. (Photo by Gunnar Word / AFP) (Photo by GUNNAR WORD/AFP via Getty Images)

TOPSHOT – A Bowling Green, Kentucky, resident surveys the damage following a tornado that struck the area on December 11, 2021. – Tornadoes ripped through five US states overnight, leaving more than 70 people dead Saturday in Kentucky and causing multiple fatalities at an Amazon warehouse in Illinois that suffered “catastrophic damage” with around 100 people trapped inside. The western Kentucky town of Mayfield was “ground zero” of the storm — a scene of “massive devastation,” one official said. (Photo by Gunnar Word / AFP) (Photo by GUNNAR WORD/AFP via Getty Images)
((Photo by GUNNAR WORD/AFP via Getty Images))

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In addition, he said the death toll could reach between 70 and 100 dead, across five or more counties.