Politics Biden tours devastation left by Kentucky floods, vows to rebuild 'better'
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President Biden and first lady Jill Biden traveled to eastern Kentucky on Monday to tour the damage fromand to visit with families who were negatively affected by the extreme rainfall.
At least 37 people have died as a result of the late-July storms, which dropped nearly a foot of rain in some areas in just 48 hours.
"We're staying until everybody's back to where they were," Biden said of the federal response after meeting with residents of the town of Lost Creek. "Not a joke."
The president saidwill allow for rebuilding that will leave the flood-torn communities better prepared for extreme weather than they were before.
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"That's the objective here," the president said. "It's not just to get back to where we were, it's to get back to better than where we were. And we have the wherewithal to do it now."
Biden said he met a man whose trailer was washed away in the floodwaters. He said the man told him, "We Kentuckians don't want to ask for too much."
"I don’t want any Kentuckian telling me, 'You don't have to do this for me,'" Biden added. "Oh, yeah, we do. You're an American citizen. We never give up. We never stop. We never bow. We never bend. We just go forward. And that’s what we’re going to do here."
Before delivering remarks, Biden, a Democrat, in hard-hit Breathitt County, stopping at the site where a school bus was swept by floodwaters into a partially collapsed building.
Floods strike new blow in place that has known hardship
JACKSON, Ky. (AP) — Evelyn Smith lost everything in the floods that devastated eastern Kentucky, saving only her grandson's muddy tricycle. But she's not planning to leave the mountains that have been her home for 50 years. Like many families in this dense, forested region of hills, deep valleys and meandering streams, Smith's roots run deep. Her family has lived in Knott County for five generations. They've built connections with people that have sustained them, even as an area long mired in poverty has hemorrhaged more jobs with the collapse of the coal industry.
"Those are pieces of everybody's houses," Beshear told Biden as they observed debris along the creek. "That's all that's left."
At a briefing with first responders at an elementary school in Lost Creek, Biden pledged the continued support of the federal government.
Within a day of the floods, a major disaster declaration was made for Kentucky and federal aid was ordered to supplement state and local recovery efforts.
"We're not leaving," Biden said. "As long as it takes, we're going to be here."
Biden said that politics has no place in his administration's disaster response, even in a state that's home to his frequent political adversary, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.
"We battle all the time on issues," Biden said. But when it comes to rebuilding, the president said, "we're all one team."
Biden's visit to Kentucky is his second to the state since taking office last year. Heafter a series of tornadoes killed 77 people.
And just as he did Monday, Biden sought then to push a message of unity in a deep red state.
"There's no red tornadoes and blue tornadoes," he said at the time.
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The de-facto US embassy in Taiwan said the delegation will meet with officials in Taiwan to discuss US-Taiwan relations and regional security.His political team is even getting ready for a spring reelection announcement, according to the Washington Post.