UNITED STATES

Biden surveys flood damage in Kentucky, pledges more US help

Aug 8, 2022, 3:15 PM | Updated: 3:16 pm

FILE: Lexington Firefighters' swift water rescue teams head up overflowed Troublesome Creek to resc...

FILE: Lexington Firefighters' swift water rescue teams head up overflowed Troublesome Creek to rescue people. (Michael Swensen/Getty Images)

(Michael Swensen/Getty Images)

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.

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Send it to the KSL NewsRadio team here.

United States

kansas city shooting...

NICK INGRAM Associated Press

2 adults are charged with murder in the deadly shooting at Kansas City’s Super Bowl celebration

The new charges come after two juveniles were charged for the Kansas City shooting last week.

12 hours ago

Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump holds gold Trump sneakers at Sneake...

MICHAEL R. SISAK Associated Press

Here’s a look inside Donald Trump’s $355 million civil fraud verdict as an appeals fight looms

On the witness stand last year, Donald Trump proclaimed: "I have a lot of cash." After Friday's eye-popping penalty in his New York civil fraud trial, he's going to need it.

3 days ago

The likeness of George Washington is seen on a U.S. $1 bill, March 13, 2023, in Marple Township, Pa...

BEN FINLEY ASSOCIATED PRESS

Presidents Day: From George Washington’s modest birthdays to big sales and 3-day weekends

NORFOLK, Va. (AP) — Like the other Founding Fathers, George Washington was uneasy about the idea of publicly celebrating his life. He was the first leader of a new republic — not a tyrant. And yet the nation will once again commemorate the first U.S. president on Monday, 292 years after he was born. The […]

3 days ago

new home construction show, homebuilding is down in the US...

Anna Bahney, CNN

US homebuilding sees biggest drop since April 2020

Housing starts, a measure of new home construction, fell by 14.8%, compared with the previous month.

4 days ago

nick clegg...

Associated Press

Tech companies sign accord to combat AI-generated election trickery

Tech executives from Amazon, Google, Meta, Microsoft, OpenAI and TikTok gathered to announce a new framework for responding to AI-generated deepfakes.

4 days ago

former president trump shown, his fraud case just ended...

MICHAEL R. SISAK

Donald Trump fraud verdict: $364 million penalty in civil fraud case

Former President Donald Trump’s lawyers had said even before the verdict that they would appeal.

5 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Mother and cute toddler child in a little fancy wooden cottage, reading a book, drinking tea and en...

Visit Bear Lake

How to find the best winter lodging in Bear Lake, Utah

Winter lodging in Bear Lake can be more limited than in the summer, but with some careful planning you can easily book your next winter trip.

Happy family in winter clothing at the ski resort, winter time, watching at mountains in front of t...

Visit Bear Lake

Ski more for less: Affordable ski resorts near Bear Lake, Utah

Plan your perfect ski getaway in Bear Lake this winter, with pristine slopes, affordable tickets, and breathtaking scenery.

front of the Butch Cassidy museum with a man in a cowboy hat standing in the doorway...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

Looking Back: The History of Bear Lake

The history of Bear Lake is full of fascinating stories. At over 250,000 years old, the lake has seen generations of people visit its shores.

silhouette of a family looking over a lake with a bird in the top corner flying...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

8 Fun Activities To Do in Bear Lake Without Getting in the Water

Bear Lake offers plenty of activities for the whole family to enjoy without having to get in the water. Catch 8 of our favorite activities.

Wellsville Mountains in the spring with a pond in the foreground...

Wasatch Property Management

Advantages of Renting Over Owning a Home

Renting allows you to enjoy luxury amenities and low maintenance without the long-term commitment and responsibilities of owning a home.

Clouds over a red rock vista in Hurricane, Utah...

Wasatch Property Management

Why Southern Utah is a Retirement Paradise

Retirement in southern Utah offers plenty of cultural and recreational opportunities. Find out all that this region has to offer.

Biden surveys flood damage in Kentucky, pledges more US help