(Surface) Joe Biden wore a familiar comfort suit on Thursday in Florida with families slowly losing hope of finding their own after a building collapsed a week ago.
The U.S. president told a news conference that relatives were “realistic” about the “declining” contradictions within hours of finding the survivors of the more than 140 people still missing on a site near Miami.
He came out with almost three hours of reunion with families with his wife Jill Biden.
“We have come here for you, for the whole nation,” said Joe Biden, whose personal life was shattered by grief and it has become part of his public personality.
The desperate search for survivors of a tragedy that has already killed 18 people had to be interrupted for a long time on Thursday, with officials fearing that the still-standing sections of the building would in turn collapse, putting rescuers at risk. The search resumed at the end of the afternoon.
Much of the 12-story building, dubbed the Sampline Towers South, one of the worst urban disasters in U.S. history, collapsed on June 24 at 1:20 p.m.
If the Presidential couple did not go directly to the place, they were stopped by an enhanced wall reminiscent of a metal fence, covered with photos of the victims and adorned with missing persons, flowers and candles.
Jill Biden set up a bouquet of white flowers, and a little further on the rubble of the collapsed building faltered. After thinking for a couple, the couple left for Washington.
The president told of the car crash that took his first wife and their baby daughter in 1972 and how he waited before learning that his two sons had survived.
Then Joe Biden lost his son Beau in 2015 to brain cancer.
During a meeting with the families, the President personally evoked this painful personal history, he told AFP Daniel Hatcher, a rabbi on the beach in Miami. Surface has a large Jewish community.
“This was the first thing he talked about,” Daniel Huther said. “I hope he came to comfort those in need.”
Further on the political note, the President praised the momentum for national unity in the aftermath of the disaster, which saw the federal state and local authorities working hand in hand.
“We’re all on the same team,” he noted, particularly Florida Gov. Ron Desantis, a rising star in the Republican camp.
“There are no Democrats or Republicans here, just people who want to do good to their comrades,” said the 78-year-old Democrat, who faces almost all or most of his plans from the Republican camp.
He thanked Governor Joe Biden for “taking the scale of this tragedy from the beginning.”
The missing include dozens of Latin Americans from Argentina, Colombia, Paraguay, Chile and Uruguay.
If the hypothesis of failure in the maintenance of the building had been raised, no clear answer would have been given, and the bodies would have been taken from the rubble by slow and complex searches.
“We have no conclusive evidence of what happened,” said Joe Biden, referring to “continuous questions.”
Among them, the President raised questions about the maintenance and construction of the building, nearby construction work, and rising water levels.
According to documents released by the city of Surface, a report in early 2018 listed “major structural damage”, as well as “cracks” in the basement of the building.
Tuesday’s release of a letter dated April by the co – owner’s legislator warning about the state of the building ignited the debate.