UPDATED 11:35 AM PT – Friday, February 19, 2021
As Joe Biden signed a major emergency disaster declaration for Texas, he explained he would make a decision on whether to visit the state next week. On Friday, Biden said he spoke with Gov. Greg Abbott (R-Texas) and they discussed what exactly the state needed to address the weather and utility crisis.
Tonight, I called Governor Greg Abbott to discuss the ongoing situation in Texas and identify ways we can support the state’s recovery from this storm. I made clear to the Governor that I’ll work relentlessly to get his state what they need. pic.twitter.com/UBwH8DMep2
— President Biden (@POTUS) February 19, 2021
He added he would ask FEMA to speed up the paperwork so he could sign it as soon as possible, but Biden hedged on whether he would visit Texas to assess the situation first hand.
“It depends. The answer is yes. The question is, I had planned on being in Texas the middle of next week, but what I don’t want to be is a burden,” Biden stated. “When the president lands in any city in America, it creates, it has a long tail, and they’re working like the devil to take care of their folks. If, in fact, it’s concluded that I can do it without creating a burden for the folks on the ground while they’re dealing with this crisis, I plan on going.”
His unclear response drew criticism, with some pointing to trips President Trump took to states hit hard by natural disasters.