Tuesday, 16 July 2024

Texas officials slam Biden's attempt to politicize Beryl, call his suggestion a 'complete lie'


Texas officials slam Biden's attempt to politicize Beryl, call his suggestion a 'complete lie' Texas officials slam Biden's attempt to politicize Beryl, call his suggestion a 'complete lie'

Hurricane Beryl — now classified as a weakened tropical depression — made landfall on the Texas coast early Monday, causing significant flooding and knocking out power to millions of Americans. According to PowerOutage.us, approximately 1.7 million residents, primarily in the southeastern portion of the state, were still without power as of Wednesday morning.

President Joe Biden told the Houston Chronicle Tuesday that his administration had been unable to provide prompt emergency aid to the Lone Star State following the storm's landing due to the White House's inability to "track down" state leaders and obtain a formal request for a major disaster declaration.

"I've been trying to track down the governor to see — I don't have any authority to do that without a specific request from the governor," said Biden.

The Chronicle, which endorsed Biden earlier this year, originally published the Democratic president's suggestion without comment from state leaders. Its report also contained a line that has since been removed claiming that a White House spokesperson "said officials tried to reach Abbott and Patrick multiple times," apparently without success.

Texas officials have suggested that Biden's suggestion and the Chronicle's report did not track with the reality of the situation. Both Lt. Governor Dan Patrick (R) and Governor Greg Abbott (R) indicated Tuesday that Biden was either lying or suffering a memory malfunction.

'Biden's memory fails again.'

"I am disappointed that President Biden is turning Hurricane Beryl into a political issue," Patrick wrote on X. "We had a cordial call today that ended up with him granting my request for a major disaster declaration. But that's not good enough for him. He is falsely accusing me that I was not reachable."

Patrick indicated further that Biden, who has been facing intense scrutiny from friends and critics alike over his decrepitude, "obviously did not know his own employees from FEMA were side-by-side with me for 3 days!"

"All he had to do was call them and have them hand their phone to me. I even took a photo with them!" continued Patrick. "Before we made an official ask, we needed to determine what our outstanding needs were. We were working with local officials as we traveled the impacted areas. As I was being briefed today, the president called."

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott traveled to Asia on Friday in order to cultivate and strengthen economic partnerships in Taiwan, South Korea, and Japan. Until Abbott's return on Saturday, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick has been serving the Lone Star State as acting governor.

On July 5, days before the storm made landfall as a Category 1 hurricane, Patrick declared a state of disaster, authorizing the use of all available state resources necessary to "cope with this disaster."

The governor's office confirmed Tuesday that Patrick had gone a step farther and had spoken to Biden, requesting a federal disaster declaration through the Federal Emergency Management Agency — a request that was granted.

Adopting one of Biden's go-to turns of phrase, Patrick said, "This is a load of malarkey, and he's shoveling it!"

On Wednesday morning, Patrick criticized "Biden's lie" further, summarizing the situation accordingly: "I asked for a federal disaster declaration at the proper time without delay and the president agreed. Sadly, President Biden is attacking Gov. Abbott and me, trying to score political points, for reasons that make no sense. Mr. President, as you like to say, 'C'mon, man!'

Abbott similarly shredded Biden's apparent attempt to suggest his administration had been unreachable.

"Biden's memory fails again," Abbott wrote Tuesday evening. "Not once did he call me during Beryl. He has my number & called me on Memorial Day after tornadoes hit Texas. I've had daily calls with state & local officials during Beryl. I spoke with FEMA Admin while on our trade mission but Biden never called."

Andrew Mahaleris, the governor's press secretary, said, "This is a complete lie from Biden, and frankly doesn't make any sense. Biden and his Administration know exactly how to get in contact with the Governor and have on numerous occasions in the past, most recently on Friday when FEMA called and spoke with him."

Mahaleris also blasted the Houston Chronicle, noting, "A lie travels halfway across the world before the truth puts it's [sic] boots on. @HoustonChron ran a false exclusive story on this nonsense, based off what an incoherent President said, before we had a chance to refute it. This is why Americans have lost faith in media."

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