Biden to Travel to Kentucky to Survey Storm Damage

By Nick Ciolino
Nick Ciolino
Nick Ciolino
Nick Ciolino covers the White House.
December 13, 2021 Updated: December 15, 2021

President Joe Biden is planning to travel to Kentucky Wednesday to assess storm damage in Ft. Campbell, Mayfield, and Dawson Springs.

The trip comes in the wake of devastating tornadoes that ripped through the South and parts of the Midwest Friday leaving fatalities across five different U.S. states.

At least 64 people were killed in Kentucky alone, and there were at least another 14 deaths in Illinois, Tennessee, Arkansas, and Missouri.

The storm hit a candle factory in Mayfield, Kentucky, with more than 100 employees still inside the building at the time the tornado struck.

Across the state, more than 26,000 homes and businesses were without electricity, according to poweroutage.us. More than 10,000 homes and businesses have no water, and another 17,000 are under boil-water advisories, Kentucky Emergency Management Director Michael Dossett told reporters.

“But I want to emphasize what I told all the governors: The federal government will do everything—everything it can possibly do to help,” said Biden.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters Monday Biden will go to Kentucky to get an update of work being done on the ground and assess what is needed from the federal government.

The president is not expected to make a speech and told reporters he will not use the storm to push for his legislative agenda.

“No I’m not looking to make that argument,” Biden says when asked how much climate change played a role and whether that’s an argument he’ll make to Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) on the need to pass the president’s Build Back Better spending plan.

“We can’t say it was with absolute certainty” that the tornadoes were because of climate change, but it “certainly is one of the worst disasters.”

Over the weekend, Biden approved Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear’s request for an emergency disaster declaration, making federal funding available for the state.

Beshear also announced the deployment of about 180 guardsmen, including search and extraction.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has also deployed urban search and rescue teams and mobile communication operation vehicles to assist with response.

The federal agency has also distributed dozens of generators, 30,000 meals, 90,000 bottles of water, 45,00 blankets, and 2,100 cots to the people of Kentucky.

Disaster survivors can seek assistance at ww.disasterassistance.gov or by calling 1-800-621-FEMA.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Nick Ciolino
Nick Ciolino covers the White House.