Biden will tour Florida, Puerto Rico to assess hurricane damage

President Joe Biden will travel to Puerto Rico and Florida this week to view the damage caused by a pair of destructive hurricanes, the White House announced late Saturday.

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Biden will fly to Puerto Rico on Monday to tour the damage caused by Hurricane Fiona, and then will head to Florida to view the destruction left in the wake of Hurricane Ian, The Washington Post reported. First lady Jill Biden will accompany the president for both visits, the newspaper reported.

“Our hearts … are heavy,” Biden said of hurricane damage on Saturday night, speaking at the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation’s Phoenix Awards. “We owe Puerto Rico a hell of a lot more than they’ve already gotten.”

“It’s not just a crisis for Florida,” Biden said Friday from the White House. “This is an American crisis. We’re all in this together.

“I just want the people of Florida to know we see what you’re going through, and we’re with you. We’re going to do everything we can for you.”

The White House did not release where Biden will go in Florida or who he will meet with during his visit, the Tampa Bay Times reported.

The president this week approved a Federal Emergency Management Agency disaster declaration for areas hit by Ian, which made landfall as a Category 4 storm in southwestern Florida on Wednesday.

At least 54 people are confirmed dead from Ian, including 47 in Florida, according to The Associated Press. Most of the deaths in Florida were from drowning, the news organization reported.

After crossing the Florida peninsula and into the Atlantic Ocean, Ian made landfall in South Carolina on Friday.

The last time Biden was in Florida was in July 2021, after a condominium collapsed in Surfside near Miami on June 24, 2021, and killed 98 people, the Times reported.