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President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden will travel to Houston on Friday as Texas recovers from its devastating winter storms, the White House said on Tuesday.

The announcement came days after Biden declared a major disaster for much of Texas, unlocking federal funds to help those affected by long power outages and freezing temperatures. At least 70 people have died, but the death toll is believed to be severely underestimated.

Biden said last week he wanted to make sure his visit to Texas didn’t complicate relief efforts.

I don’t wanna be a burden. When the president lands in a city in America, he has a long tail, ”he said.


Doug Mills-Pool / Getty Images

President Joe Biden’s planned trip to Texas on Friday will be his first visit to a disaster site since taking office.

“In the meantime, the president has called on FEMA to do everything in its power to quickly distribute aid to the state of Texas,” the White House press secretary said Monday, Jen Psaki. “So far, over a million meals have been shipped to Texas. Over 4 million gallons of water have been shipped to Texas. “

The Defense Ministry is providing bulk water to several locations, she added, as well as emergency generators and blankets.

This will be Biden’s first visit to a disaster site since taking office last month.

These trips by former President Donald Trump have often turned into public relations disasters, ranging from throwing paper towels at the victims of Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico to reporting to California communities ravaged by wildfires that they had to rake their forests more. Trump has also regularly threatened to deny state disaster aid and has treated disaster visits as campaign shutdowns.

Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas), one of Trump’s most loyal supporters, is also in hot water for leaving the state during the storm and traveling to Cancun as his constituents literally died of cold.

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