White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Tuesday that although President Joe Biden was “monitoring” states drastically affected by winter storms, he had not yet personally reached out to their governors.
“The president has been kept abreast as I noted of the events and been provided regular updates on the storm and the progress,” Psaki said during the White House press briefing Tuesday afternoon.
Freezing temperatures have paralyzed power generation plants, leading to rolling blackouts across the south-central part of the country and leaving millions without power.
Psaki informed the press that Biden’s Homeland Security adviser Liz Sherwood-Randall spoke with Texas Gov. Greg Abbott over the weekend when he called to ask Biden to declare a federal emergency for the state to trigger federal support for storm victims.
Psaki said that Sherwood-Randall also called other governors — Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey, Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards, Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly, Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves, and Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt.
“She expressed the president’s strong commitment to ensuring that the federal government proactively does everything it can to support state and local officials and preparing and responding to events that affect our citizens,” Psaki said.
Biden signed a declaration of a state of emergency in Texas on Saturday during his three-day weekend at Camp David, and Psaki said Biden would continue “monitoring the situation in Texas very closely.”
So far, Biden has not disrupted his Tuesday’s light public schedule to respond to the disaster. He is scheduled to leave in the evening for a trip aboard Air Force One to Milwaukee, Wisconsin, for a CNN town hall.