[In progress] -- and I've got to say that, you know, having been to, unfortunately, a lot of -- like many of us have -- a lot of disaster sites because of natural disasters, it's -- what you're doing, in coordination among you all, has been just admirable. It really is impressive. Good afternoon, folks. Let me begin by saying that the degree of cooperation between local, state, and federal officials down here has been remarkable. And so I just want to say thanks and listen and find out what I can do as President and what I can unleash, in terms of help, for whatever you need. I want to thank our FEMA Director for leading this national effort. But Governor DeSantis, Senators Rubio and Scott, Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, and Mayor Cava –- Cava -- they've been -- they've all cooperated in ways that I haven't seen in a long time. And it's really a testament to -- to what's -- how difficult things are down here. And it's what, quite frankly, we miss a lot. You know, we all -- we've all been working in tandem from the moment we got the news of the collapse of the building. The governor and the mayor have been completely open with me, asked whatever they -- whatever they've asked, I think we've been able to deliver. And I think there's more that we can do, including -- I think I have the power -- and we'll know shortly -- to be able to pick up 100 percent of the cost for the county and the state for 30 days. And I think my colleagues will tell you we cut through the bureaucracy. The one -- the one order I gave federal folks was, "No bureaucracy. Just cut through it. Get to whatever they need." Oh, my goodness, Mr. President. That's why we've decided to cover, for example, 100 percent of the search-and-rescue costs for the first 30 days. Not done often but necessary here, in my view. I think I'm quite sure I can do that. And so we're going to do that. And FEMA is going to provide temporary housing and other urgent needs for the survivors. The State Department is expedi- -- expediting visas for family members from other countries -- and there are from Latin America, South America, Europe, Israel. And there's going to be a lot -- you all know it because a lot of you have been through it as well -- there's going to be a lot of pain and anxiety and suffering and even a need for psychological help in the days and months that follow. And I want to give a special shout-out to the first responders -- International Association of Firefighters, one of the best organizations in the country. And I particularly want to thank the president. Ed came down from Boston, and he's here with the entire -- with the entire group. And so, we're not going anywhere. You know, these folks are -- these folks are always showing up, no matter what. They're risking their lives. You know, there's that old expression. I know, the press that travels with me is tired of hearing me saying it, but I'm not tired of saying it. And that is -- that old expression -- "God made man. Then he made a few firefighters." They're remarkable, remarkable people. There's always -- they're always risking their lives to save lives, as well as the police and other first responders. I got to meet with a whole bunch of them. Thank you. Thank you, Mr. President. And we are able to deploy nearly 500 personnel, including five other search-and-rescue teams on the ground today here because of -- our FEMA Director ordered it. No, for real. But, again, I just want to, you know, start the day, if I could, getting as thorough briefing as you're able to give me, and tell me what you need. And that goes for both the senators and the congresswoman and anyone in Florida, just to pick up the phone to the Oval. For real. I'm not joking about it. I want to compliment FEMA and, I might add, all those folks who are risking their lives to save lives, but also holding out hope that others will be found. Hope springs eternal. And I think the Gov will tell you -- anything you ask for, we got. And we have another group of teams coming from FEMA today. How many people will it be? When I talked to those first responders, I pointed out that they're under a great deal of stress and we should take advantage -- they should take advantage of the mental health facilities that are going to be available. Because, you know, we talk about our military suffering from post-traumatic stress. Well, seeing what they're seeing and doing what they're doing, understanding how -- how much trauma is involved, I just don't want them thinking that they should walk away from help if it's needed. You know, they stand together, and it's really impressive. At the end of the day, there should about 500 on the ground. And there's also the need, in addition to state and local assistance, to determine the cause of this collapse -- and the adjacent buildings, how safe they are. Five hundred on the ground. There are two outstanding concerns. First, the remaining buildings may collapse -- the remainder of the building may collapse. We need to determine if it's safe for first responders to return to the site to continue their rescue mission. So, again, this is your show. We just want to make sure that whatever you need -- and, you know, including -- well, anyway, I'm talking too much. Why don't I -- I want to hear from you guys. That's being done right now. And that's why I asked the National Institute of Standards and Technology -- NIST -- to investigate, to see if it's safe to go back and what caused the building to collapse in the first place. Because we're committed not only to recover, but to restore the safety across the board. All right. Well, Mr. President, we cannot thank you enough for being here with us, for showing your extraordinary support from day one. You called me that morning. We hustled into a little room in the Family Reunification Center so I could take the call, and you said whatever we need. And I said, "Bring FEMA," and here they are, on the ground. But the other reason I came down was to meet with the families. The whole nation is mourning with these families. They see it every day on television. They're going through hell. And those who've survived the collapse, as well as those who are missing loved ones. So it's been an incredible collaboration from the beginning, with the federal, with the state. We had our Florida Emergency Management Director, Kevin Guthrie, here immediately. The governor has been here every single day. The senators, I believe, the same, and our state and municipal leaders as well. I realize I'm a little late because I spent a lot of time with the families -- a whole lot of time. And I apologize for taking so long to get here, because I thought it was important to speak to every single person who wanted to speak to me. So, after what you all covered when I opened up the -- the meeting, I spent the remainder of the time, and I -- and such incredible people. So the collaboration from the elected leadership to the police departments; all the municipals, of course, under the leadership of our incredible Miami-Dade Police Department, and Freddy Ramirez, our director; and, without a doubt, the fire department and our chief -- our Fire Chief, Alan Cominsky, who has led the effort of these first responders who are in the -- in the world's hands. I sat with one woman who had just lost her -- her husband and her little baby boy; didn't know what to do. I sat with another family that lost almost the entire family: cousins, brothers, sisters. And to watch them and to -- the -- they're praying and pleading that, "God, let there be a miracle. Let them be something happen for me that's good." Everybody is praying and watching these incredible men and women as they proceed, day after day, and literally have to be pulled off the pile, Mr. President. They are here to save lives. That is what they live for. And it is truly -- it is truly humbling. Because I have, like many of you do, some idea what it's like to suffer that kind of loss so many of them are suffering. So, we all know this is an unprecedented devastating disaster unlike anyone has ever seen. It's shocked the world. And the fact that we've all come together is what gives us hope, is what gives us strength and inspiration; it does for me every single day -- as we talk to the family members, as you'll soon be doing, as they are waiting and waiting for news of their loved ones, as you said, and also those who have been displaced. I mean, it's -- it's just a crisis all around. You know, they had basic heart-wrenching questions: "Will I be able to recover the body of my son or daughter, my husband, my cousin, my mom and dad? How can I have closure without being able to bury them if I don't get the body? What do I do?" But we are working together to handle the crisis to get the answers about what happened here. And we can update you on that. And we are going to be examining every inch of this catastrophe with the full might of the federal, state, and local government to do so. Jill and I wanted them to know that we're with them and the country is with them. Our message today is that we're here for you, as one nation. As one nation. And that's the message we communicated. So, we want to make sure we all -- the world wants to make sure that a tragedy of this nature never, ever happens again. We'll be in touch with a lot of these families continuing through this process. But there is much more to be done. We're ready to do it. So, I -- we have a briefing for you. And I want to start with our governor. And I want to thank you, Governor DeSantis. Your team has been amazing, but you personally have been amazing. You've been a steady, calming, reassuring, but forceful voice every step of the way. And it's been a pleasure to partner with you, truly. Thank you. Thank you. And again, I thank the governor, I thank my colleagues, my -- Senator Scott and Senator Rubio, I thank Debbie Wasserman Schultz for their total, complete cooperation. There's no -- there's no disagreement, no bickering. Everybody is on the same team. It's what America is all about. It's about pulling together, leaving nobody behind. And that's what made me feel -- the one thing that made me feel good about this is the -- is a cohesion that exists. There's no Democrat or Republican out there; they're just people wanting to do the right thing for their fellow Americans. Thank you. Thank you. So, may God bless the victims and their families. And may God protect our first responders. Let me say just one more thing. You know what's good about this -- the way you've cooperated? We're letting the nation know we can cooperate. And I'll take a couple questions right now. Yes, sir. That's right. Mr. President, what were you told today about the likelihood -- you said, "Hope springs eternal" -- but that somebody will be able to be pulled out alive from this? And what were you able to convey to the families about that possibility? And when it's really important -- Well, look, first of all, the families are very realistic. They know the longer it goes -- and one of the things that the local FEMA personnel as well as the local first responders did is they took all of the families to the site to see -- to see what it looked like up close. And they're all realists. They all look, and they see those floors just literally feet -- cement upon cement upon cement. That's right. You know, I -- when I talked to some of the families, some of the people who did escape, survived, and got out, they talked about watching the building collapse and watching as they were in the garage -- one floor come down -- literally a whole floor on top of another floor. They know that the chances are, as each day goes by, diminished slightly. -- when it's really important -- I was talking to Debbie about it on the way down -- we come together. This is -- this is life and death. But at a minimum -- at a minimum -- they want to recover the bodies. They want to recover the bodies. There's a lot of very religious people who are in there. Members of the -- the rabbis in the Jewish community were talking about the need to make sure that they recover the body and be able to bury them. Give them -- and, you know, the -- anyway. And so, I don't think -- I just got back from about 12 days in Europe. They wondered whether we can do this. And you're doing it. I mean, just the simple act of everybody doing whatever needs to be done is a -- and it really makes a difference, Gov. So, I think they're very realistic, Mike. But -- but I don't think that that, in any way, suggests that it's too -- that we should stop. I think that we should move on, continue to try to recover the bodies. Well, thank you, Mr. President. And you've recognized the severity of this tragedy from day one. And you've been very supportive. In the meantime, that's why NIST and others are determining whether or not it's safe to send the first responders back. When they'd asked me about this, I'd point out that the last thing they would want and we would want is, in the process of trying to recover -- and the possibility -- there's still a possibility someone could be alive, someone could still be breathing, someone could be there -- that the last thing you want to have happen is have that building collapse and kill 10, 20, 30, 50 firefighters or wound them, or first responders. We, in Florida -- you know, you'll drive up and down these coastal roads, you'll see these buildings. And I've driven by that building; probably never thought twice. And then something like this happens and you recognize in each individual unit there's an amazing story. So -- but Mike, they're -- you know, they're realistic. I -- it just brought back so many -- so many memories. It's bad enough -- it's bad enough to lose somebody. But the hard part -- the really hard part is to not know whether they're surviving or not -- just not have any idea. And lives have been shattered irrevocably as a result of this. We've already identified, unfortunately, fatalities -- people who've been 92 years old, have been a matriarch of a wonderful family. We have families with kids missing. And we even have young newlyweds who hadn't even been married a year who were in the tower when it collapsed. When the accident took my wife and my family, the hardest part was: Were my boys going to get out? Are they going to make it? And not knowing. Not knowing, when you're flying home from Washington to get the news. You know, you just don't know. So, it's -- And so the cooperation has been great. The local -- both the municipal and the county have been fantastic. And you guys have not only been supportive at the federal level, but we've had no bureaucracy. When we're dealing with FEMA, we're literally getting requests routed from local to state to federal in no time -- But I was amazed -- as you know, unfortunately, I've done a lot of these circumstances where I've met with families who have had great loss. And what amazed me about this group of people was the resilience and their absolute commitment, their willingness to do whatever it took to find -- to find an answer. I walked away impressed by their strength. And -- I promise you, there will be none. And Nancy, Bloomberg -- do you have a question? -- and the approval is happening. Yeah. Yeah -- And so that -- that really, I think, is important. And so we've had people -- this is the first response in Florida's history, outside of a hurricane, where all of our search-and-rescue teams were mobilized. So they've been going in and out of the rubble, searching, trying to find people, trying to rescue people -- at a minimum, trying to identify anyone who may be deceased to bring closure to the families, which is very important. I was told. But they're tired, and this has taken a toll on them. And so, the fact that we now have that search-and-rescue team from Virginia here -- and I know we have some more on the way -- that's going to be helpful because this is grueling. Oh, thank you. Yeah. What did you learn, if anything, about the collapse of the building? Is there anything more you learned from investigators or the FEMA administrators [inaudible]? And obviously, the families' lives have been shattered. Mental health is going to be important. We're going to need some mental health support for some of the folks who've been in that rubble because it's not easy to do. No, it's underway. I don't -- and the director of FEMA is with me here. We don't have any firm proof of what's happened. There's all kinds of rational speculation about whether or not the rebars are -- were -- were rusted; whether or not the cement -- whether it was limestone or not; whether or not -- And -- but we thank you for the support. And we do appreciate the collaboration for local, state, and federal. But a lot of the -- a lot the families who survived talked about how upset they were that, in the last years that they've been here, how there was one condominium complex built across the street and a road was purchased. And while they were living there, they would hear the drilling and they'd feel their building moving and shaking. And, you know, what we just need now is we need a little bit of luck, we need a little bit of prayers, and, you know, we would like to be able to see some miracles happen. There are all kinds of discussions about whether or not they thought that water level rising -- what impact it had. And interesting to me -- I didn't raise it -- but how many of the survivors and how many of the families talked about the impact of global warming. How much -- and they didn't know exactly, but they talked about sea levels rising and about how -- how there were -- and -- and the combination of that and the concern about incoming storm -- incoming tropical storms. But I can tell you this: We're not going to stop until we identify everybody and until we do what we need to do. So, thank you, Mr. President. And so -- but I don't think there is, at this point, any definitive judgment as to why it collapsed and what can be done to prevent it from happening and what other buildings may have to be inspected to determine if they have the same problems. Thank you, Mr. President. I want to acknowledge the leadership of the First Lady, Casey DeSantis, as well, who is very, very focused on children and mental health issues and is bringing that agenda to our discussions. And, of course, we've been including all of that, as you'll learn from the briefings. But we know how important First Ladies are, so we just wanted to be sure to give a shout out. I'm supposed to head out and catch up with the governor. So I want to thank you all for taking the time. [The press is escorted out of the briefing] Mr. President, can we ask you about two matters away from where we are now? The first is: While you've been speaking, a top associate of the former President has been in a New York court, pleading not guilty to various financial charges. Do you have a reaction to that? And secondarily, if I can, does the Supreme Court's ruling today on an important voting rights decision add to the sense of urgency you feel about pursuing voting rights legislation at this time? I know nothing about the first circumstance because I've been gone. I don't have any idea, so I'm not going to comment on that. And even if I did, I wouldn't comment on an ongoing case if it's an ongoing case. With regard to the second point: I think I did get a summary on the way down on the plane of the Supreme Court decision. It is mildly positive, in the sense that there's a remedy available based on the particular voting decision. I think that it is critical that we make a distinction between voter suppression and suspension. The ability of a state legislative body to come along and vote -- their legislature -- vote to change who is declared the winner, I find to be somewhat astounding. But the Supreme Court rule did not rule that way today, to the best of my knowledge. And -- but I'll have much more to say about that because I plan on speaking extensively on voting rights and -- as well as going on the road on this issue. So thank you all very much.