President Joe Biden will visit Texas in the near future, possibly as soon as this week, a spokesperson said Sunday.
“He is eager to go down to Texas and show his support. But he is also very mindful of the fact that it’s not a light footprint for a president to travel to a disaster area. He does not want to take away resources or attention,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said on ABC’s “This Week.”
“We’re going to do that at an appropriate time in coordination with people on the ground. Could be as soon as this week,” she added.
Texas is dealing with freezing temperatures that led to record-breaking electric demand, which in turn caused widespread power outages. Millions of households lost power, though there were no longer any residential power outages from a lack of power generation as of Friday as the power grid was fully up and running.
Biden has been getting updates from acting Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Administrator Bob Fenton about the situation in Texas, as well as keeping tabs on the news.
“The president is kept abreast of the developments in Texas and the surrounding states and receives updates every day, but more than once a day,” Psaki told reporters earlier this week.
In terms of a trip, she explained that a president traveling somewhere can take up the time and energy of police and security.
Biden has taken few trips since being sworn into office. He traveled to two states last week, stopping in Wisconsin for a town hall and touring a COVID-19 vaccine plant in Kalamazoo, Michigan.
Biden approved Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s request Saturday for a major disaster declaration, two days after the pair spoke over the phone.
Biden “reiterated that the federal government will continue to work hand-in-hand with state and local authorities in Texas to bring relief and address the critical needs of the families affected,” the White House said in a readout.
Abbott said Saturday that he appreciated the declaration but noted that it only allows individuals to ask for assistance in 77 of the state’s 254 counties.
“While this partial approval is an important first step, Texas will continue to work with our federal partners to ensure all eligible Texans have access to the relief they need,” he said.
Psaki said the declaration was partial because of a determination by FEMA.
“What happens here is the governor requested a federal disaster declaration. The president asked his team to expedite that. And FEMA determined where the counties should be—where it should focus the immediate resources, where the counties that are hardest hit so that they can make sure they get to the people in most need,” she said.