Abbott And Patrick Slam Biden For ‘Politicizing’ Hurricane Beryl Response

Texas officials are pushing back against President Joe Biden’s comments suggesting that state leaders were unreachable in the aftermath of Hurricane Beryl, which caused widespread damage and power outages along the Texas coast. Biden’s remarks, made during an interview with the Houston Chronicle, have been met with strong denials from both Governor Greg Abbott and Lt. Governor Dan Patrick.

Biden told the Chronicle on Tuesday, “I’ve been trying to track down the governor to see — I don’t have any authority to do that without a specific request from the governor.” The Chronicle initially published this statement without seeking comments from Texas officials, later removing a line that claimed the White House had unsuccessfully tried to contact Abbott and Patrick multiple times.

Lt. Governor Patrick responded on social media, “I am disappointed that President Biden is turning Hurricane Beryl into a political issue. We had a cordial call today that ended up with him granting my request for a major disaster declaration. But that’s not good enough for him. He is falsely accusing me that I was not reachable.” Patrick emphasized that FEMA officials were in constant contact with him, stating, “I even took a photo with them!”

Governor Abbott, who was on an economic mission to Asia, echoed Patrick’s sentiments, tweeting, “Biden’s memory fails again. Not once did he call me during Beryl. He has my number & called me on Memorial Day after tornadoes hit Texas. I’ve had daily calls with state & local officials during Beryl. I spoke with FEMA Admin while on our trade mission but Biden never called.”

Abbott’s press secretary, Andrew Mahaleris, called Biden’s assertion “a complete lie” and criticized the Houston Chronicle for publishing the story based on Biden’s comments without verifying with state officials.

Despite the political clash, Texas continues to address the significant impact of Hurricane Beryl, which resulted in severe flooding and left about 1.7 million residents without power. The controversy over Biden’s comments adds tension to the ongoing disaster response efforts.