On the first full day he has been free from COVID, President Joe Biden traveled to Kentucky, the home state of the Senate Republican Minority Leader, to visit with flood survivors devastated by lost lives and lost property.
On August 1, Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear announced the historic floods had killed 37 people. Hundreds more were unaccounted for.
"I still have aunts and uncles that are stuck in hollers. They are diabetics. They need insulin," Knott County resident Zack Hall said to CNN the following day, August 2. "I went to visit one yesterday -- was lucky enough to get up there (and deliver supplies) with an ATV. But there was no road ... and that's what people need to understand, is the infrastructure here is just completely destroyed and it makes relief efforts [difficult]."
On Monday, six days later, President Joe Biden and First Lady Dr. Jill Biden flew down to Kentucky, where they were met by Gov. Beshear. The President, the governor, and the First Lady toured the devastation as President Biden spoke privately and on camera with survivors.
Conspicuously absent? Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, Republican of Kentucky, and Senator Rand Paul, Republican of Kentucky. Neither according to reports have toured the devastation.
Not absent was public support for the President and public outrage for the two Kentucky Republicans.
"I’m a Kentuckian born and raised," wrote former pro-basketball player Rex Chapman, now a social media influencer who has played on four NBA teams. "It is absolutely mind boggling to me that Joe Biden has been to visit families of eastern Kentucky who’ve been absolutely devastated by floods — and Mitch McConnell and Rand Paul haven’t."
Chapman's remarks were in response to this video of President Biden in Kentucky on Monday.
In it, Biden says the survivors he talked to are "not just Kentuckians, they're Americans."
"This happened in America," Biden said forcefully. "And everybody has an obligation to help."
"I promise you," he told the survivors, "we're staying, the federal government along with the state and county, we're staying until everybody's back to work."
And he promised they would not just be made whole, but "better than they were before."
Chapman added, "Biden has had COVID - and the second he could go to Kentucky he went. Rand Paul and Mitch McConnell live there and they couldn’t be bothered."
Award-winning political and communications strategist Greg Pinelo weighed in, writing: "Noting for the record, Joe Biden went to the disaster zone in Kentucky before either Mitch McConnell or Rand Paul. They'll say they were busy voting against climate change action and making insulin affordable, but it's been 8 days."
Coincidentally, Biden and the Democrats on Sunday capped the price of insulin for Medicare patients at $35 and passed the largest bill to address climate change in history. Republicans killed legislation that would have capped the price at $35 for all Americans. Earlier in his term President Biden signed into law a huge infrastructure bill that would help prevent flooding and create roads and bridges that would withstand heavy flooding.
This isn't the first time McConnell and Paul were MIA as President Biden toured natural disaster devastation. In mid December last year Biden traveled to Dawson Springs, Kentucky, to visit with survivors of massive tornado damage.
One day later award-winning writer Chip Franklin tweeted, "Who else thinks it is reprehensible Mitch McConnell and Rand Paul refused to accompany President Biden in Kentucky?"
Noting Biden isn't doing this to score political points, attorney Adam B. Bear wrote Monday: "The last time Kentucky voted for a Democrat in a Presidential race was for Bill Clinton in 1996. Not to forget about Mitch McConnell and Rand Paul... Regardless, President Biden is in KY consoling people whose lives have been upended by a terrible storm."
Others on social media also blasted McConnell and Paul.
Journalist Aaron Rupar noted, "Biden lost Kentucky by 26 points. He works for Kentuckians all the same, as any solid president should."
"Rand Paul? Mia," tweeted one user, noting Sen. Paul is missing in action. Her bio says she's a "life long republican. US Navy vet," and "unabashed anti trump."
"Mitch McConnell? Mia. The dude with the paper towels?" she added, referring to President Donald Trump's disastrous visit to hurricane-devastated Puerto Rico, "Mia."
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