During his first month or so in the White House, President Joe Biden has faced some of the same criticism that he did while he was on the campaign trail with regard to his lack of traveling. But now, the new president is bucking the trend.
According to the Associated Press, Biden made the rare decision to leave the White House on Friday and fly to Texas to witness first-hand the devastation from last week’s brutal and deadly winter storm. Biden was also reportedly briefed by officials on the ground and in return, thanked them for doing “God’s work.”
“For the long haul”
Friday’s trip to Texas was the president’s first tour of a disaster area. Aside from the obvious photo opportunities, Biden took the time during his trip to tell workers and residents of the state that not only would he be there for them “for the long haul,” but also that he would take measures to help them deal with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, as the AP reported.
The president also broke out his campaign talking point in which he assures those listening that it’s about helping all Americans, not just those who follow a particular political party.
“When a crisis hits our states, like the one that hit Texas, it’s not a Republican or Democrat that’s hurting,” Biden said, according to the AP. “It’s our fellow Americans that are hurting and it’s our job to help everyone in need.”
Biden first stopped at the Harris County Emergency Operations Center, where a number of emergency management officials, joined by FEMA Administrator Bob Fenton, provided the president a briefing on the current state of post-winter storm relief efforts.
He also visited a nearby government-operated COVID-19 vaccination center, located at NRG Stadium in Houston. He pledged to work together with state Republicans in an effort to “speed up vaccinations,” which came just a day after his administration celebrated America’s 50 millionth dose administered — halfway to Biden’s goal of vaccinating 100 million Americans within his first 100 days in the White House.
As Fox News reported, Biden’s trip to Texas was (unsurprisingly) adored by many in the mainstream media, including in an earlier piece from the Associated Press that netted the outlet quite a bit of controversy on social media.
AP White House reporter Darlene Superville published the original report previewing Biden’s trip, wherein the journalist wrote that “[t]he president’s empathy will be on full display as he and his wife, Jill, survey damage caused by severe winter weather and encourage people to get their coronavirus shots.”
Retired NBA star Dave Rubin issued a response on social media to Superville’s reporting, slamming the writer and the AP for publishing “propaganda,” and arguing that the piece was “not good journalism.” Others slammed the AP for publishing “opinion” and not fact, a rare criticism of the typically highly regarded outlet.
The AP’s reporting even caught the attention of Donald Trump, Jr., who completely shredded the outlet for how they covered Biden’s trip to Texas, tweeting:
I mean it’s only been 2 weeks but hey at least “his empathy will be on display[.]”
I don’t know about you but I would rather see competence on display and that clearly isn’t gonna happen.
Conveniently, the original AP piece was later edited, with the “empathy” sentence changed to present tense, though the media outlet claims it didn’t edit the report based on the social media backlash, according to Fox.