Train derailment after tornadoes rips through several US states in Earlington, Kentucky
Train derailment after tornadoes rips through several US states in Earlington, KentuckyREUTERS/Cheney Orr

US President Joe Biden addressed reporters regarding the disaster relief efforts underway in tornado-torn Kentucky.

"I have been in touch with the governors, the mayors, and FEMA, and have approved the declaration of a state of emergency requested in Kentucky," he commented. "In this respect, we are not Democrats or Republicans, but simply the United States of America. I have instructed FEMA to ensure that local and state governments know what assistance is available for them, and to make sure that they get it."

Biden clarified that calling in the National Guard is a possibility and that he will ask Congress to approve additional relief efforts. "We will do whatever is needed, provided the states conclude they need it. The National Guard has been called out in one state so far. I'll ask Congress to approve whatever is needed."

"There is tremendous anxiety in our country right now," he said. "We are going to get through this, together. The federal government will not walk away. All victims and first responders are very much in our thoughts and prayers."

When asked whether or not the storms were indicative of more severe effects of climate change, Biden answered that, "Weather across the board is more severe recently. I can't speak to these storms specifically."

Biden said he plans to visit the disaster zone, although not immediately.

"I do intend to visit, but I don't want to be in the way," Biden explained. "The President travels with an awful lot of people and vehicles. We don't want to be blocking the rescue effort, but I do plan on going."

"I think we were as prepared as any government ever has been. I'm confident that the question will be asked - what warning was there, and was it strong enough, and was it heeded? I think the way we need to start is by acknowledging that these disasters will keep happening. The first priority, though, needs to be how to save everyone who is still alive and help those affected."

"Say your home is in the path," he told reporters. "Everything is gone. The effect on a family is profound, but I promise you - the federal government will do whatever is needed."

Answering a question about the tensions between Russia and Ukraine, Biden commented that, "There never were any military actions on the battlefield. I made clear to Putin that if he moves on Ukraine, first, the economic consequences to his country will be devastating. Second, we may have to move more American and native troops into the eastern flank, where we have a sacred obligation to our NATO allies. Third, the world's perception of Russia would suffer immensely. His country will pay a terrible price."