Acting Governor Dan Patrick released a lengthy statement debunking the president’s claims that he could not contact Texas leadership about providing federal disaster aid following Hurricane Beryl’s destruction. 

After President Joe Biden granted Patrick’s request for a major disaster declaration yesterday—which is required for Federal Emergency Management Agency aid—he accused the acting governor of being “unreachable.” 

Biden claimed he had been attempting to contact both Gov. Greg Abbott, who is out of the country, and Patrick so he could approve the declaration. However, according to the president, he was unable until he broke through with a phone call to Patrick yesterday afternoon. 

The president also posited that there was “no delay from the White House, no delay from us”—potentially suggesting that lack of communication was on Texas’ end. 

However, Texas officials have a different perspective on communication efforts from both sides. 

Firstly, Abbott’s press secretary Andrew Mahaleris stated clearly “This is a complete lie from President Biden, and frankly doesn’t make any sense.” He also said, “The president and his administration know exactly how to get in contact with the governor and have on numerous occasions in the past.”

Further, Patrick posted on X that he is disappointed in Biden for turning the destruction of Hurricane Beryl—which killed at least 11 people and left about 1.7 million Texans without power—into a political issue. 

While a three-minute call between the president and Patrick ended with the request for a major disaster declaration eventually being granted, Patrick said that it was not sufficient for Biden. 

“He is falsely accusing me that I was not reachable,” posted Patrick on X. “He obviously did not know his own employees from FEMA were side-by-side with me for 3 days! All he had to do was call them and have them hand their phone to me. I even took a photo with them!” 

Patrick quoted the president, calling the situation a “load of malarkey.”

Hours later on Wednesday morning, the acting governor released a loaded statement on X fully debunking the president’s accusations and questioning why Biden decided to call Texas Department of Emergency Management Chief Nim Kidd instead of himself. 

According to Patrick, 10 minutes before his and Chief Kidd’s joint call with the president, Patrick’s team gave a FEMA employee his personal cell phone number at FEMA’s request. 

Even though Patrick spent days working with FEMA employees, he was never informed that the president was attempting to contact him. 

“The president could have simply called his own FEMA employees who were working with me for 3 days before, during, and after the hurricane,” said Patrick. “If they wanted to find me, I was easily found. I was where I was supposed to be, at the state operations center, day and night, in plain sight.” 

Additionally, he said that Abbott had not heard from the president either, even though the president had Abbott’s phone number. 

“To suggest that the president could not find me or the governor is ridiculous,” reads Patrick’s post. “The bottom line is this: I asked for a federal disaster declaration at the proper time without delay and the president agreed. Sadly, President Biden is attacking Gov. Abbott and me, trying to score political points, for reasons that make no sense. Mr. President, as you like to say, ‘C’mon, man!’”

Will Biagini

Will was born in Louisiana and raised in a military family. He currently serves as a journalist with Texas Scorecard. Previously, he was a senior correspondent for Campus Reform.