President Biden's federal hurricane aid claim refuted by Gov. Abbott

A "bizarre unforced error" is how Governor Greg Abbott described President Biden’s claim that federal hurricane aid to Texas was delayed because state leaders were unavailable to take his call. 

Gov. Abbott made that response in a broadcast exclusive interview with FOX 7 Austin’s Chief Political Reporter Rudy Koski.

"Well, it was shocking," said Governor Greg Abbott.

That assessment from Abbott is about a recent report published in the Houston Chronicle. In an interview with the Houston paper, President Joe Biden claimed he had trouble contacting Abbott and other state leaders. That lack of contact, according to Biden, delayed the release of federal hurricane aid to Texas.

"It was very strange for a president to make some comment like that, especially when he doesn't have the receipts to back it up," said Abbott.

Governor Abbott is on the other side of the globe on an economic development trip. In a broadcast exclusive from Japan, the governor spoke to FOX 7 about the president's accusation.

"Rudy, know this, President Biden has actually called me multiple times after disasters, calling my same phone number every single time. Also, an aide who works under the president, the FEMA director, called me on that very same phone number. There has been no call from Joe Biden to that phone number at all during the entirety of this entire disaster, even though his assistants talked to me about this disaster on July 5," said Governor Abbott.

No one on the state side dropped the ball, according to the governor.

"I think Lt. Governor Dan Patrick has been doing a great job. Listen, I've talked to him every day. I know exactly what's going on. I've talked to Chief Nim Kidd of Texas Division of Emergency Management, and through both of those sources that are directed tied into FEMA, I know for an absolute 100% certainty, the only person who dropped the ball is Joe Biden by making up some bizarre lie. And why he would do that? I have no idea," said Governor Abbott.

The power crisis in Houston is another thing the Governor said he is perplexed about. Officials with CenterPoint reportedly underestimated the impact from Hurricane Beryl, which left more than two million customers without electricity.

"The big slip up here has been the lack of power. And there are Texans still suffering as we're talking right now who are without power. So, Rudy, what I'm doing to get to the bottom of this is I'm instructing the Public Utilities Commission to undertake a study about exactly why, not only in this incident, but on multiple occasions, Houston has been able to not have access to power. And so, I want to find out, is it a structural issue? Is it a personnel issue? What is the cause of this? And make sure that the PUC, gets information to the Texas Legislature before the next session begins," said Abbott.

The governor left on an economic development trip when Hurricane Beryl was expected to hit the Mexican coastline. By the time the storm was heading to Texas, he was on the other side of the world. FOX 7 asked if he regrets not cutting his trip short and returning to Texas before Beryl hit southwest of Houston.

"Again, because I've been able to be fully engaged on a hands-on basis for many hours every single day, remaining in contact with Lt. Governor Dan Patrick, remaining in contact with local officials who are facing the challenges they are facing, and being able to get responses to the needs. Working with Texas Division of Emergency Management Chief Nim Kidd. Talking to him twice a day, finding out the status of exactly what's going on is the exact same thing that I would be doing if I were there in Austin, Texas," said Abbott.

Governor Abbott is expected to be back in Texas by this weekend.