President Biden visits Florida to assess damage in aftermath of Hurricane Ian
Biden and Gov. Ron DeSantis will put their political differences aside in the best interests of the state and all affected by the hurricane.
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It has been nearly a week since Hurricane Ian made landfall on Florida. In its wake, thousands of people are displaced and homeless, and hundreds are dead.
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has seemingly put any political conflicts with Democrats, including President Joe Biden and his administration, aside in the best interests of his state and people as he has taken federal aid from Biden for rebuilding efforts, despite previous distasteful public comments made before the natural disaster.
Florida has not been the only U.S. territory struck by a hurricane in recent weeks.
Before Ian made landfall on the Sunshine State, Puerto Rico was hit by Hurricane Fiona just days before Ian and it left the island in a bad state as it had not totally bounced back from Hurricane Maria. The president visited Puerto Rico on Monday to assess the damages and reassure commitment to the island and its people.
On the next stop of his tour of hurricane damage, Biden visited Fort Myers, Florida on Wednesday, Oct. 5. He met with affected residents who have lost their homes as a result of Ian.
Prior to his visit, Biden promised to put aside any political differences with DeSantis, and both met at a briefing on Wednesday afternoon.
Biden has previously said in the past that while he views former President Donald Trump as a threat to the democracy of the country, and views DeSantis as an upcoming force to be reckoned with, affiliated with a party he no longer recognizes.
“This is not your father’s Republican Party. It’s not even conservative in a traditional sense of conservatism. It’s mean, it’s ugly,” Biden previously said.
In the aftermath of Ian, DeSantis has been complimentary of the president and his administration as the state begins recovery efforts.
“But you know, when people are fighting for their lives, when their whole livelihood is at stake, when they’ve lost everything, if you can’t put politics aside for that, then you’re just not going to be able to,” he told Fox News’ Tucker Carlson.
Biden returned the favor when recently receiving a briefing on the storm at the Federal Emergency Management Agency headquarters in D.C.
“This is not about anything having to do with our disagreements politically,” Biden added, “This is about saving people’s homes, lives and businesses.”
White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre reiterated that message in a briefing with reporters on Tuesday.
“There will be plenty of time to discuss differences between the president and the governor, but now is not the time,” she said. “We are working as one.”
DeSantis has also been criticized by Florida residents for what has been described as late evacuation orders, specifically in Lee County, where the most damage has occurred. Biden and DeSantis have both pushed back against those accusations. EMA Administrator Deanne Criswell defended Lee County officials while speaking to Fox News on Sunday.
“As soon as the storm predictions were that it was going to impact Lee County, I know that local officials immediately put the right measures in place to make sure that they were warning citizens to get them out of harm’s way,” Criswell said.
According to figures, the state is potentially facing more than $30 billion in damages that could grow to much more as evaluations continue, along with other factors such as inflation, and the rise of costs on certain building items. The state’s previous issues of housing, and insurance costs have only perpetuated the issue and exposed it more.
The Biden Administration has announced more aid that Florida will receive,
“Under the President’s order today, the time period for 100 percent Federal funding for debris removal and emergency protective measures, including direct Federal assistance, has been extended for an additional 30-day period,” a press release from the White House said.
During his briefing in Fort Myers, Biden told reporters of the mission at the moment.
“We have one job and only one job, and that’s to make sure that people in Florida get everything they need to fully, thoroughly recover,” Biden said.