President Biden finally connected with Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis Tuesday night as Hurricane Ian barrels towards the Sunshine State — and the Republican later thanked Biden for the federal government’s help.
Earlier in the day, Biden called three Florida mayors whose cities are expected to face the wrath of the storm before finally touching base with DeSantis, a potential presidential candidate in 2024. The talk between the two national figures came as Ian nears the Florida peninsula and could become a Category 4 hurricane.
Biden and DeSantis both discussed “the steps the Federal government is taking to help Florida prepare for Hurricane Ian,” said White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre in a tweet.
“The President and the Governor committed to continued close coordination.”
DeSantis, a vocal critic of Biden’s White House tenure, told Fox News anchor Sean Hannity Tuesday night he was appreciative of the federal assistance so far.
“What I said today is my phone line’s open, when people’s lives are at risk like this we all need to work together regardless of party lines,” DeSantis said.
He said further help from the feds would likely be geared toward individual assistance once the impact of the hurricane is fully clear.
“It’s my sense that the administration wants to help,” DeSantis said. “I think they realize that this is a really significant storm.”
Before reaching out to the first-term governor, Biden phoned Tampa Mayor Jane Castor, St. Petersburg Mayor Ken Welch and Clearwater Mayor Frank Hibbard. Castor and Welch are Democrats, while Hibbard is a Republican.
During her regular press briefing, Jean-Pierre said Biden held separate calls with the three mayors and “discussed planning and preparation for Hurricane Ian.”
She added that Biden also “underscored his commitment to the people of Florida and made clear that impacted communities will have the full support of the federal government to augment state and local emergency response efforts.”
Federal Emergency Management Agency Administrator Deanne Criswell and DeSantis were in touch Friday at the behest of the president.
She insisted to reporters that politics has no role in assisting states facing disasters.
“We are going to support whatever Gov. DeSantis asks of us,” Criswell said at the briefing.