Biden and DeSantis see hurricane damage in Fort Myers

Biden and DeSantis see hurricane damage in Fort Myers

Following the president’s inspection of the hurricane Ian-related storm damage in Florida, Joe Biden and Governor Ron DeSantis presented an unified front as they shook hands and stood face to face for the first time on Wednesday.

Jill Biden, the first lady of the United States, and Casey DeSantis, the first lady of Florida, joined their husbands in the open demonstration of solidarity.

The Florida couple greeted the Bidens as they exited their motorcade to hear from state and local officials about the steps that must be taken in order to successfully repair the damage caused by the category 4 storm, which resulted in more than 100 fatalities and hundreds of thousands of displaced residents.

Biden and DeSantis met for the first time after multiple phone conversations, including one just before the hurricane made landfall, and put their collaboration on disaster recovery to the test.

The president and the Republican governor have both publicly refuted claims that they aren’t coordinating their efforts to respond to the storm’s devastation and have even exchanged subtle compliments.

Florida was “lucky” that the White House approved the emergency designation before Hurricane Ian intensified into a tropical storm, DeSantis said during an update earlier on Wednesday morning, adding that he “appreciated that swift action.”

The storm, which killed 109 people as of Tuesday, was the worst since 1935. On Wednesday morning, a week after Hurricane Ian made landfall in Florida, around 318,000 homes and businesses were still without electricity.

Biden departed the White House on Wednesday morning for DeSantis’ district, where he will fly over Fort Myers, Florida, to assess the storm’s devastation and chat with the governor and Senator Rick Scott, another ardent DeSantis foe.

Biden had planned to visit Orlando and Fort Lauderdale last week to advocate for the improvement of Social Security and Medicaid before the hurricane struck.

By suggesting that federal legislation should expire every five years, he previously accused Scott of intending to eliminate both programs, despite the Florida senator’s claims to the contrary.

In recent years, Biden and DeSantis have also disagreed on a wide range of topics, including how to combat COVID-19 as well as immigration and education policy.

They have openly sparred over DeSantis’ choice to transport migrants to Democratic communities in recent weeks.

However, Hurricane Ian transformed the agenda and tenor of Biden’s first visit to Florida this year, turning it into an opportunity for cross-party collaboration.

As more and more moderate Republican supporters distance themselves from the ultra-MAGA principles, DeSantis has emerged as a possible alternative GOP presidential contender in 2024. Even though he hasn’t made an official declaration, President Biden has repeatedly said that he fully intends to compete for reelection.

On Wednesday, all eyes were on Florida in anticipation of a possible confrontation between the Democratic president and the Republican governor, who may face off in 2024.

White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said at her briefing on Tuesday that there would be plenty of opportunity to address the differences between the president and the governor, but that this particular moment was not the right one.

We are one when it comes to providing for the needs of the people of Florida, particularly in the wake of Hurricane Ian, she told the media. We are all working together.

Making the meeting political at this stage would not be in the interests of either Biden or DeSantis. Although Biden and DeSantis have previously talked on the phone multiple times, this will be their first encounter in person.

Biden will go with Deanne Criswell, the administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

On Wednesday, Criswell told reporters on board Air Force One as they were flying to Florida that “there are neighborhoods that have to be entirely rebuilt.”

We’ll need to include the whole federal family, she continued.

The federal government would fully fund “debris disposal and emergency protection measures” in Florida for 60 days from the day of the original event, the president stated on Wednesday.

The 30-day support period that was previously stated after the storm struck last month has been extended.

The hurricane left thousands of people homeless and is believed to have cost $60 billion in damage.

More than 4 million households and businesses in Florida as well as over 1.1 million in North and South Carolina lost power as a result of the hurricane.

In recent years, partisanship between the White House and governors of the opposite party has broken down when it comes to federal assistance for states.

In 2022, Santis.

DeSantis doesn’t have to be concerned that Biden’s visit would undermine his GOP influence and popularity since his political strategy concentrates on criticizing far-left initiatives.

He will support federal funding for Florida, but there won’t likely be any physical hugs.

In their phone discussions, the president and the governor expressed their admiration for one another in a rare display of bipartisanship amid a period of bitter political division in the United States, particularly with less than five weeks before the midterm elections.

Three of the four suspects in the Lee County looting who were apprehended on Tuesday, according to DeSantis’ storm response report, are in the country illegally.

The governor of Florida concentrated on “law and order” and made a link between the looting and Biden’s immigration policy.

DeSantis said, “These are folks who are immigrants who are here illegally, but not only that—they attempt to plunder and ransack in the wake of a natural catastrophe.”

They should be charged, but they also need to be returned to their country of origin. They ought to not even be here, he continued.

Following Hurricane Ian, there was a spate of looting.

Online prison records show that the four guys were detained on suspicion of breaking into an uninhabited building during a time of emergency.

The people, who ranged in age from 20 to 33, were arrested for ransacking Fort Myers Beach’s destroyed houses and businesses while they were still suffering from the torrent’s aftereffects.

On September 29, all four thieves were detained; however, records show that they were all freed after posting $35,000 bail.

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