Biden says political disagreements with DeSantis ‘irrelevant,’ plans to visit Florida

President Biden
AP Photo/Evan Vucci
President Biden speaks about Hurricane Ian during a visit to FEMA headquarters, Thursday, Sept. 29, 2022, in Washington.

President Biden on Thursday said that his political disagreements with Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) are irrelevant during the Hurricane Ian response efforts, adding that he plans to visit the state when he can.

“It’s totally irrelevant, but I’ll answer it,” he said when asked about his relationship with DeSantis. “He complimented me, he thanked me for the immediate response we had, he told me how much he appreciated it.”

“This is not about anything having to do with our disagreements politically, this is about saving people’s lives, homes and businesses. That’s what this is about,” Biden added in remarks at the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s headquarters.

The president said the timing of his visit to Florida will depend on when he can go without getting in the way of recovery efforts.

“Everyone hard at work in Florida right now deserves our thanks. When the conditions allow it, I’m going to be going to Florida to thank them personally, so we don’t get in the way,” Biden said.

The president said he and DeSantis have spoken four or five times in the lead up to and since the storm hit.

“And it’s not a matter of my disagreements with him on other items,” he said.

Hurricane Ian made landfall as a Category 4 storm Wednesday afternoon and brought rain, intense winds, floods and power outages. It is expected to make its way to Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina later this week.

The president also said on Thursday that he will visit Puerto Rico, which was hit by Hurricane Fiona earlier this month, and that he is committed to recovery efforts for the island.

“That’s my intention,” Biden said when asked about a trip to Puerto Rico.

Biden first spoke on Tuesday night to DeSantis, a potential 2024 political rival for the White House who has leaned into culture wars and challenged the administration over the influx of migrants at the border.

Earlier on Thursday, the president approved a major disaster declaration for Florida, which frees up additional resources for the response so the federal government covers 100 percent of the cost to clear debris and other costs.

Tags Biden Hurricane Ian Joe Biden Ron DeSantis Ron DeSantis
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