Florida Republican Governor Ron DeSantis explained during an interview Friday night how he got President Joe Biden to cooperate with efforts to assist Florida after the state was hit by one of the most powerful hurricanes to ever hit the country late last month.
DeSantis’ remarks come after Biden previously had not called the governor prior to the hurricane hitting the state despite making time to call several local mayors. Biden finally called the day before the storm hit, but only after he faced backlash for appearing to put politics over people.
“Well, I’ll tell you what. I mean, what I told him is that the media was making a big deal that he wasn’t talking to me or whatever, and I told him, I was like, ‘Look, I want to work together for these people. Because these people are from all walks of life. Republicans, Democrats, they expect us to be able to put our differences aside,’” DeSantis said. “And nobody has done more to stand up to this administration than me in Florida over the last year and a half, as you know.”
“But you’ve got to be willing to work together to help folks. And so I think the response from local, state, and federal has been pretty seamless,” he continued. “And I think that’s a testament that, you know what, we as a country can get things done when it counts.”
DeSantis called out Biden back in late September when Biden still had not contacted the governor ahead of Hurricane Ian, which was a near Category 5 hurricane, making landfall.
The remarks from DeSantis come after Biden held separate calls with Mayor Jane Castor of Tampa, Mayor Ken Welch of St. Petersburg, and Mayor Frank Hibbard of Clearwater. An official White House readout of the calls made no mention of the president speaking with DeSantis.
“So I have not personally spoken with the president, but FEMA has approved our pre-landfall request,” DeSantis said during a press conference when asked at the time if he had spoken to Biden. “We feel like we have a good relationship with FEMA. You know, I’m happy to brief the president if he’s interested in hearing what we’re doing in Florida, you know, my view on all this is like you got people’s lives at stake, you got their property at stake, and we don’t have time for pettiness. We got to work together to make sure we’re doing the best job for them.”