The remarks from DeSantis come after Biden held separate calls earlier in the day 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.
A reporter asked the governor how he would characterize his conversations with Biden as the hurricane prepares to make landfall.
“So I have not personally spoken with the president, but FEMA has approved our pre-landfall request,” DeSantis said.
“We feel like we have a good relationship with FEMA,” he continued. “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.”
“So, my phone — my phone line is open,” DeSantis concluded. “But we are — we do appreciate the quick approval of the pre-landfall declaration.”
The remarks from DeSantis come as the hurricane is strengthening while in the Gulf of Mexico and could make landfall as a category 4 hurricane.
The National Hurricane Center has warned that Ian is “an extremely dangerous major hurricane.”
"I’m happy to brief the President if he’s interested in hearing what we’re doing in Florida… You've got people’s lives at stake…no time for pettiness, we've gotta work together to make sure we’re doing the best job for them. So my phone line is open." @RonDeSantisFL on Biden pic.twitter.com/d2FkngDq5J
— DeSantis War Room 🐳 (@DeSantisWarRoom) September 27, 2022
White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre did not give any details about why the president has not called DeSantis, and FEMA Administrator Deanne Criswell dodged a question from a reporter about the matter during the press briefing.
“In the past … President Biden, excuse me, has made calls to governors in situations of natural disasters. Kay Ivey in Alabama or Asa Hutchinson in Arkansas or the governor of Texas,” the reporter said. “Is there any, can you articulate I guess, how those determinations are made and why, why it hasn’t been made in this case to have the president call the governor?”
“Yeah, the president is very focused on making sure that the federal family has the right resources available to support this,” Criswell said. “That is why I contacted the governor right away. And we have a team of my senior leadership that are embedded with the governor to make sure that we’re supporting that.”
“Our focus today is making sure that we have the right measures in place to support the life saving activities that need to happen,” she added. “Any conversations afterwards, will need to be, we need to see what the damages are.”