President Joe Biden said he spoke to Florida Governor Ron DeSantis to offer any resources needed after Hurricane Idalia made landfall on the state’s west coast on Wednesday, August 30, 2023. Biden also praised DeSantis for his leadership and cooperation in the face of the disaster, despite their political differences.
Hurricane Idalia was a Category 4 storm that brought strong winds, heavy rain, and storm surges to parts of Florida, Alabama, and Mississippi. The storm caused widespread damage and power outages
\and forced thousands of people to evacuate their homes. According to the latest reports, at least 17 people have died and dozens have been injured as a result of the hurricane.
Biden said he was in “constant contact” with DeSantis and other governors of the affected states, and that he approved an emergency declaration for Florida to enable federal support. Biden dismissed any political tensions with DeSantis, who is a potential 2024 rival and has clashed with him over various issues, such as the coronavirus pandemic, immigration, and voting rights.
“I trust his desire to help,” Biden said of DeSantis. “He’s doing a good job. He’s stepped up. He’s been responsive. He’s been cooperative. And I really mean that.”
Biden also said he was ready to visit the storm-hit areas as soon as possible, but only if his presence would not interfere with the recovery efforts. He said he wanted to see the damage firsthand and thank the first responders and volunteers who have been working tirelessly to help the victims.
“I want to make sure that we’re able to do it without creating a burden for folks on the ground while they’re dealing with this crisis,” Biden said.
Biden’s remarks came as he faced criticism from some Republicans for his handling of the chaotic withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan, which ended on Monday, August 28, 2023. Biden defended his decision to end the 20-year war, saying it was in the national interest and that he would not pass the responsibility to another president.
Biden also said he was focused on addressing the domestic challenges facing the country, such as the coronavirus pandemic, the economic recovery, and the climate crisis. He said he was committed to working with both parties to find solutions and deliver results for the American people.
“I’m not going to be distracted by what others are trying to do,” Biden said. “I’m going to keep my eye on the ball.”
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