Latest disasters have White House seeking more FEMA funding
FEMA officials say they're running low on funds to respond to disasters following a wildfire in Hawaii and a hurricane in Florida.LEARN MORE
The visit comes after the president's request for an additional $4 billion in disaster response funding from a divided Congress.
President Joe Biden spent Saturday afternoon seeing the devastation Hurricane Idalia left behind in Florida's Big Bend.
The president's visit comes as more than half the households started the day still without power, four days after the category-three hurricane hit.
President Biden reassured Floridians, saying, "As I’ve told your governor, if there’s anything your state needs, I’m ready to mobilize that support. Anything they need related to these storms. Your nation has your back, and we’ll be with you until the job is done.’’
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, meanwhile, ditched the meetup. However, the president said he spoke with DeSantis last week during Idalia. He said that despite how partisan politics have become, there was no trace of politics in their hurricane-related discussions.
"I think he trusts my judgment and my desire to help, and I trust him to be able to suggest that this is not about politics," the president said, according to the Associated Press. "This is about taking care of the people of the state."
DeSantis did give a reason why he did not meet the president.
"In these rural communities, and so soon after impact, the security preparations alone that would go into setting up such a meeting would shut down ongoing recovery efforts," DeSantis spokesman Jeremy Redfern said in a statement obtained by AP.
The visit also follows the president's call for an extra $4 billion in disaster response funding from a divided Congress.
A year ago, when Hurricane Ian hit, DeSantis greeted Biden after the storm devastated parts of Florida. He complimented the president's efforts, saying he had done a "good job."
Hurricane Idalia made landfall on Florida's Gulf Coast Wednesday as a major Category 3 hurricane before weakening as it moved through the southeastern U.S. The storm is being blamed for at least three deaths.
Last week, the president was in Hawaii, alongside first lady Jill Biden, to tour the damage from a devastating wildfire in Maui and meet with survivors.
The storm made landfall near Emerald Isle at 6:15 a.m. on Saturday with winds close to 70 mph, later subsiding to 40 mph.
The storm hit New England and Maritime Canada with powerful winds, rough seas, heavy rain, toppling trees, flooding coasts, and cutting power.
The official death toll from the disaster has surpassed 11,000 people and officials fear that number will climb quickly in the coming days.
The White House says the president hopes to encourage all Americans to follow his example and get vaccinated.
This week, the Writers Guild of America and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers resumed talks, but no deal has been announced yet.
The southwest border saw 2.2 million migrant encounters this fiscal year, closing in on last year's 2.4 million.