Florida Gov Ron DeSantis began a joint briefing with President Joe Biden on Wednesday, October 5, by thanking the Biden administration for supporting the state’s recovery efforts after Hurricane Ian.
DeSantis and Biden delivered remarks in Fort Myers as the president visited Lee County and took an aerial tour to survey damage.
“We were very fortunate to have good coordination with the White House and with FEMA from the very beginning of this,” DeSantis said. "We declared a state of emergency last Friday, September 23.
“This wasn’t even … this was a disturbance out there by Colombia, and then the next day we got a major disaster declaration approved by the president. We really appreciated that, and that basically set off the massive mobilization that we had ready to be able to respond to this storm,” DeSantis said.
In his remarks, Biden thanked DeSantis for his hospitality and said the administration would continue to provide support. “Today, we have one job and only one job, and that’s to make sure the people of Florida get everything that they need to fully, thoroughly recover,” Biden said.
“This is the United States of America, and I emphasize united,” Biden said. “We’ve seen extraordinary cooperation at every level of government, as the governor has said, and the cooperation began before the storm hit.”
While in Florida, Biden was scheduled to meet with local residents and small business owners impacted by Hurricane Ian, as well as federal, state, and local officials working on the recovery efforts. Credit: The White House via Storyful
RON DESANTIS: We were very fortunate to have good coordination with the White House and with FEMA. From the very beginning of this, we declared a state of emergency last Friday, September 23rd. This wasn't even, this was a disturbance out there by Columbia, and then the next day, we got a major disaster declaration approved by the President, and we really appreciated that. And that basically set off the massive mobilization that we had ready to be able to respond to this storm.
Mr. President, welcome to Florida. We appreciate working together across various levels of government, and the floor is yours.
JOE BIDEN: Well, gov, first thing, thank you very much for the hospitality. And you know, I want to thank the mayor and the County Chair. Cecil took me on a little helicopter ride, and we went out to Sanibel Island, and all across. And I mean, I'm sure it's much worse on the ground, but you can see a whole hell of a lot of the damage from the air.
And you can imagine because unfortunately, I've been to a lot of disaster areas in the last couple of months, last six months. More of, more fires have burned in the West and the Southwest, burned everything right to the ground, and the entire state of New Jersey, as much room as that takes up.
And the reservoirs out west are down to almost zero. We're in a situation where the Colorado River looks more like a stream. There's a lot going on. And I think the one thing this has finally ended is the discussion about whether or not there's climate change, we should do something about it. But folks, I also want to, Jill and I have had all in our prayers, and I mean that sincerely. And we're here today because we wanted to tell you in person that we're thinking of you, and we're not leaving. We're not leaving until this gets done. I promise you that.
You know, when you walk around here, what's left at Fisherman's Wharf, and you don't have to have much of an imagination to understand that everything, everything is historic. Titanic, an unimaginable storm, just ripped it to pieces. You got to start from scratch. How to move again. And it's going to take a lot, a lot of time. Not weeks or months. It's going to take years for everything to get squared away in the state of Florida. To fully recover and rebuild.
We're here today with Governor DeSantis, and Senator Rubio, and Senator Scott, and Congressman Donalds. You know, today we have one job, and only one job, and that's to make sure the people of Florida get everything that they need to fully, thoroughly recover. We're one of the few nations in the world that on a basis of crisis we face, we're the only nation that comes out of it better than we went into it. And that's what we're going to do this time around. Come out of it better, because this is the United States of America. And I emphasize United.
We've seen extraordinary cooperation at every level of government, as the governor has said. And the cooperation began before the storm hit. Number one priority was saving lives. At the request of the governor, I signed an emergency declaration. Let's see if this thing works. This one working?
I signed an emergency declaration that pre-positioned federal assets, including food, and water, and generators, not only in Florida, but in other states. So be ready if the worst happened, and it happened.