Why didn’t Biden call DeSantis? White House laced with questions about why president spoke to three Florida mayors — but not Republican governor — as Hurricane Ian heads for state
- White House dodged questions as to why Biden still hasn’t named Republican Governor Ron DeSantis as Category 3 hurricane barrels heading toward Florida
- Biden has called mayors of three Florida cities expected to be hit
- FEMA Administrator Deanne Criswell confirmed she spoke with DeSantis on Friday about storm preparation
- In the past, the president has spoken to GOP governors about weather-related emergencies affecting their states
Joe Biden still hasn’t spoken to Governor Ron DeSantis because a Category 3 hurricane is headed for Florida, and his administration dodged questions about why the call didn’t come before the storm made landfall.
The president made separate calls to three Florida mayors, two Democrats and a Republican, but did not call the GOP governor as his state braces for Hurricane Ian to land this week.
Biden spoke to Republican governors Kay Ivey of Alabama, Asa Hutchinson of Arkansas and Greg Abbott of Texas when they were all dealing with weather-related emergencies as well.
“In the past, President Biden has called governors in situations such as natural disasters,” noted a reporter when questioning FEMA administrator Deanne Criswell during Tuesday’s White House press conference.
“Can you explain how these determinations were made and why it was not done in this case to have the president call the governor?” they asked.
Criswell dodged the question, noting that she spoke with DeSantis on Friday and placed senior members of her team with the governor to help meet the needs created by the approaching storm.
White House dodged questions about why President Joe Biden still hasn’t named Republican Governor Ron DeSantis as a Category 3 hurricane barrel toward Florida
“The president is very focused on making sure the federal family has the right resources to support this,” Criswell said. “That’s why I contacted the governor right away and we have a team from my senior leadership embedded with the governor to make sure we support that.”
“Our focus today is to make sure we have taken the right measures,” she added.
Criswell noted that “President Biden signed Governor DeSantis’ pre-landing emergency declaration request on Saturday” as further proof of coordination between the federal government and Florida authorities.
When he insisted on why Biden called the mayors and not the governor, Criswell declined to answer the question directly.
“Again, we have a strong team supporting the governor right now,” she said.
DeSantis has emerged as a future face of the GOP and has been put forward as a potential Republican presidential candidate. He’s also become quite a controversial figure, which was only exacerbated by the fact that he flew 50 migrants on a private plane to Martha’s Vineyard Island earlier this month.
The governor’s office has confirmed that he has not heard from President Biden himself about the approaching storm.
A couple closes their restaurant in St. Petersburg, Florida, on Tuesday, September 27, as they prepare for the arrival of Hurricane Ian
“The FEMA clerk and I just got out of the Oval Office where the president also had separate conversations with Tampa Mayor Jane Castor, St. Petersburg Mayor Ken Welch and Clearwater Mayor Frank Hibbard,” White House Press Secretary Karine Jean- Pierre said Tuesday at the top of her briefing before handing over the podium to Criswell.
She added: “They discussed planning and preparation for Hurricane Ian.”
Hurricane Ian has been upgraded to a Category 3 hurricane this week as it is expected to make landfall near Tampa on Florida’s gulf coast from Wednesday night to Thursday morning. By the time it hits land, it could strengthen to a Category 4 storm, according to AccuWeather.
While other reporters tried to clarify why Biden and DeSantis had not spoken, Criswell repeatedly stated that the duo’s lack of contact would not affect the response of FEMA and other entities to the storm.