President Biden spoke with Florida Governor Ron DeSantis (R) on Tuesday evening, shortly after the governor told a press conference that Biden had yet to call to discuss the hurricane Ian.
“President Biden spoke to Governor DeSantis of Florida this evening to discuss the steps the federal government is taking to help Florida prepare for Hurricane Ian,” said Karine Jean-Pierre, press secretary for the White House. wrote on Twitter. “The President and the Governor are committed to continuing close coordination.”
DeSantis at a press conference earlier Tuesday night said Biden didn’t call him out, but the Florida Republican hailed Biden’s endorsement of Florida’s emergency declaration in rare praise.
“I’m happy to let the president know if he’s interested in hearing what we’re doing in Florida,” DeSantis said.
“My take on all of this is like, you’ve got people’s lives at stake, you’ve got their property at stake and we don’t have time for pettiness,” he continued. “We have to work together to make sure we’re doing the best job for them, so my phone line is open.”
The White House previously stressed that political differences between Biden and DeSantis would not affect the administration’s response to the hurricane.
DeSantis also said he has a good relationship with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), which sent personnel to Florida to help with the state’s response.
Reporters pressed FEMA Administrator Deanne Criswell during a White House press briefing earlier Tuesday about the lack of a call between Biden and DeSantis, but she said it didn’t prevented storm planning.
“The president is very focused on making sure the federal family has the right resources available to support this,” Criswell said. “That’s why I reached out to the governor immediately, and we have a team from my senior leadership that’s embedded with the governor to make sure we support that.”
Biden also held calls with the mayors of Tampa, St. Petersburg and Clearwater to discuss the hurricane’s potential impacts across the state.
Hurricane Ian is expected to make landfall on the Gulf Coast of Florida between Wednesday afternoon and early Thursday morning.