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Biden pledges support after touring Hurricane Idalia damage in Florida

The visit comes after the president's request for an additional $4 billion in disaster response funding from a divided Congress.
Posted at 12:43 PM, Sep 02, 2023

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 theAssociated 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.

Latest disasters have White House seeking more FEMA funding
President Joe Biden walks with FEMA Associate Administrator of the Office of Response and Recovery Anne Bink.

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.