Despite being on the opposite side of just about every issue, President Joe Biden held a call with Florida Republican Governor Ron DeSantis late last week after he signed a major disaster declaration for the state.
During the call, the White House said that the president conveyed to DeSantis that he “ordered all available federal resources to help with the continued response to Tropical Storm Idalia.
“The president reiterated that the people of Florida have his full support as they recover from the storm.”
Now that the federal disaster declaration has been signed, federal funding will become available to any individual who was affected by the hurricane in Florida’s Taylor, Suwannee, Levy, Lafayette, Hamilton, Dixie and Citrus counties.
Additional assistance will also be available to the state of Florida, which can now receive grants to be used for things such as home repairs and temporary housing, and even low-cost loans that could cover property losses that aren’t covered by insurance.
Federal funding will also be made available to local and state governments, and to private not-for-profit organizations. Those will come on a cost-sharing basis, and can be used toward emergency work or for measures focused on hazard mitigation across the state.
Brent Howard, who works with the Federal Emergency Management Agency, was appointed to head the coordination efforts for the recovery operations for areas that were affected by the storm. Last Wednesday, the director of FEMA, Deanne Criswell, went to Florida so she could meet with DeSantis and see how the storm affected the state on the ground.
The president and DeSantis talked every day last week to talk about the recovery. This is despite the fact that the Florida governor has often criticized the president while he’s been campaigning for his run for the GOP nomination for president.
DeSantis dedicated some of his time on the debate stage last week to criticize the job that Biden has done in the White House, arguing that the country has been in complete decline ever since Biden became president.
That being said, Biden believes that he and DeSantis are on the same page when it comes to disaster recovery. Last week, Biden commented on DeSantis:
“I think he trusts my judgment and my desire to help.”
In addition to offering support for storm recovery to DeSantis and Florida, Biden also called Democratic Governor Roy Cooper of North Carolina and Republican Governors Brian Kemp of Georgia and Henry McMaster of South Carolina to offer help as well. All of their states were affected in some way by the hurricane.
While it would be difficult to term Biden and DeSantis as anything other than political rivals, this isn’t the first time they’ve put politics aside to deal with an emergency, according to The Hill.
In 2021, following the collapse of a building, Biden traveled to Florida to see the damage and meet with DeSantis and various state officials. The president did the same thing last year after Hurricane Ian decimated parts of the state.