Screengrab via DeSantis/Twitter
State and federal officials have put aside political differences as Hurricane Ian prepares to hammer Florida.
During a White House press briefing Tuesday, Federal Emergency Management Agency Administrator Deanne Criswell said she talked with Gov. Ron DeSantis on Friday, a day before President Joe Biden signed off on a federal emergency declaration.
She also said “extensive” and “coordinated” preparations have been made by state and federal agencies as Ian is forecast to hit Florida’s Gulf Coast on Wednesday.
“We do not bring politics into our ability to respond to these disasters,” Criswell said. “We're going to support whatever Gov. DeSantis asks of us.”
DeSantis acknowledged the call on Sunday and said he “appreciated” the president quickly signing the emergency action.
Biden and DeSantis frequently clash on issues, from the president’s policies on the border and economy to the governor flying migrants from Texas to Martha’s Vineyard in Massachusetts.
Criswell said FEMA Regional Administrator Gracia Szczech arrived Monday in Florida and is embedded at the state Emergency Operations Center. Biden held separate calls Tuesday with Tampa Mayor Jane Castor, St. Petersburg Mayor Ken Welch and Clearwater Mayor Frank Hibbard to discuss storm preparations, according to the White House.
“President Biden said that he has directed FEMA Administrator Criswell to ensure that all available federal support is surged to prepare in advance and to respond in the aftermath of the storm to augment state and local emergency response efforts, and emphasized the importance of encouraging families to heed evacuation orders,” a summary said.