DeSantis, Biden swap praise on Ian relief, then prez jabs gov on global warming

DeSantis, Biden swap praise on Ian relief, then prez jabs gov on global warming

President Biden and Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis gave each other rave reviews Wednesday for their response to Hurricane Ian — before Biden appeared to backhand DeSantis by saying the “biggest thing” he did was “recognize there’s a thing called global warming.”

“What the governor has done is pretty remarkable so far,” Biden told reporters after speaking alongside DeSantis at a press briefing in Fort Myers.

“The biggest thing the governor has done and so many others have done is they recognize there’s a thing called global warming. The world is changing.”

DeSantis said in 2018 that “I am not a global warming person” and in December of last year added, “when people start talking about things like global warming, they typically use that as a pretext to do a bunch of left-wing things.”

Biden then pivoted Wednesday from global warming to calling for local officials to consider steel telephone polls and zoning restrictions to forbid rebuilding near coastlines.

Florida Gov. DeSantis speaks with Jill and Joe Biden.
Florida Gov. DeSantis speaks with Jill and Joe Biden.
Evelyn Hockstein/REUTERS
Biden, DeSantis
Biden seemed to take a jab at DeSantis regarding global warming.

In response to another question about DeSantis, Biden told reporters: “I think he’s done a good job. Look I called him, I think, even before he called me, when I heard this storm was on its way. We worked hand in glove. We have very different political philosophies, but we worked hand in glove. And he’s been on things related to dealing with this crisis, we’ve been completely lockstep. There’s been no difference.”

While sharing a stage in Fort Myers, both men avoided barbs and said the other was doing fine work — despite recent policy clashes on issues such as management of the US-Mexico border.

“We were very fortunate to have the coordination with the White House and with FEMA for the very beginning of this,” DeSantis said. “We declared a state of emergency last Friday, Sept. 23 … And then the next day, we got a major disaster declaration approved by the president. And we really appreciated that and that basically set off the massive mobilization that we had ready.”

Biden, DeSantis speaking
Biden visited Fort Myers on October 5.
Evan Vucci/AP
President and First Lady Biden tour wreckage left behind from Hurricane Ian with DeSantis.
Biden and first lady Jill tour wreckage left behind from Hurricane Ian with DeSantis.

“We are cutting through the red tape, and that’s from local government, state government all the way up to the president,” the governor added. “So we appreciate the team effort.”

Biden, speaking after DeSantis, said, “Gov, let me first tell you thank you very much for the hospitality” before swerving into his thoughts on climate change causing natural disasters to be more severe — a point of view widely embraced by Democrats but often doubted by Republicans.

“I’ve been to a lot of disaster areas in the last couple of months — the last six months,” Biden said.

“You know, more of — more fires have burned in the west and southwest, burned everything right to the ground And the reservoirs out west are down to almost zero,” Biden said. “The Colorado River looks more like a stream. There’s a lot going on. And I think the one thing this is finally ended is a discussion about whether or not there’s climate change. And we should do something about it.”

But Biden also shared credit with DeSantis, saying that the various actions he took to boost the reimbursement rate for Florida recovery efforts came at DeSantis’ request.

“This is the United States of America and I emphasize United,” Biden said. “We’ve seen extraordinary cooperation at every level of government, as the governor has said. And the cooperation began before the storm hit.”

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