President Biden will meet with Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis in person to coordinate efforts to rebuild after Hurricane Ian, the White House announced Tuesday.
White House Press Secretary Karin Jean-Pierre confirmed the meeting during a Tuesday press briefing, saying DeSantis will offer an update on recovery efforts alongside FEMA director Deanne Criswell. It will be the first time Biden and DeSantis have met face-to-face since their battle of words over the bussing of illegal immigrants to Democratic strongholds in September.
“Tomorrow President Biden and the First Lady will travel to Fort Myers Florida to reaffirm his commitment to supporting the people of Florida as they recover and rebuild from the devastating storm,” Jean-Pierre said. “While there, the president will meet with small business owners and local residents impacted by Hurricane Ian and thank the federal, state, and local officials working around the clock to provide life-saving assistance.”
“Governor DeSantis, the FEMA administrator Deanne Criswell and other state and local officials will also provide the president with an operational briefing on the current response and recovery efforts,” she added.
Hurricane Ian comes not long after Biden condemned DeSantis for sending two flights of illegal migrants to Martha’s Vineyard in Massachusetts earlier in September.
The president accused DeSantis of “playing politics” and using illegal aliens as political “props” last month.
“Republicans are playing politics with human beings, using them as props. What they’re doing is simply wrong, it’s un-American, it’s reckless,” Biden said Sept. 16.
DeSantis ripped into his critics at the time, however, pointing out that the Biden administration had already been flying migrants across the country before he took action.
“So, when Biden is flying these people all over the fruited plain in the middle of the night, I didn’t hear a peep out of those people,” DeSantis said during a rally. “I haven’t heard a peep about all the people that have been told by Biden [that migrants] can just come in — and they’re going, they’re being abused by the cartels. They’re drowning in the Rio Grande. You had 50 that died in some shed in Texas. I heard no outrage about any of that.”
Biden initially appeared hesitant to call DeSantis prior to Hurricane Ian’s landfall, but he ultimately made the call a day before the storm struck.