WH Press Secretary: ‘Yesterday, President Biden Spoke with Governor DeSantis’

Melanie Arter | September 28, 2022 | 4:04pm EDT
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White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre speaks during the daily briefing in the Brady Briefing Room of the White House in Washington, DC, on September 28, 2022. (Photo by OLIVER CONTRERAS/AFP via Getty Images)
White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre speaks during the daily briefing in the Brady Briefing Room of the White House in Washington, DC, on September 28, 2022. (Photo by OLIVER CONTRERAS/AFP via Getty Images)

(CNSNews.com) - After facing questions about why President Biden hasn’t spoken to Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis ahead of Hurricane Ian, the White House announced Wednesday that he has spoken to the governor and local mayors to discuss steps the federal government is taking to prepare for the storm.

As CNSNews.com previously reported, FEMA Administrator Deanne Criswell said that despite Biden not speaking directly to DeSantis, “the president directed me to contact the governor early on before we even did the declaration.”


“We do not bring politics into our ability to respond to these disasters,” Criswell said, adding that “We are going to support whatever Governor DeSantis asks of us. We signed his emergency declaration within hours of him sending it in.”

“As you heard from the president just this morning, this administration is ready to help the people of Florida in every way possible, and when the storm passes, we will be there to help Florida rebuild and recover. We are committed to seeing this through,” White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre announced Wednesday.

“Yesterday, President Biden spoke with Governor DeSantis as well as Tampa Bay area mayors to discuss the steps the federal government is taking to help Florida prepare for Hurricane Ian, and tomorrow, he will visit FEMA’s headquarters to receive a briefing on federal response efforts for Hurricane Ian,” she said.

“Already we have deployed significant federal resources to the region to help prepare for the hurricane. We have more than 1300 federal response workers on the ground in Florida. There are 3.7 million meals and 3.5 million liters of water prepositioned in Alabama,110,000 gallons of fuel and 18,000 pounds of propane pre-staged for immediate deployment,” the press secretary said.

She also announced that “300 Army Corps personnel are on the ground to support power and fuel assessments.” Additionally, “300 ambulances are supporting local officials, and multiple federal disaster medical assistance teams are deployed to Florida and Georgia.

“As president said this morning, this storm is incredibly dangerous and life threatening. Heed warnings from state and local officials. If you’re told to shelter in place, please do so. Shelter in place,” Jean-Pierre said.

“Additionally, we know that disruptions from hurricanes can pose challenges to markets, but the latest projections show that major refineries should not be impacted by Hurricane Ian. As the president said today, oil and gas companies should not use this moment as an excuse to raise gas prices,” the press secretary added.

“On the DeSantis call, did they just speak about the hurricane? Could you elaborate more on the tone of the conversation given the complex relationship there?” ABC News White House Correspondent Cecilia Vega asked.

“Again, there’s no politics in this. When we talk about extreme weather, when we talk about what we’re seeing right now with a Category 4 hurricane about to – any moment now– about to hit the coast of Florida. This is about the people of Florida,” Jean-Pierre said.

“This is about two people who wanted to have a conversation on how we can be partners to the governor and his constituents and make sure that we are delivering for the people of Florida.That is the focus, and that’s going to continue to be the focus these next couple of days,” the press secretary said.

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