President Biden on Thursday announced he will travel to Florida on Saturday in the wake of Hurricane Idalia — which has now been downgraded to a tropical storm — hitting the state.
“I am going to Florida Saturday morning,” Biden said during a surprise visit to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) headquarters in Washington.
FEMA Administrator Deanne Criswell is in Florida and participated in a press conference with Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) earlier Thursday.
Biden called DeSantis before his trip to FEMA on Thursday and he has spoken to the governor every day this week in preparation for and during the storm.
The president will likely appear with DeSantis, who is seeking the 2024 GOP presidential nomination and is one of Biden’s top political rivals, while in the Sunshine State. The two met in person last year to tour storm damage in the aftermath of Hurricane Ian.
While at FEMA headquarters, Biden met with staff, shaking hands with people who stood up from their desks to greet the president. He also had pizza delivered for the staff Thursday.
“Thank you, thank you, thank you,” the president said to a group, adding that people “need hope” during disasters.
He also pressed Congress to approve his request for $12 billion in funding to replenish the disaster relief fund in the wake of Hurricane Idalia and the wildfires in Maui while visiting FEMA.
“Some of my colleagues, my former colleagues in the Senate … think that this disaster relief money we’re asking to continue to finish the job so far and have enough money to continue to work to save the American people — their lives, their homes, their well-being — is somehow, not needed,” Biden said.
“We need this disaster relief met and we need to do it in September, it can’t wait,” he added.
Biden also thanked the FEMA staffers for their hard work “with climate change really kicking in.”
“There are still some deniers out there,” he added.
The president was slated to travel to Pennsylvania on Thursday but canceled his trip and opted to visit FEMA while in Washington. He rescheduled a trip to Pennsylvania trip for next week.
Source: The Hill