Hurricane Ian: Biden and DeSantis stress unity amid cleanup
Washington, Oct 06: Democratic US President Joe Biden met with Republican Florida Governor Ron DeSantis on Wednesday to tour the devastation from Hurricane Ian.
During his visit to Florida, Biden stressed the need for a united federal and state effort for the lengthy cleanup and recovery.
"Today we have one job and only one job, and that's to make sure the people in Florida get everything they need to fully, thoroughly recover," Biden said in Fort Myers, which bore the brunt of Ian's assault.
At least 75 people in Florida were killed by Ian. The president surveyed the destruction from a helicopter and said reconstruction could take months or even years.
"Later, after the television cameras have moved on, we're still going to be here with you," he added.
'We appreciate working together'
DeSantis has been one of Biden's most vocal critics, and he is seen as a potential contender to be the next Republican presidential candidate. But the two politicians made a point to put politics aside on Wednesday.
Biden and First Lady Jill Biden were greeted by DeSantis and his wife Casey in the waterfront neighborhood of Fisherman's Wharf.
"Mr President, welcome to Florida," the Republican governor said. "We appreciate working together."
Biden later added: "We have very different political philosophies, but we've worked hand in glove."
A change of tack
Biden's disaster response is a change in messaging from his Republican predecessor Donald Trump, who at times threatened to withhold federal disaster aid from Democratic governors who criticized him.
The president's visit to Florida comes just days after surveying the damage in Puerto Rico from Hurricane Fiona, where he had a similar message of unity and support.