President Joe Biden announced on Thursday that he will be visiting Florida this Saturday to assess the damage caused by Hurricane Idalia. The storm hit the state's Big Bend region on the Gulf Coast as a powerful Category 3 hurricane, bringing strong winds, heavy rain, and flooding. Biden made the announcement during a visit to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) headquarters, where he thanked emergency personnel for their efforts in responding to both the Maui wildfires and Hurricane Idalia.
During the White House press briefing, Homeland Security adviser Elizabeth Sherwood-Randall revealed that President Biden plans to visit the areas that were most impacted by the hurricane. She also mentioned that Biden had spoken with Governor Ron DeSantis, who is currently seeking the 2024 Republican presidential nomination, to discuss federal assistance in response to the hurricane. The two leaders have been in communication both on Thursday and the day before, and it is likely that they will meet during Biden's visit to Florida.
Sherwood-Randall emphasized the cooperative relationship between President Biden and Governor DeSantis, stating that they have previously worked together to help citizens in need during previous disasters. She did not provide any specific details about the visit, as plans are still being made. However, she did highlight the importance of their collaboration in addressing the needs of the affected Floridians.
In addition to his visit to Florida, President Biden also called on Congress to replenish FEMA's disaster fund, which is expected to run out within weeks. The depletion of funds could potentially delay the federal response to future natural disasters, which is why Biden urged for immediate action. FEMA Administrator Deanne Criswell had previously warned that the emergency funds could be depleted by mid-September, causing delays in recovery projects.
Before announcing his visit to Florida, President Biden had recently traveled to Hawaii to assess the damage caused by the wildfires on Maui. He described the devastation as “pure” and commented on the complete destruction of the affected area. Now, his attention has turned to Florida, where he aims to survey the damage caused by Hurricane Idalia and provide federal assistance to aid in the state's recovery efforts.
themes: Joe Biden Florida Hawaii