Biden praised DeSantis' handling of the storm recovery as both men _ who have battled over pandemic protocols and migration as the governor mulls a presidential bid _ put aside politics for a few days.
President Joe Biden surveyed the devastation of hurricane-ravaged Florida on Wednesday, promising to marshal the power of the federal government to help rebuild as he comforted local residents alongside Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis, a potential 2024 foe.
Biden praised DeSantis’ handling of the storm recovery as both men _ who have battled over pandemic protocols and migration as the governor mulls a presidential bid _ put aside politics for a few days. The state is struggling to recover from the wreckage of Hurricane Ian, which tore through southwestern Florida last week and left dozens dead.
“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 a community that bore the brunt of Ian’s assault. He warned that the rebuilding effort will take months or years.
“It’s going to take a hell of a long time, hopefully without any snags in the way,” he said as DeSantis stood behind him, hands folded as he squinted into the glaring sunlight. “Later, after the television cameras have moved on, we’re still going to be here with you.”
The days after Ian’s landfall in Florida have prompted a temporary detente between Biden and DeSantis, who have spoken on the phone several three times to coordinate recovery efforts. They spent part of Wednesday meeting with area residents and, for Biden, absorbing the full scope of Ian’s devastation.
After Biden and first lady Jill Biden arrived earlier at Fisherman’s Wharf _ where homes and businesses lay in ruins amid debris and muck _ DeSantis offered his hand to the president for a shake. Next to them as they spoke was a boat that the storm had lifted into a cafe
The solidarity, however fleeting, continued Wednesday afternoon when DeSantis formally welcomed Biden to his state and praised the collaboration with officials on the ground and the federal government in Washington.
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