President Joe Biden claimed Thursday he spoke with Florida Governor Ron DeSantis (R) about the federal government response to Hurricane Ian “four or five times” after initially resisting calling the governor personally.
The White House spent most of Tuesday defending the president for resisting making a personal phone call to DeSantis prior to the storm, despite previously doing so for other governors facing damaging hurricanes.
DeSantis told reporters Tuesday evening he had not heard from Biden personally, but that he would be “happy to brief the President if he’s interested in hearing what we’re doing in Florida.”
"I’m happy to brief the President if he’s interested in hearing what we’re doing in Florida… You've got people’s lives at stake…no time for pettiness, we've gotta work together to make sure we’re doing the best job for them. So my phone line is open." @RonDeSantisFL on Biden pic.twitter.com/d2FkngDq5J
— DeSantis War Room 🐊 #FloridaStrong (@DeSantisWarRoom) September 27, 2022
“You’ve got people’s lives at stake…no time for pettiness, we’ve gotta work together to make sure we’re doing the best job for them,” he added. “So my phone line is open.”
Biden phoned DeSantis later Tuesday night; the White House confirmed the personal phone call on social media.
President Biden spoke this evening with Governor DeSantis of Florida to discuss the steps the Federal government is taking to help Florida prepare for Hurricane Ian. The President and the Governor committed to continued close coordination.
— Karine Jean-Pierre (@PressSec) September 27, 2022
The White House confirmed a second call with DeSantis Thursday morning, after the storm hit the state, causing severe damage.
.@POTUS spoke this morning with Governor Ron DeSantis of Florida to discuss the steps the Biden Administration is taking to support Florida in response to Hurricane Ian, including the issuance of a Disaster Declaration overnight.
— Karine Jean-Pierre (@PressSec) September 29, 2022
On Thursday afternoon, Biden told reporters he had spoken with DeSantis “four or five times already,” even though the White House only confirmed two phone calls.
The president took some time to pat himself on the back, telling reporters that DeSantis was very happy with his federal response to the storm.
“He complimented me, he thanked me for the immediate response we had. He told me how much he appreciated it,” Biden said, recalling his conversation. “He told me he was extremely happy with what was going on.”
Biden agreed with DeSantis about the importance of bipartisanship in the federal response.
“This is not about whether — anything having to do with our differences politically. This is about saving people’s homes, lives, businesses,” he said.