https://www.theepochtimes.com/white-house-dodges-on-biden-not-talking-to-desantis-ahead-of-hurricane-ian-landfall_4758470.html

The White House dodged questions on whether President Joe Biden has spoken with Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis ahead of Hurricane Ian’s impending landfall.

“In the past, President Biden has made calls to [Republican] governors in situations like natural disasters, [such as] Kay Ivey in Alabama, Asa Hutchinson in Arkansas or the governor in Texas,” a reporter asked FEMA chief Deanne Criswell on Tuesday who was standing alongside White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre. “Can you articulate how these determinations are made and why it hasn’t been made in this case to have the president call the governor?”

In response, Criswell did not say whether Biden, a Democrat, has spoken with DeSantis, a Republican ahead of Ian’s landfall. The FEMA head said that she has spoken with DeSantis and her team is in contact constantly with the governor.

“The president is very focused on making sure the federal family has the right resources to support this,” Criswell told reporters. “That is why I contacted the governor right away, and we have a team of my senior leadership embedded with the governor to make sure that we’re supporting that.”

Criswell said the “focus today” will be “making sure that we have the right measures in place to support the lifesaving activities that need to happen.”

“Again, we have a strong team that’s in place supporting the governor right now,” Criswell also said in response to another question about whether Biden has spoken to DeSantis.

Talking to Mayors

During another event Tuesday, Biden told reporters that he spoke with the mayors of Tampa, St. Petersburg, and Clearwater, to contact him directly for aid. Those cities are in the path of Hurricane Ian.

“Forecast can change, but for now the experts say this could be a very severe hurricane, life-threatening and a devastating impact,” Biden said at the White House. “The administration is on alert and in action to help the people of Florida,” he added.

Biden added he “told each one of them in my conversations separately, whatever they need—I mean it sincerely whatever they need … contact me directly. They know how [to] do that.”

Ian is expected to strengthen further on Tuesday after cutting a swath through Cuba’s farm country west of the capital Havana and emerging over the southeastern Gulf of Mexico, reaching Category 4 strength before it approaches the west coast of Florida, the National Hurricane Center (NHC) said.

The storm surge could cause devastating to catastrophic damage with some locations potentially uninhabitable for weeks or months, the service warned, urging residents to move to safe shelter before the storm’s arrival.

The Epoch Times has contacted DeSantis’s office for comment.

Reuters contributed to this report.

Jack Phillips

Breaking News Reporter

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Jack Phillips is a breaking news reporter at The Epoch Times based in New York.

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