Biden snubs Florida's GOP lawmakers as Hurricane Ian approaches

Biden snubs Florida’s GOP lawmakers as Hurricane Ian approaches

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EXCLUSIVE: Hurricane Ian is set to batter the coast of Florida this week, but President Biden has yet to reach out directly to the Sunshine state’s two senators or other GOP members of the state’s congressional delegation about federal help.

Sources close to the Florida delegation told Fox News Digital that neither Biden nor White House staffers have reached out to GOP Sens. Rick Scott or Marco Rubio about what assistance might be needed as the Category 4 hurricane heads toward Florida.

Biden similarly has not reached out to some House Republicans whose districts are directly in the path of the storm. Rep. Byron Donalds, R-Fla., told Fox News Digital he has not yet been contacted by the president, but has talked with other lower-level administration officials at the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

“We haven’t received a call from the president, but FEMA has been working closely with our office,” said a spokesman for Donalds, a first-term lawmaker who is running for chairman of the House Republican Conference.

President Biden has yet to contact GOP Sens. Rick Scott or Marco Rubio about what assistance is needed as Hurricane Ian barrels towards Florida. 
(Sarah Silbiger/Bloomberg via Getty Images  |  Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

HURRICANE IAN NEARS CATEGORY 5 STRENGTH AHEAD OF LANDFALL IN FLORIDA

The White House did not immediately return requests for comment on this story.

Apart from FEMA, lawmakers have been in contact with officials at the National Weather Service and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration as the storm has inched closer to Florida.

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Fox News Digital was also told that Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas had spoken directly with Scott and Rubio earlier this week about the storm.

Despite not talking with Biden directly, Rubio told Fox & Friends on Wednesday that the federal government has been active in backing up Florida’s efforts to mitigate the storm’s potential damage.

Despite not talking with President Biden directly, Senator Marco Rubio said federal government has been active in backing up Florida's efforts to mitigate the storm's damage.

Despite not talking with President Biden directly, Senator Marco Rubio said federal government has been active in backing up Florida’s efforts to mitigate the storm’s damage.
(Paul Morigi/Getty Images)

“The federal response is to provide the state [with] whatever the state needs or might need,” said Rubio. “So far, from what I have heard and deduced … no Florida request has gone unfulfilled.”

Biden initially came under fire earlier this week for not contacting Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis as the storm intensified off the state’s coast. DeSantis told reporters on Tuesday that he had not heard from the president directly, but offered praise for Biden’s decision to issue approve an emergency deceleration for the state. 

“My view on all this is like, you’ve got people’s lives at stake, you’ve got their property at stake, and we don’t have time for pettiness,” DeSantis said at a press briefing. “We got to work together to make sure we’re doing the best job for them, so my phone line is open.”

"We got to work together to make sure we’re doing the best job for them, so my phone line is open," said Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis. 

“We got to work together to make sure we’re doing the best job for them, so my phone line is open,” said Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis. 
(REUTERS/Joe Skipper)

DeSantis’ remarks sparked widespread criticism of Biden from conservative critics. The president responded by calling the governor late-Tuesday evening, according to White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre.

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“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,” said Jean-Pierre. “The president and the governor committed to continued close coordination.”

White House officials have stressed since the controversy that Biden has spoken to both Democratic and Republican mayors of Florida cities within Hurricane Ian’s path.



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