TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — President Joe Biden announced his intention to visit Florida after Hurricane Ian slammed into the state’s southwest coast, ravaging entire communities and leaving hundreds without a home.
“We are continuing to see deadly rainfall, catastrophic storm surges, roads, and homes flooded,” Biden said. “We’re seeing millions of people without power and thousands hunkered down in schools and community centers wondering when they’ll be able to go home — or even if they have a home to go to.”
Biden made his announcement to visit Florida at end of his remarks during a FEMA press conference Thursday saying he intends to thank first responders in person.
“Everyone hard at work in Florida right now deserves our thanks,” Biden said. “When the conditions allow, I’m going to go to Florida to thank them personally so we don’t get in the way.”
Biden’s announcement comes after he approved Gov. Ron DeSantis’ request for a Major Disaster Declaration, releasing federal funds to Florida counties most affected by Hurricane Ian.
“The federal government will cover 100 percent of the cost to clear debris and for all the cost the state has to expend to save lives,” Biden added. “We are going to do our best to build Florida back as quickly as possible. But we’re not going to be leaving. We’re going to build it back with the state and local government. However long it takes, we’re going to be there. That’s my commitment to you.”
While it wasn’t immediately clear when the president will arrive in Florida, he said he intends to meet with Governor DeSantis if or when he is available to meet.