White House: Biden has not called DeSantis amid planning for potentially devastating hurricane

FEMA administrator says communication between executives has "zero" bearing on planning stages.

Updated: September 27, 2022 - 3:06pm

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President Joe Biden has not reached out to Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis ahead of Hurricane Ian's potentially devastating strike on the Gulf coast of Florida later this week. 

Ian, currently a Category 3 hurricane, is projected to swing eastward through the Gulf of Mexico over Wednesday, with most projections placing it on the path of a near-direct hit on the city of Tampa, Fla., bringing with it potentially catastrophic rain amounts and storm surges.

White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre at a Tuesday press conference revealed that Biden earlier in the day had held calls with the mayors of Clearwater, Tampa and St. Petersburg. Conspicuously absent from the list of Florida officials Biden has contacted was DeSantis. 

Later in the press conference, Federal Emergency Management Agency Administrator Deanne Criswell brushed aside questions regarding the apparent snub.

"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."

Asked why Biden had talked with the mayors of the three Florida cities but not the governor, Criswell said: "Again, we have a strong team that's in place supporting the governor right now."

Hurricane Ian on Tuesday was upgraded to a still-intensifying Category 3 hurricane, with winds reported to reach upper maximums of 120 miles per hour.

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