After meeting residents and business owners devastated by Hurricane Ian in Fort Myers, Fla., Gov. Ron DeSantis and President Biden, discussed how local, state and federal agencies can work together to help those affected by the storm.
RON DESANTIS: So I'm just thankful that everyone has banded together. We've got a lot of work to do here. But I'll tell you, the spirit of the people of this state in Southwest Florida has been phenomenal. When I'm meeting with people that have lost everything that are 85, 90 years old in shelters, and all they can do is thank the Red Cross, the fire, the state, FEMA for all the support, that shows you some of these folks. They are thankful that they have so many people that are there supporting. And that's really-- you only get there if it's a team effort.
So Mr. President, welcome to Florida. We appreciate working together across various levels of government. And the floor is yours.
JOE BIDEN: Gov, and first lady, thank you very much for the hospitality. And I want to thank the mayor and the county chair. Cecil took me on a little helicopter ride. And we went out in Sanibel Island and all across. And I mean, I'm sure it's much worse on the ground. But you can see a whole hell of a lot of the damage from the air. And you can imagine, because unfortunately, I've been to a lot of disaster areas in the last couple months, last six months.
More fires have burned in the West and the Southwest, burned everything right to the ground than the entire state of New Jersey, as much room as that takes up. And the reservoirs out West are down to almost zero. We're in a situation where the Colorado River looks more like a stream. There's a lot going on.
And I think the one thing this has finally ended is the discussion about whether or not there's climate change and we should do something about it. But folks, I also want to-- Jill and I have had you all in our prayers. And I mean that sincerely. And we're here today because we wanted to tell you in person that we're thinking of you. And we're not leaving. We're not leaving until this gets done. I promise you that.
When walk around here, what's left of Fisherman's Wharf, and you don't have to have much of an imagination to understand that everything, everything, is historic. A Titanic and unimaginable storm just ripped it to pieces. You got to start from scratch. You got to move again. And it's going to take a lot, a lot of time, not weeks or months. It's going to take years for everything to get squared away in the state of Florida to fully recover and rebuild.
We're here today with Governor DeSantis, and Senator Rubio, and Senator Scott, and Congressman Donalds. Today, we have one job and only one job. And that's to make sure the people of Florida get everything that they need to fully thoroughly recover. We're one of the few nations in the world that on a basis of crisis we face, we're the only nation that comes out of it better than we went into it. And that's what we're going to do this time around, come out of it better because this is the United States of America. And I emphasize united.