President Biden on Saturday said that no intelligent person can deny the impacts of climate change after the president toured storm damage in Florida from Hurricane Idalia.
“Nobody can deny the impact of climate crises—at least nobody intelligent can deny the impact of the climate crisis anymore. Just look around, around the nation and the world for that matter,” Biden said while in Live Oak, Fla. “Historic floods, intense droughts, extreme heat, deadly wildfires that have caused serious damage that we’ve never seen before.”
He traveled to the Sunshine State to survey damage, meet with survivors and thank personnel leading the response and recovery efforts, alongside first lady Jill Biden. He was also joined by Florida Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.), Live Oak major Frank Davis and other local officials.
“These crises are affecting more and more Americans. And every American rightly expects [Federal Emergency Management Agency] to show up when they’re needed and to help in a disaster,” Biden said. “So I’m calling on the United States Congress, Democrats and Republicans, to ensure the funding is there to deal with the immediate crises, as well as our long term commitments to the safety and security of the America people.”
Biden on Friday announced he is seeking an additional $4 billion to replenish the FEMA Disaster Relief Fund, bringing the total the administration is asking Congress to approve to $16 billion.
The additional funding is in response to the Maui wildfires, for which Biden signed a major disaster declaration to support recovery efforts, and to Hurricane Idalia — quickly downgraded to a tropical storm as it moved inland from Florida toward Georgia and the Carolinas — which also required a major disaster declaration.
While in Florida, Biden and Scott thanked one another for their work on the hurricane response, a change after Biden has often bashed Scott’s policy proposals for government programs like Social Security and Medicare. Meanwhile, Florida Gov. DeSantis’ office on Friday said the governor didn’t have plans to meet with Biden, saying having the two meet up could put strain on the state’s disaster response.
The White House has expressed that they didn’t know what happened with the meeting and that the governor’s office gave no previous indication that he would not meet with Biden.