'I don’t understand' how Washington funds disasters after voting against hurricane relief: DeSantis

'I don’t understand' how Washington funds disasters after voting against hurricane relief: DeSantis

Governor Ron DeSantis, the former three-term U.S. Congressman now running for the Republican nomination for president, on Friday told reporters he would accept federal financial assistance for his state in the wake of Hurricane Idalia, while saying Florida funds disasters “ahead of time,” and claiming he doesn’t understand how federal government disaster funding works despite having voted against disaster relief for New York and New Jersey after Hurricane Sandy.

“You know, how Washington handles all this stuff, I don’t quite understand,” Governor DeSantis responded (video below) when a reporter asked if he supports President Joe Biden’s call for Congress to provide FEMA with an additional $4 billion for disaster relief.

“I mean, in the state of Florida, we did, you know, we fund disasters ahead of time. So we have a fund that we created since I’ve been governor to be able to do this because, you know, you hope you don’t have them, but the reality is, I mean, these things just just happen.”

During Friday’s press conference DeSantis specifically asked for donations to that official fund, which is private.

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“They just did a big budget deal and did not include that,” he continued, adding that Congress “included a lot of money for a lot of other stuff.”

“So hopefully, I trust our our senators and congressmen, hopefully to be able to be able to work it out in a good way. You know, my, as governor, I’m going to be pulling whatever levers I can to be able to help folks and so that’s the state we’re mobilizing all of our state assets. Private sector, we’re leveraging that, and we will apply for whatever federal money is available.”

Governor DeSantis will have an opportunity to ask President Joe Biden, who has already pledged assistance to help Florida after Idalia, for additional funding on Saturday when the President comes to the Sunshine State to tour and likely meet with those affected by the storm. CNN reports the President confirmed he will meet with DeSantis during his visit. Biden had already “approved a major disaster declaration for the state,” where he announced his upcoming visit. “Biden spoke with DeSantis by phone earlier Thursday to inform him of the declaration.”

CNN also reports “Biden spoke with DeSantis multiple times ahead of and during the hurricane. The governor was set to meet with FEMA Administrator Deanne Criswell to assess needs on Thursday. He joked Thursday that he should have the Republican governor ‘on direct dial’ given how often they’re speaking.”

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During his press conference Friday, when asked if he would be meeting with President Biden Saturday, DeSantis declined to confirm.

“I don’t have details,” he told reporters.

On Thursday, Politico reported, “Ron DeSantis had just been sworn in as a member of the House in 2013 when he voted against sending $9.7 billion in disaster relief to New York and New Jersey, two states still reeling from the damage of Hurricane Sandy.”

Watch DeSantis below or at this link.

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