WH won’t return praise to Storm DeSantis after claiming government gushed over Biden
White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre declined to assess Florida Governor Ron DeSantis’ performance in his response to Hurricane Ian on Friday – despite President Biden’s earlier claim that the leader Republican had congratulated him.
It’s common for politicians to put aside bickering and exchange warm words in times of crisis, but the kind remarks were only made one way 48 hours after the Category 4 hurricane tore through the southwest coast of Florida between Sarasota and Naples.
“Yesterday, President Biden said Governor DeSantis … congratulated him and praised the federal government’s immediate response,” CNN’s Kaitlan Collins told Jean-Pierre during his regular briefing. “Is this a feeling that the president sends back? Does the President think Governor DeSantis has handled the response to this well so far?
Jean-Pierre apologized, initially saying, “I can’t talk about the details of a private conversation” and that “we don’t want to make politics out of it.”
“They will continue to coordinate. They’re going to continue to have conversations,” Jean-Pierre continued, adding — contrary to Biden’s claim on Thursday of having had “four or five” calls with DeSantis — that “they had, I believe, three conversations. in just one week time on what they can do to help Florida communities.
“But I don’t want to play politics here,” repeats Jean-Pierre.
Collins went on to say, “I’m not asking about politics, I’m just asking if the president thinks Governor DeSantis has done a good job so far.”
Jean-Pierre again declined to directly assess DeSantis’ performance, saying, “I’m not going to get into who is doing a good job and… who could be doing a better job, I should say.”
On Thursday, Biden told reporters at Federal Emergency Agency headquarters that he had a “really good” relationship with DeSantis.
“He complimented me. He thanked me for the immediate response we got. He told me how much he appreciated it, said he was extremely happy with what was happening,” said Biden said “It’s not about whether or – anything having to do with our policy disagreements. It’s about saving lives, homes and businesses.”
Jean-Pierre and FEMA Administrator Deanne Criswell caused a stir on Tuesday by implying that Biden would not call DeSantis despite phoning three Florida mayors as the monstrous storm approached the state.
After receiving some backlash, Biden made his first call to DeSantis that night.