President Biden will visit Puerto Rico and Florida to assess hurricane damage

President Biden will visit Puerto Rico and Florida to assess hurricane damage

The President and First Lady will travel to Puerto Rico on Monday to assess damage after Hurricane Fiona and to Florida on Wednesday, where recovery from Hurricane Ian continues.

President Joe Biden plans to travel to Puerto Rico on Monday and Florida on Wednesday to tour and assess hurricane damage in two regions of the United States that have been significantly affected, the White House announced Saturday night.

The president, who will be joined by first lady Jill Biden, has spoken repeatedly about the devastation wrought by hurricanes, first when Hurricane Fiona hit Puerto Rico nearly two weeks ago and then in recent days as Hurricane Ian made landfall in Puerto Rico. Florida, and his desire to visit each place.

“Our hearts … are heavy,” Biden said of the hurricane damage Saturday night, during her address at the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation’s Phoenix Awards. “We owe Puerto Rico much more than what they have already received.”

Biden said the nation would do “whatever it takes to help with search and rescue, recovery and rebuilding.”

This will be Joe Biden’s first trip as president to Puerto Rico, and could contrast with a memorable visit made by then-President Donald Trump in 2017 when he threw rolls of toilet paper towels into a cheering crowd in San Juan, after that the island was devastated by Hurricane Maria.

It is not known if the president will meet with Governor Ron DeSantis, who has been a political adversary, on his trip to Florida, but the two have been communicating with each other during the devastating passage of Hurricane Ian through Florida.

Biden has called the Florida governor multiple times, and DeSantis has said that Florida is getting what it needs from the federal government. The president has also spoken with the governor of South Carolina about the damage Ian has caused in that state.

The last time Biden was in Florida was in July 2021, after a condominium in Surfside collapsed, killing 98 people in the collapse. He then met with DeSantis and promised assistance from the federal government to respond to that emergency.

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