SURFSIDE, Fla. — Gov. Ron DeSantis has been a vocal critic of President Joe Biden and his administration, but he had nothing but praise for the president on Thursday.
DeSantis praised Biden’s federal response to the Surfside collapse in a rare, but moving moment of bipartisanship between the leader of the Democratic Party and a rising star within the Republican Party.
"Thank you, Mr. President," DeSantis said. "You recognized the severity of this tragedy from day one and you've been very supportive."
The governor also noted that "you guys have not only been supportive at the federal level, but we've had no bureaucracy," prompting Biden to promise, "There will be none."
Resting his hand on DeSantis’ arm, Biden said, "What you’re doing, in coordination among you all, has been just admirable. It really is impressive and so I just want to say thanks and listen and find out what I can do as President and what I can unleash, in terms of help, for whatever you need."
Biden says FEMA will "pick up 100 percent of the cost for the county and the state for 30 days" and noted that 500 first responders from FEMA are on the ground.
Biden offered to keep an open line of communication between Florida officials and himself.
"I just want to, you know, start the day, if I could, getting as thorough briefing as you’re able to give me, and tell me what you need," said Biden. "And that goes for both the senators and the congresswoman and anyone in Florida, just to pick up the phone to the Oval."
Biden echoed his message of unity at a news conference.
"Our message today is that we're here for you as one nation," he said. "There's no Democrat or Republican out there; there’s just people wanting to do the right thing for their fellow Americans."