DeSantis held the press conference in Fort Myers, directly addressing the Biden administration denying federal assistance after EF1 and EF2 tornadoes struck both Lee and Charlotte counties last month, leaving many in dire straits. Many residents are still left cleaning up debris and have been displaced, struggling to find stable housing given the combination of rampant inflation and homes being in high demand in the Sunshine State.
After the tornadoes struck, DeSantis said, the Florida Department of Emergency Management deployed disaster and recovery staff, which conducted and did damage assessment with both Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Small Business Administration (SBA). DeSantis also declared a State of Emergency to “unlock our request to the Biden administration for individual assistance.”
“Unfortunately, that request was denied,” DeSantis said before blasting the Biden administration for that decision, denying the needed aid.
“These things should be above politics when people have needs like this. And if you look kind of, since Biden's been president, it seems like whatever they can do to thumb their nose at Florida. You know they try to do it,” he said.
“I mean, they cut our monoclonal antibodies funding,” he said to applause. “It's true. They cut our monoclonal antibody funding at the end of last summer when we had helped tens of thousands of Floridians stay out of the hospital. We no doubt saved lives … It was very successful, then they seized control of it and dramatically reduced the allotment to the state of Florida.”
DeSantis used another example, noting that they passed and signed a prescription drug bill to purchase a large scale amount of drugs cheaper from Canadian companies, working with former President Donald Trump to get it done.
“And it's still sitting around Washington and has not been approved by the Biden administration. So we literally have a warehouse in central Florida that's ready to receive all this. We'd save tens of millions of dollars but yet no approval, even though we were the first state to submit and really the state that led to all of that. So you always see instances” in which the Biden administration is doing this, DeSantis said.
“I think it's a mistake to use politics with this,” DeSantis added. “I think you got to help people when they need it.