As Hurricane Ian barrels toward Florida with the potential to cause mass devastation, the life-threatening storm is also bringing together political foes.
President Joe Biden and Republican Governor Ron DeSantis have put politics aside in the name of safety for the people of Florida. On Tuesday evening, the two had a conversation and promised to work together in their response to the Category 4 hurricane.
"President Biden spoke this evening with Governor DeSantis of Florida to discuss the steps the Federal government is taking to help Florida prepare for Hurricane Ian. The President and the Governor committed to continued close coordination," White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said on Twitter.
The phone call came after DeSantis called out the president during a press conference earlier in the day for not contacting him.
"I'm happy to brief the president if he's interested in hearing what we're doing in Florida," DeSantis said, according to the Tampa Bay Times. "My view on all of this is like, you've got people's lives at stake, you've got their property at stake and we don't have time for pettiness. We gotta work together to make sure we're doing the best job for them. So my phone line is open."
"We are very focused on what the needs of Florida is right now. We do not bring politics into our ability to respond to these disasters," FEMA Director Deanne Criswell said during a press briefing at the White House on Tuesday. "We're going to support whatever Governor DeSantis asks of us. We signed his emergency declaration within hours of him sending it in. We'll continue to do that as we see what the impacts of this storm are."
The White House said the president has directed the heads of federal agencies across the government to surge all available resources to the region in preparation for potential impacts and to support response and recovery efforts in the aftermath of the storm.
The National Hurricane Center shared on Wednesday that Hurricane Ian had become "extremely dangerous," strengthening to a Category 4 storm as winds hit a maximum of 155 mph.
The hurricane is expected to bring life-threatening storm surge along much of Florida's west coast, with the highest risk from Fort Myers to the Tampa Bay region. Considerable flooding is expected across portions of Florida and into southern Georgia and South Carolina.
Officials are expecting Ian to make landfall somewhere between Fort Myers and Tampa on Wednesday.
Tension between Biden and DeSantis has been growing over the past few years with the two butting heads on several issues, including coronavirus response, vaccinations, LGBTQ laws and immigration.