Hurricane Ian’s devastation of the Florida peninsula put a pause on most partisan rhetoric, and Charlie Crist expects it to stay that way.
Crist, interviewed Thursday on MSNBC, told host Hallie Jackson that he didn’t anticipate “roadblocks to aid” (in Jackson’s phrasing) between the President Joe Biden’s White House and Gov. Ron DeSantis.
“Well, I certainly hope not. And I wouldn’t think so,” Crist said.
“Hopefully everybody works together,” Crist added. “This is an American problem. This is an American issue. Certainly I’m focused on Florida. It’s my home state, but my goodness, what’s happening here is going to take all of us working together.”
“It’s no time, obviously, for any kind of politics. It’s a time for humanity. It’s a time for decency. It’s a time for all the love we can muster for these people who are going through such a horrible tragedy as we speak today.”
Crist has softened partisan rhetoric as the storm approached, even as he offered sharp criticisms before the storm of the state’s troubled property insurance market. His comments Thursday on cable news were the latest illustration of how Hurricane Ian’s path of destruction reshaped Florida politics in the 2022 cycle.
Biden said that he’d talked about Ian’s response to Gov. Ron DeSantis “four, five times” on Thursday, and noted that DeSantis “complimented” him for the federal response, and that complimentary tone has extended even to recent Fox News prime-time interviews with Sean Hannity and Tucker Carlson in recent days.
“We have been completely responsive to the Governor of Florida — everything he’s needed and asked for,” Biden said in Thursday morning comments that addressed the fulfillment of DeSantis’ Federal Emergency Management Agency reimbursement requests. “And it’s a lot.”
And as comments from DeSantis and Biden Thursday suggested, it may be a lot more still.
“I just spoke with the President this morning and he offered support,” DeSantis said. “I told them that thanks for this but because the storm has moved inland and caused a lot of potential damage in the center part of our state that we were going to be asking for those counties to be expanded.”
Biden appeared to concur.
“I don’t think we’re going to know the consequence of this hurricane until tomorrow afternoon, because we have to figure out — first of all, it hadn’t finished going through, No. 1,” Biden said. “But No. 2, we’re also not in a situation where we know what — most of the damage and most of the people who get hurt are in the aftermath. And so there’s a lot going on.”
Anne Geggis of Florida Politics contributed to this report.