Karl Rove—former Deputy Chief of Staff to Republican President George W. Bush—contradicted Fox News personality Jesse Watters after Watters claimed Democratic President Joe Biden is not leading an adequate federal response to Hurricane Ian.
Watters attempted to portray Biden as dragging his feet over the crisis even though Florida Republican Governor Ron DeSantis very publicly thanked the Biden administration for its assistance.
In response Rove contradicted him, noting the federal government responded quickly and approved DeSantis' request for emergency aid before the hurricane made landfall.
You can watch what happened in the video below.
At the top of the news segment, Watters asked:
“Do you think if Ron DeSantis renamed Florida ‘Ukraine,’ Joe Biden would give him the federal aid faster?”
To that, Rove responded:
“Well, you know what? He did, and Governor DeSantis made this point: that the federal government… the state of Florida sent its initial request, they immediately responded, and said yes."
“They made a request for what’s called individual assistance. And you heard the governor just now reflect on it. The federal government immediately responded and said yes.”
“So far, we haven’t seen politics when it comes to the delivery of the aid. And let’s hope not. Let’s hope that the emergency officials in charge of the federal entity that has to relate to the state keep the politics out of it."
"That’s what—in Republican and Democratic administrations alike—they’ve done in the past. Let’s hope that they continue to do it in the future.”
Rove is correct.
Earlier this week, DeSantis urged residents to take the storm seriously and said there will be more requests for federal assistance for those displaced by the storm.
He confirmed he'd liaisoned with the federal government and spoken to Democratic President Joe Biden. DeSantis later told Fox News personality Sean Hannity "we all need to work together regardless of party lines," noting the Biden administration quickly "approved our request for a pre-landfall declaration."
DeSantis and Biden have previously been at odds as DeSantis—a GOP favorite to run in 2024—criticized the Biden administration on everything from immigration to Democrats' efforts to protect reproductive rights.
The White House stressed the political differences between Biden and DeSantis would not affect the federal government's disaster response—a marked difference from the Trump administration.
Biden himself confirmed on September 29 he had approved federal aid to individuals in nine counties, which makes affected residents eligible for up to $37,900 for home repairs and the same amount to cover lost personal property.
Many criticized Watters and Fox News in response to the segment.
Hurricane Ian made landfall as a Category 4 storm. Millions of people in Florida were told to evacuate and those that didn't were instructed to hunker down at the risk of facing maximum winds clocking in at 155 miles per hour as well as storm surges and flash floods.
Earlier this week, the storm battered the island of Cuba, killing two people in the city of Pinar del Rio. Millions in the country are without power after Ian caused the entire power grid to collapse.
The storm weakened to a Category 2 before moving back out to the Atlantic and is currently barreling toward South Carolina, where a significant storm surge is impacting the popular tourist destination of Myrtle Beach.