DeSantis Accuses Biden of Playing Politics With Tornado Relief Funds: ‘Thumb Their Nose’ at Florida

( In a press conference on Friday, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis said the Biden administration and FEMA are delaying aid to Florida residents impacted by recent tornados for political reasons.

During an event at a Fort Myers mobile home community Friday morning, the governor said disaster relief should be “above politics.” But since Joe Biden became president, DeSantis said, “whatever they can do to thumb their nose at Florida,” they will “try to do it.”

On January 24, Florida had requested Individual Assistance for Lee and Charlotte Counties after severe storms and tornadoes hit on January 16. However, FEMA denied the request last Tuesday after determining the damage wasn’t severe enough or of such magnitude that state and local governments couldn’t handle it.

The Governor instructed the Florida Division of Emergency Management to immediately appeal the decision.

FDEM determined 158 homes were either destroyed or suffered major damage. According to its director Kevin Guthrie, FEMA’s refusal hasn’t necessarily slowed the recovery efforts which are being handled on a case-by-case basis.

Guthrie added that the state and local emergency management will continue their work regardless of whether federal assistance is provided.

In his remarks Friday, Governor DeSantis said the state is happy to do the work, but they also want FEMA’s Individual Assistance made available to those affected by last month’s storms. He said the federal assistance would give residents “peace of mind” and “some emotional security.” A lot of the people affected in the storm are senior citizens whose only income is Social Security, the governor explained. These are the people the Individual Assistance program is intended to help.