President Biden visited Florida to survey damage caused by Hurricane Ian on Wednesday and was caught joking in an explicitly heated microphone conversation with a local official.
“No f—- with a Biden,” the president appeared to tell Fort Myers Beach Mayor Ray Murphy.
“Yeah, you’re go—– right,” replied the mayor, laughing.
The President and First Lady Jill Biden visited Fisherman’s Wharf in Fort Myers, where homes and businesses were destroyed by Hurricane Ian last week.
“Today we have one job and one job only, and that’s to make sure the people of Florida get everything they need to make a full, thorough recovery,” Biden told the community, along with Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and first responders.
“We’re here today because we wanted to tell you personally that we’re thinking about you and that we’re not leaving. We’re not leaving until this is done.”
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Biden extended the federal relief he first enacted before the storm by 30 days, making the aid package available for 60 days as Florida works to rebuild in the hurricane’s wake.
Governor DeSantis, a frequent critic of Biden who could potentially face him in the 2024 presidential election, praised the cooperation between agencies at all levels of government.
“One of the things you see in this response: We’re cutting through the red tape. We’re cutting through the red tape, and that’s from local government, state government all the way up to the president,” DeSantis said Wednesday.
This is not the first time that the president has been caught on a hot microphone. After then-President Barack Obama signed the Affordable Care Act into law in March 2010, Biden turned to him and whispered, “This is a big damn deal.”
Biden’s remarks in Florida came the same day the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries announced it would cut oil production by 2 million barrels a day.
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White House officials said they were “disappointed by the short-sighted decision,” but industry leaders appeared to mock the president in response.
“WH has one opportunity left, and it’s the one opportunity they should never have turned away from in the first place – the US-based oil and gas industry,” the American Oil and Gas Association tweeted Wednesday. “Life comes at you pretty fast…”