1:29 P.M. EDT
THE PRESIDENT: Well, Bob, thank you — thank you very much for that introduction. Bob didn’t tell you one of the most important criteria he had to be here, in addition to being a fighter, was he had two daughters-in-law and a son who went to the University of Delaware. (Laughter.)
Well, look, folks, a lot of us — and I look around the room here, from Joe Crowley and others who are no longer — we’ve been waiting for this day for a long time — a long, long time.
We got — it’s going to take a little while for some of this to kick in, but it’s locked in. It’s locked in.
And I want to thank everyone who’s here, including my Secretaries and my Cabinet members and — for their relentless — how relentlessly you worked to protect Medicare.
But before turning to the topic I want to discuss today — I hope you’ll indulge me — I want to talk a little bit about the people — the crisis people are facing in Florida right now.
Hurricane Ian made landfall in Cuba this morning as a Category 3 storm. Florida is now preparing for the — the hurricane to make landfall.
Forecasts can change, but for now, the experts say this could be a very severe hurricane — life threatening and devastating in its impact.
So I want to be clear about two main messages.
First, my administration is on alert and in action to help the people of Florida.
I’ve approved Florida’s request for emergency assistance immediately upon receiving it from the governor when I received it. And I directed my team to surge federal assistance there before the storm hit.
FEMA has already deployed 700 personnel to Florida, and the Governor has activated 5,000 state National Guard, with another 2,000 Guard coming from other states.
FEMA is also proposing — (applause) — and prepositioning 3.5 million liters of water, 3.7 million meals, and hundreds of generators.
I just spoke this morning with the areas that’ll likely be hit — the mayors of Tampa, St. Pete’s, and Clearwater.
All of them — all of them are in the storm’s path. And they’re focused on the safety of their communities, and they’re doing everything they can to get people out of harm’s way.