On Thursday, President Joe Biden praised the Federal Emergency Management Agency for its response to Hurricane Ian, telling the room full of FEMA workers that they are helping to restore America’s faith in their government.
After attending a FEMA briefing on the hurricane’s devastation in Florida, Biden stopped to speak to the workers. According to Biden, faith in government institutions has been eroding over the past six to 10 years.
Biden said at the FEMA headquarters, “You are reinforcing people’s faith in institutions. Thank you, thank you, thank you.”
Part of Biden’s agenda has always been to restore trust in government and its institutions. This was a big focal point of his campaign for president as he challenged Donald Trump in 2020. Biden signed an executive order aimed at this during his first year in office, making it easier for Americans to renew passports, apply for Social Security and receive aid after facing natural disasters. This idea is to put public interest and customer service at the center of government operations.
The public’s trust in government has remained low throughout much of the 21st Century. But the data is approaching an all-time low. Just 20 percent of Americans feel that “they trust the government in Washington to do the right thing just about always or most of the time,” according to the latest research from Pew Research Center.
During his speech Thursday, Biden thanked FEMA again and other federal employees for their emergency response.
He said, “I’ve seen you in action all across the country from the West coast of the Northwest and the Northeast, down in Louisiana, all across the country. And just in the last two weeks, you’ve been working 24/7. No matter what, when emergencies happen, FEMA is always there. You deserve the nation’s gratitude and full support.”
When asked about his calls with GOP Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis on Thursday, Biden brushed off the divergent politics and rhetorical sparring between the two men that have escalated in recent weeks ahead of November’s midterm elections. Biden has already issued a disaster declaration for the state, which will provide Florida with federal aid to supplement state, local and tribal recovery efforts in areas that have been heavily affected. Biden also said that he would travel to Florida when conditions allow.