President Trump will make his way to Panama City Beach, Florida Wednesday evening for a re-election rally in one of his favorite states.
Florida lawmakers are hopeful Trump will announce a plan that will aid the region that was battered by Hurricane Michael just months ago. “We truly are a forgotten storm,” Bay County Commissioner Philip “Griff” Griffitts told The Tampa Bay Times.
Griffits, who represents one of the most pro-Trump districts in the state, told NPR that a political rally is not on the minds of citizens in the area.
“As much as Bay County votes Republican, we don’t need a political rally right now,” Griffits said. “We need some good news from the federal government.”
President Trump visited the area shortly after Hurricane Michael ravaged the panhandle killing 49 people, leaving 15 million cubic yards of debris, causing an estimated $6 billion of insured losses and destroying a major military installation, the Tyndall Air Force Base.
Residents are starting to get frustrated with the federal government as the Panama City News Herald reports that it has been more than 200 days since the storm decimated the panhandle, yet they still have not received supplemental disaster relief funding.
Playing Politics With the Panhandle
During a recent press conference in Tallahassee, Panama City Representative Jay Trumbull mentioned how fed up he was with Washington.
“The fact that Congress is playing politics with the Panhandle is absolutely out of control, insane, a travesty, there are probably not enough adjectives used to describe the incompetence of what that place is doing,” the Republican Representative said. “The fact that we don’t have a disaster supplemental [plan] is terrible.”
Trump and Congress have failed to come to an agreement on a disaster relief package, mainly because of their disagreements on how much aid should flow to Puerto Rico – the United States territory still recovering from Hurricane Maria.
“The bureaucracy of FEMA is very impressive, and that’s not meant to be a compliment,” Griffitts said. “The processes and bureaucracy of the federal government has been painful at times.”
Governor Ron Desantis Remains Hopeful
After Florida lawmakers approved and sent a $91 billion spending package, including $1.8 billion toward recovery to Governor Ron Desantis last week lawmakers and residents are getting impatient with the federal government.
“I think what the president owes everyone an explanation,” Don Gaetz said Tuesday. “The people in the Panhandle want to know why the funding is being held up and what he’s going to do about it.”
Don Gaetz is the chairman of Triumph Gulf Coast Consortium, a non-profit created to help relieve the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill. He is also the father of Republican Representative Matt Gaetz, an ardent Trump supporter.
Florida Governor Ron Desantis is hopeful for the rally though. After visiting with President Trump in the White House Monday, he said he hopes Trump comes to his rally with a concrete announcement.
“Why would you want to come unless you are going to announce more good news?” Desantis told reporters on Saturday.