DeSantis has “no plans” to meet Biden during a post-hurricane visit to Florida

WASHINGTON (AP) – Republican Governor of Florida Ron DeSantisThe bureau said Friday it had “no plans” to meet with President Joe Biden when the Democrat flies to Florida this weekend to assess damage Hurricane Idaliasuggesting that this could hamper disaster relief.

“In these rural communities and so soon after the impact, the very safety preparations that would be required to organize such a meeting would nullify ongoing recovery efforts,” DeSantis spokesman Jeremy Redfern said in a statement.

Idalia made landfall Wednesday morning as a Category 3 storm in Florida’s Big Bend region, causing widespread flooding and damage before moving north and inundating Georgia and the Carolinas. Biden will fly to Florida on Saturday to inspect the damage in person.

DeSantis preemptively canceling a meeting contradicts Biden himself, who, when asked after a White House event earlier Friday if he would meet DeSantis during his trip to Florida, replied “yes.”

It’s also a break from recent history, as Biden and DeSantis met when the President subsequently toured Florida Hurricane Ian met the state last year and subsequently Collapse of a beachfront condo in Miami Beach in the summer of 2021. But DeSantis is now running for president, and he exited the Republican primary just last week as Idalia rushed toward his state.

White House spokeswoman Emilie Simons responded, “President Biden and the First Lady look forward to meeting members of the Hurricane Idalia-affected community and reviewing the impact of the storm.”

“Your visit to Florida was planned in close consultation” with the Federal Emergency Management Agency “as well as state and local politicians to ensure there is no impact on relief efforts,” Simons said in her own statement.

The politics of Put aside rivalries after natural disasters can indeed be difficult.

Another 2024 presidential candidate, former Republican New Jersey governor Chris Christie, has been widely criticized in GOP circles for telling then-President Barack Obama during a tour of the damage caused to his state by Hurricane Sandy in 2012. hugged. Christie was even questioned about the incident during the first Republican presidential debate in Milwaukee last month.

Both Biden and DeSantis initially said support for storm victims was more important than politics, but as the week progressed DeSantis hinted that logistical issues could complicate a presidential visit.

“There is a time and place for a political season,” the governor said before Idalia made landfall. “But then there comes a time and place where you can say that this is something life threatening, that this could potentially cost someone their life, it could cost them their livelihood.”

On Friday, the governor told reporters about Biden, “One thing I mentioned to him on the phone” was that “it would be very disruptive if the entire security apparatus that goes with it” were with the president “because there are only a limited number of ways to get to many of the hardest-hit areas.”

“We want to ensure that power restoration and relief efforts continue and are uninterrupted,” DeSantis said. The statement not planning a meeting came later, and Redfern referenced the governor’s earlier comments when asked how the aftermath of Idalia might be different from that of Ian or the collapse of Surfside when DeSantis and Biden met .

DeSantis based his bid for the White House on dismantling what he calls the Democrats. “awakened” policies. DeSantis also frequently earns applause at GOP rallies by declaring it’s time to “send Joe Biden back to his basement,” a nod to the Democrat’s home in Delaware, where he spent much of his time during the early lockdowns of the coronavirus pandemic.

Still, Biden hinted earlier in the week that he and DeSantis would easily work together. While delivering pizzas to workers at FEMA headquarters in Washington, the president said he’s spoken to DeSantis about Idalia so many times that “there should be a direct line” between the two.

Homeland Security Advisor Liz Sherwood-Randall referred to the post-Ian and Surfside experience when she told reporters at the White House this week that Biden and DeSantis are “very collegial when we have to do the work together to help needy Americans, Florida citizens.” help.” need.”

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks Thursday in Horseshoe Beach, Fla., with owners of Shrimp Boat, Horseshoe Beach's only restaurant damaged by a storm surge during Hurricane Idalia a day earlier.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks Thursday in Horseshoe Beach, Fla., with owners of Shrimp Boat, Horseshoe Beach’s only restaurant damaged by a storm surge during Hurricane Idalia a day earlier.

AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell

And yet, post-Idalia politics could become complicated for both sides.

The president announced his bid for re-election in April, but for the most part has refrained from campaigning, preferring instead to lead the government. The White House is now looking another $4 billion To combat natural disasters as part of his request for additional funding to Congress, the total comes to $16 billion and shows that wildfires, floods and hurricanes that have intensified during an era of climate change are becoming more and more expensive to US taxpayers impose higher costs.

DeSantis, meanwhile, faces the question of whether his campaign can survive in the long run. Four months before the first ballots are cast in Iowa, DeSantis is still far behind former President Donald Trump, the dominant frontrunner in the Republican primary. And in an attempt to refocus his message, he’s undergone repeated shifts in leadership of his campaign and an image shift.

The Super PAC, which supports the DeSantis candidacy, has halted door-knocking operations in Nevada, which ranks third in the Republican presidential primary calendar, and in several states that are holding Super Tuesday primaries in March — another sign of problems.

Associated Press writer Brendan Farrington of Tallahassee, Florida, contributed to this report.

Related Articles

Back to top button