HomePoliticsDeSantis will not meet Biden during the president's trip to assess the...

DeSantis will not meet Biden during the president’s trip to assess the damage in Idalia

WASHINGTON (AP) — The office of Republican Florida Governor Ron DeSantis said Friday that he has “no plans” to meet with President Joe Biden when the Democrat flies to Florida this weekend to assess the damage from Hurricane Idalia. studies, suggesting that this could impede disaster. answer.

“In these rural communities, and so soon after the impact, the security preparations alone required to set up such a meeting would halt ongoing recovery efforts,” DeSantis spokesman Jeremy Redfern said in a statement.

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

DeSantis pre-emptively leaving a meeting contradicts Biden himself, who, when asked after an event at the White House earlier Friday if he would meet DeSantis on his trip to Florida, replied, “Yes.”

It’s also a break from the recent past, since Biden and DeSantis met when the president toured Florida after Hurricane Ian hit the state last year, and after the Surfside apartment collapse in Miami Beach in the summer of 2021. But DeSantis is now running for president, and he only left the Republican primary path last week as Idalia stormed into his state.

White House spokeswoman Emilie Simons responded, “President Biden and the first lady look forward to meeting community members affected by Hurricane Idalia and exploring the impact of the storm.”

See also  Trump skips second GOP debate to deliver rival speech in Detroit

“Their visit to Florida is planned in close coordination with the Federal Emergency Management Agency and with state and local leaders to ensure there is no impact on response operations,” Simons said in her own statement.

Indeed, the politics of putting aside rivalries after natural disasters can be tricky.

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

Both Biden and DeSantis initially said helping storm victims would outweigh politics, but DeSantis began suggesting logistical issues could complicate a presidential visit later this week.

“There is a time and a place for a political season,” the governor said before Idalia landed. “But then there’s a time and a place to say this is something that’s life threatening, this is something that could potentially cost someone’s life, it could cost them their livelihood.”

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

See also  The Biden administration will offer temporary protection to almost half a million Venezuelans

“What we want to do is make sure that the power recovery continues and the relief effort continues and that we don’t experience any interruption in that,” DeSantis said. The statement that he had no intention of meeting came later, and Redfern pointed to the governor’s earlier comments when asked how Idalia’s aftermath might differ from Ian’s or Surfside’s collapse when DeSantis and Biden met. met.

DeSantis has built his bid for the White House around dismantling what he calls the Democrats’ “wake up” policy. DeSantis is also often applauded at GOP rallies by declaring it’s time to “send Joe Biden back to his basement,” a reference to the Democrat’s home in Delaware. , where he spent much of his time during the early lockdowns of the coronavirus pandemic.

Still, Biden suggested earlier this week that he and DeSantis worked together easily. While delivering pizza to employees at FEMA’s Washington headquarters, the president said he had spoken to DeSantis about Idalia so many times that there should be “an instant connection” between the two.

Homeland Security Adviser Liz Sherwood-Randall pointed to the experience after Ian and Surfside when they told reporters at the White House this week that Biden and DeSantis “are very collegial if we have to do the work together to help Americans in need, Florida citizens in need, to assist’. need.”

See also  USA Basketball striking mix of focus and fun on World Cup journey

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

The president announced his reelection opportunity in April, but has largely refrained from campaigning, preferring to lead by governing. The White House is now seeking an additional $4 billion to address natural disasters as part of its supplemental funding request to Congress — bringing the total to $16 billion and illustrating that wildfires, floods, and hurricanes that occur during a period of climate change have intensified and are increasingly impacting climate change. higher costs to the US taxpayer.

DeSantis, meanwhile, is faced with the question of whether his campaign can survive in the long run. Four months before the first ballots in the Iowa caucuses are due to be cast, DeSantis is still well behind former President Donald Trump, the dominant early frontrunner of the Republican primary. And he has repeatedly gone through campaign leadership changes and image reboots in an attempt to refocus his message.

The super PAC supporting DeSantis’ candidacy has halted its door-knock operations in Nevada, which is voting third in the Republican presidential primary, and in several states holding Super Tuesday primary elections in March — a further sign of trouble.


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

- Advertisement -


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Most Popular

Recent Comments