Biden Tours Hurricane Damage in Florida, No Meeting with DeSantis Scheduled

07:43 02.09.2023

U.S. President Joe Biden is heading to Florida on Saturday to assess the damage caused by Hurricane Idalia and provide comfort to the affected individuals. However, it has been confirmed that there will not be a meeting between Biden and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, who is also a potential presidential rival. Biden had initially stated that he would meet with the governor during his trip, but DeSantis's spokesperson later clarified that no such meeting was planned. Jeremy Redfern, the spokesperson, explained that the security preparations alone for such a meeting would disrupt ongoing recovery efforts.

Despite their political differences, Biden and DeSantis have been in regular communication throughout the week regarding the storm. Earlier, Biden had mentioned that politics had not influenced their conversations and that he believed DeSantis trusted his judgment and desire to help. The White House confirmed that Biden had informed DeSantis about the visit during a conversation on Thursday, and the governor did not raise any concerns at that time.

DeSantis, who is running for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination, has been critical of Biden on various issues such as COVID-19 vaccines, abortion, and LGBT rights. However, the two leaders had previously worked together during Biden's visit to Florida last year after Hurricane Ian. Biden had praised their collaborative efforts, stating that they had worked "hand-in-glove."

DeSantis's decision not to meet with Biden during this visit could be attributed to the intensifying Republican presidential primary race. While DeSantis currently trails former President Donald Trump in the polls, he leads the other Republican candidates in the race. The governor may not want to be photographed with Biden while overlooking the storm damage, as it could be perceived as aligning with the Democratic president instead of focusing solely on the recovery efforts in his state.

It is worth noting that former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie faced criticism during the 2012 presidential campaign when he praised President Barack Obama for his response to superstorm Sandy. DeSantis might be cautious about avoiding a similar situation and potentially alienating Republican voters.

Biden's visit to Florida comes shortly after his trip to Hawaii to assess the aftermath of deadly fires. The president emphasized the undeniable presence of the climate crisis in light of extreme weather events. After concluding his visit to Florida, Biden is scheduled to travel to his home state of Delaware for the weekend.

In response to DeSantis's decision, Biden's team stated that the visit had been planned in close coordination with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) as well as state and local leaders to ensure it would not impact ongoing response operations. The trip will also include Biden's wife, Jill Biden, accompanying him.

/ Saturday, September 2, 2023, 7:43 AM /

themes:  Joe Biden  Barack Obama  Donald Trump  Florida  New Jersey  Hawaii  Delaware

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