Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis ‘ workplace mentioned Friday that he isn’t going to fulfill with President Joe Biden when the Democrat flies to Florida this weekend to survey harm from Hurricane Idalia, suggesting that doing so may hinder catastrophe response.
“In these rural communities, and so soon after impact, the security preparations alone that would go into setting up such a meeting would shut down ongoing recovery efforts,” DeSantis spokesman Jeremy Redfern mentioned in a press release.
Idalia made landfall Wednesday morning alongside Florida’s Big Bend area as a Category 3 storm, inflicting widespread flooding and harm earlier than transferring north to drench Georgia and North Carolina. Biden is about to fly to Florida on Saturday to tour the harm personally.
But DeSantis preemptively heading off a gathering contradicts Biden himself, who, when requested after an occasion on the White House earlier Friday whether or not he would meet with DeSantis throughout his journey to Florida, replied, “Yes.”
It’s additionally a break from the current previous, since Biden and DeSantis met when the president toured Florida after Hurricane Ian hit the state final yr, and following the Surfside condominium collapse in Miami Beach in summer season 2021. But DeSantis is now working for president, and he solely left the Republican major path final week with Idalia barreling towards his state.
The politics of placing apart rivalries following pure disasters might be difficult. Another 2024 presidential candidate, former Republican New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, was extensively criticized in GOP circles for embracing then-President Barack Obama throughout a tour of injury 2012’s Hurricane Sandy did to his state. Christie was even requested in regards to the incident final month, through the first Republican presidential debate in Milwaukee.
Both Biden and DeSantis at first recommended that serving to storm victims would outweigh politics. But DeSantis’ sentiments started to shift because the week wore on.
“There’s a time and a place to have political season,” the governor mentioned earlier than Idalia made landfall. “But then there’s a time and a place to say that this is something that’s life threatening, this is something that could potentially cost somebody their life, it could cost them their livelihood.”
By Friday, although, the governor was telling reporters of Biden, “one thing I did mention to him on the phone” was “it would be very disruptive to have the whole security apparatus that goes” with the president “because there are only so many ways to get into” most of the hardest hit areas.
That finally prompted the assertion saying DeSantis would shun a gathering.
Such sentiment is in step with a governor constructing his White House bid round dismantling what he calls Democrats’ “woke” policies. DeSantis also frequently draws applause at GOP rallies by declaring that it’s time to send “Joe Biden back to his basement,” a reference to the Democrat’s Delaware home, where he spent much of his time during the early lockdowns of the coronavirus pandemic.
Still, Biden suggested earlier in the week that he and DeSantis were cooperating easily. While delivering pizzas to workers at the Washington headquarters of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the president said he’d spoken to DeSantis so frequently about Idalia that “there should be a direct dial” between the pair.
Homeland Security adviser Liz Sherwood-Randall pointed to the experiences after Ian and Surfside when telling reporters on the White House this week that Biden and DeSantis “are very collegial when we now have the work to do collectively of serving to Americans in want, residents of Florida in want.”
And but, the post-Idalia politics may very well be difficult for each side.
The president introduced his bid for reelection in April however has principally avoided campaigning, preferring as a substitute to steer by governing. The White House is now in search of an extra $4 billion to deal with pure disasters as a part of its supplemental funding request to Congress — bringing the whole to $16 billion and illustrating that wildfires, flooding and hurricanes which have intensified throughout a interval of local weather change are imposing ever increased prices on U.S. taxpayers.
DeSantis, in the meantime, is dealing with questions on whether or not his marketing campaign can survive for the lengthy haul, whilst he helps Florida navigate not simply Idalia’s harm, but additionally a capturing the earlier week through which a white gunman killed three Black folks at a comfort retailer in Jacksonville in a racist hate crime.
Four months earlier than the primary ballots are to be forged in Iowa’s caucuses, DeSantis nonetheless lags far behind former President Donald Trump, the Republican major’s dominant early front-runner. And he has cycled by repeated marketing campaign management shakeups and reboots of his picture in an try to refocus his message.
The tremendous PAC supporting DeSantis’ candidacy has halted its door-knocking operations in Nevada, which votes third on the Republican presidential major calendar, and several other states holding Super Tuesday primaries in March — an extra signal of bother.
Associated Press author Brendan Farrington in Tallahassee, Florida, contributed to this report.