DeSantis Stiff-Arms Biden

Election 2024

( – Joe Biden arrived in Florida on Saturday to inspect the destruction from Hurricane Idalia and offer solace to those impacted by the storm. However, he did not have a scheduled meeting with Florida GOP Gov. Ron DeSantis, who might challenge him in the upcoming presidential elections.

Previously, Biden had mentioned to the press on Friday that he intended to meet the governor during his visit. Contradicting this, DeSantis’ representative, Jeremy Redfern, later indicated no such plans. He emphasized, “The security preparations alone that would go into setting up such a meeting would shut down ongoing recovery efforts.”

When questioned about the previously anticipated meeting on Saturday, Biden responded, “I don’t know. He’s not going to be there.”

DeSantis, currently 44 years old, is vying for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination in an attempt to unseat Biden, even though he is currently behind former President Donald Trump in opinion polls. Meanwhile, 80-year-old Biden is campaigning for his second term.

Over the week, Biden and DeSantis had frequently communicated about the hurricane that battered Florida’s Big Bend area with powerful Category 3 winds. On one occasion, Biden commented, “I think he trusts my judgment and my desire to help.”

When detailing the president’s visit to Florida, White House spokesperson Emilie Simons shared that the trip was coordinated with FEMA, state, and local officials. She added that the governor did not express any reservations about the visit when Biden informed him on Thursday.

FEMA’s director, Deanne Criswell, mentioned on Saturday that the absence of a meeting between the two leaders wouldn’t hinder the recovery operations.

Historically, Biden and DeSantis have had differences, especially concerning COVID-19 vaccines, abortion, and LGBT rights. They did, however, meet previously when Biden visited Florida in the wake of Hurricane Ian, with Biden recalling their collaborative efforts. But as the Republican presidential primary gains momentum, DeSantis might be reluctant to be seen with Biden, especially given his leading position among the other Republican contenders.

A photograph from Biden’s previous visit after Hurricane Ian became popular, showing DeSantis appearing somewhat uncomfortable while Biden engaged with residents.

Chris Christie, another 2024 Republican presidential nominee contender and former New Jersey Governor, faced backlash for commending President Barack Obama in 2012 when he toured New Jersey post-superstorm Sandy.

Biden’s current trip includes a visit to Live Oak in northern Florida, where he’ll participate in an aerial survey of the devastation and receive updates on the recovery efforts. Alongside the first lady, he’ll also tour storm-affected communities, witnessing the aftermath firsthand and engaging with emergency personnel, as mentioned by Criswell.

Recently, Biden was in Hawaii, observing the aftermath of the severe wildfires there. During that visit, he highlighted the undeniable reality of the climate crisis due to such extreme weather events.

Following his Florida tour, Biden plans to head to Delaware, his home state, for the remainder of the weekend.