President Joe Biden — and his wife, First Lady Dr. Jill Biden — visited Florida this Saturday after the state was among those impacted by Hurricane Idalia, which has since gone into the Atlantic Ocean and lost its hurricane status. But an anticipated meeting of the president and Florida GOP Governor Ron DeSantis wasn’t happening, though it wasn’t clear the precise individual possibly responsible for shutting things down. The president’s team had seemingly been preparing to meet.
Asked this weekend if he had a “message” for the Florida governor, Biden was succinct, avoiding the politics evident in the comments from the DeSantis team. “We’re going to take care of Florida,” Biden told reporters.
The White House has recently made funding requests to Congress for federal caches that cover disaster relief efforts, though movement in the legislature on the latest requests remains forthcoming. Meanwhile, the DeSantis team pointed to ostensible issues potentially arising from security preparations associated with a meeting of the governor and the president, though DeSantis has met — in Florida — with the president after a hurricane previously, and DeSantis himself has traveled to disaster-stricken areas, presumably requiring some of the very same security precautions.
“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 spokesperson Jeremy Redfern claimed to CNN, though it’s unclear such is actually the case. A White House official claimed that DeSantis didn’t comment similarly during a phone discussion with the president before Biden began publicly discussing what was originally an anticipated meeting with DeSantis.
Republicans were eager after one particular disaster — the derailment of a train carrying hazardous chemicals in the area of East Palestine, Ohio — to take the opposite approach, complaining that Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg didn’t visit the area sooner, though federal response efforts started right away. There are also federal personnel in Florida helping with the response to the recent storm.
Biden: I don’t believe DeSantis is going to be there today
Reporter: Do you have a message for him?
Biden: We’re going to take care of Florida pic.twitter.com/mkgnK5BxcS
— Acyn (@Acyn) September 2, 2023