Biden tours Hurricane Idalia damage in Florida; no meeting with Gov. DeSantis

President Joe Biden on Saturday toured the harm left behind in Florida by Hurricane Idalia.

Biden and the primary woman landed in Gainesville Saturday afternoon and had an aerial tour of the harm on their solution to Dwell Oak in Suwanee County. Their first cease was Suwanee Pineview Elementary College, which is getting used as a Crimson Cross shelter.

Biden was briefed about restoration efforts and met with native officers, together with Sen. Rick Scott, R-FL., in addition to first responders and storm survivors.

“All of the officers from Florida, we wish to thank them,” Biden stated after the tour, briefing, and conferences. “People who ran towards hazard as an alternative of away from the hazard when the storm got here and hit. It meant so much.”

The president vowed to approve any requests from the state for federal restoration assets, and urged Congress to make sure funding is out there for this and future disasters.

“Your nation has your again and will probably be with you till the job is finished,” Biden stated.

Idalia made landfall within the state Wednesday as a Class 3 hurricane, bringing highly effective winds, relentless rain and devastating storm surge to Florida’s Huge Bend.

On Saturday afternoon, Biden praised the cooperative storm response by peculiar Floridians, saying, “The spirit of this group is exceptional.”

“When persons are in actual hassle, crucial factor you may give them is hope,” Biden stated. “There’s no hope like your neighbor strolling throughout the road to see what they’ll do for you.”

Biden didn’t see the state’s Republican governor and 2024 presidential hopeful, Ron DeSantis, who prompt a gathering might hinder catastrophe response efforts.

“We don’t have any plans for the Governor to satisfy with the President tomorrow,” Jeremy Redfern, press secretary for the Florida governor’s workplace, stated in a press release to NBC Information on Friday.

“In these rural communities, and so quickly after impression, the safety preparations alone that may go into establishing such a gathering would shut down ongoing restoration efforts,” he added.

Biden’s go to may very well be overtaken by politics on condition that DeSantis’ assertion got here hours after the president stated he can be assembly with the governor.

On Saturday afternoon, Biden stated he was not upset DeSantis didn’t meet him.

“He could have had different causes,” the president stated in response to a reporter’s query. “However he did assist us plan this. He sat with FEMA and determined the place we should always go, the place can be the least disruption.”

In response to the announcement by DeSantis’ workplace, White House spokeswoman Emilie Simons stated in a press release that Biden’s go to was “deliberate in shut coordination” with Federal Emergency Administration personnel “in addition to state and native leaders to make sure there isn’t a impression on response operations.”

The political disconnect between each side is a break from the current previous, since Biden and DeSantis met when the president toured Florida after Hurricane Ian hit the state final 12 months, and following the Surfside condominium collapse in Miami Seashore in summer season 2021. However DeSantis is now operating to unseat Biden, and he solely left the Republican presidential major path with Idalia barreling towards his state.

Placing apart political rivalries following pure disasters might be difficult, in the meantime.

One other 2024 presidential candidate, former Republican New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, has lengthy been extensively criticized in GOP circles for embracing then-President Barack Obama throughout a tour of harm 2012’s Hurricane Sandy did to his state. Christie was even requested concerning the incident final month, in the course of the first Republican presidential debate.

Each Biden and DeSantis at first prompt that serving to storm victims would outweigh partisan variations. However the governor started suggesting {that a} presidential journey would complicate response logistics because the week wore on.

“There’s a time and a spot to have political season,” the governor stated earlier than Idalia made landfall. “However then there’s a time and a spot to say that that is one thing that’s life threatening, that is one thing that would probably price any individual their life, it might price them their livelihood.”

By Friday, the governor was telling reporters of Biden, “one factor I did point out to him on the cellphone” was “it could be very disruptive to have the entire safety equipment that goes” with the president “as a result of there are solely so some ways to get into” most of the hardest hit areas.

“What we wish to do is be sure that the ability restoration continues and the aid efforts proceed and we don’t have any interruption in that,” DeSantis stated.

Biden joked whereas delivering pizzas to employees at FEMA’s Washington headquarters on Thursday that he’d spoken to DeSantis so steadily about Idalia that “there must be a direct dial” between the pair. Homeland Safety adviser Liz Sherwood-Randall pointed to the experiences after Ian and Surfside collapse in saying earlier this week that Biden and DeSantis “are very collegial when we have now the work to do collectively of serving to People in want, residents of Florida in want.”

The post-Idalia political penalties are excessive for each males.

As Biden seeks reelection, the White House has requested for a further $4 billion to deal with pure disasters as a part of its supplemental funding request to Congress. That may deliver the overall to $16 billion and spotlight that wildfires, flooding and hurricanes have intensified throughout a interval of climate change, imposing ever larger prices on U.S. taxpayers.

“I’m calling on the USA Congress, Democrats and Republicans, to ensure the funding is there to take care of the quick disaster in addition to our longterm commitments to the security of the American individuals,” Biden stated Saturday afternoon in Florida.

DeSantis has constructed his White House bid round dismantling what he calls Democrats’ “woke” insurance policies. The governor additionally steadily attracts applause at GOP rallies by declaring that it’s time to ship “Joe Biden again to his basement,” a reference to the Democrat’s Delaware residence, the place he spent a lot of his time in the course of the early lockdowns of the coronavirus pandemic.

However 4 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 means of repeated marketing campaign management shakeups and reboots of his picture in an try and refocus his message.

The tremendous PAC supporting DeSantis’ candidacy additionally has halted its door-knocking operations in Nevada, which votes third on the Republican presidential major calendar, and a number of other states holding Tremendous Tuesday primaries in March — an extra signal of hassle.