Biden and DeSantis Will Test Their Accord During Florida Visit: When President Joe Biden travels to Florida on Wednesday to assess Hurricane Ian’s damage, he is testing their recently developed understanding.
The two men have put aside their differences over the past week to work together on significant disaster recovery operations. The two men are political rivals who frequently criticize one another across a wide variety of policy issues. Since the storm, they have spoken on the phone multiple times, and they have publicly refuted any claims that they aren’t cooperating.
The encounter between DeSantis and Biden in Fort Myers, which will be their first since the president and governor hosted a joint event in 2021 following the Surfside condo collapse in south Florida that lost 98 lives, will serve as the most visible manifestation of their ceasefire.
According to White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre, “they’re going to talk about what else are the needs in Florida to go to a place of recovery, to get to a place of rebuilding.” As you mentioned, this will be above politics.
A month from now, on Election Day, and two years from then, when DeSantis is anticipated to be a leading Republican candidate, it will be a rare instance of bipartisan calm. However, if either party is perceived as being overly sympathetic or friendly to other political leaders, such meetings, even in the face of catastrophe, entail a political danger.
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DeSantis and the president had disagreements before the hurricane on everything from immigration policy to mandatory vaccination and mask laws. Democrats and Biden launched a strong attack on the governor’s decision to fly almost 50 Venezuelan refugees from Texas to Martha’s Vineyard last month, calling such shipments “reckless” and “un-American.”
Yet DeSantis, who has requested and received increased federal assistance to deal with the storm’s devastation, has praised the government’s response numerous times. He did so once more on Tuesday, the day before Biden’s visit. At least 72 people died as a result of the hurricane, one of the worst in Florida history.
DeSantis’ positive working relationship with the federal government is not surprising, According to Christian Ziegler, vice chairman of the Florida Republican Party. Saving lives, defending families, repairing homes, and opening up our economy, according to Ziegler, are more important than petty politics.
“Gov. DeSantis is leading our response, and his willingness to work directly with President Biden — who controls a significant amount of federal resources taxpayers in Florida have paid for — is just another of DeSantis’ willingness to do whatever it takes to deliver for Florida’s best interests,” the statement continued.
Charlie Crist, the Democratic candidate who will run against DeSantis in November, has gradually increased his criticism of the governor over how he handled the storm. In particular, Crist has questioned whether DeSantis ought to have pushed Lee County local officials to order evacuations earlier than they did.
But according to Crist, DeSantis is doing the right thing by putting his problems with Biden aside for the time being. In an interview, Crist stated that “it’s the one guy who can help Florida as much as you need.” Crist is intimately familiar with the dangers and repercussions of meeting a competing president.
When Crist, a Republican and the governor of Florida, appeared with then-President Barack Obama to promote the extensive government relief program implemented in response to the Great Recession, Obama hugged Crist. It turned out to be the impetus for GOP opposition to Crist, who quit the party a year later in advance of the 2010 U.S. Senate election that he lost to Marco Rubio.
Before being elected to Congress, Crist, a Democrat who later unsuccessfully ran for governor in 2014, said he has no regrets about “the hug” or his desire to be perceived as cordial and welcoming to Obama.
According to Crist, “it was about the people of Florida.” “It wasn’t about Democrats and Republicans. The president came to this country to assist in our recovery from the Great Recession. I was grateful because it was $12 billion. There are some things that are more significant than political ramifications.”
Chris Christie, a different Republican governor, received criticism from his party for putting politics aside and cooperating with Obama in the wake of Hurricane Sandy in 2012. Similar to Hurricane Ian, the catastrophe occurred immediately before the election and reportedly involved a hug between the president and the governor.
When he spoke on MSNBC on Monday, White House chief of staff Ron Klain was questioned about the backlash against Christie as well as what Biden and DeSantis had already discussed. It’s the antithesis of politics, in my opinion, Klain remarked.
Whatever the political repercussions of a Republican governor collaborating with a Democratic president in the wake of Superstorm Sandy, that is how it ought to be. And we’ve also done that here. Gov. DeSantis and the president had several conversations. Both Democratic and Republican local authorities have heard him speak.
DeSantis has a definite political advantage in that he is currently in a position of strength. He has a huge financial advantage and is currently leading in the polls going into his reelection. Given the steady shift of the electorate away from Democrats and toward the GOP, Republicans are likewise confident in Florida.
It is unclear whether the delicate détente between President Biden and Gov. Ron DeSantis will hold longer than the four hours the president will be on the ground near Fort Myers, Florida. https://t.co/aezoiPrDK3
— The New York Times (@nytimes) October 5, 2022
And while though DeSantis has put his aggressive side on hold since Hurricane Ian, there are indications that it may soon return as the storm’s recovery phase ramps up. DeSantis stated that three recent looting arrestees had entered the nation illegally during a hurricane briefing on Tuesday in the middle of the afternoon in Fort Myers.
DeSantis remarked that the predicament in which our nation finds itself as a result of the open border was “very unfortunate.” The question of whether Biden and DeSantis would talk about his recent push to move migrants from Texas was posed to Jean-Pierre hours earlier at the White House.