(Luis Cornelio, Headline USA) President Joe Biden’s visit to Florida in the aftermath of Hurricane Idalia has been marred by controversy, as Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, a potential rival in the 2024 presidential race, chose not to meet with the president.
This development has ignited conflicting statements from both the White House and the Governor’s Office, further contributing to the growing criticism of the Biden administration during times of natural disasters.
Upon landing in Florida, Biden was greeted by Sen. Rick Scott, R-Fla., but the absence of DeSantis raised significant questions. DeSantis’ spokesperson, Jeremy Redfern, cited logistical challenges in the hurricane-affected region as the reason for the snub, but this explanation has been met with skepticism from Biden officials.
“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,” Redfern said.
FEMA chief Deanne Criswell’s assertion that the meeting location had been mutually agreed upon with the governor only fueled the controversy.
Meanwhile, White House propagandist Karine Jean-Pierre refused to comment on whether DeSantis refused to meet Biden for political reasons.
“We’re going to let the governor speak for himself,” she claimed. “The president spoke with the governor. It was an understanding that the president said to him he was coming to Florida. We never heard any disagreement with it.”
Jean-Pierre refused to say whether the presidential bid might have influenced the governor’s decision. “That is a question for the governor,” she responded. “It is not about politics. It doesn’t matter if it’s a red state or a blue state, the president’s going to show up and be there for the community.”
The Florida debacle comes amid critics seizing upon this incident as another example of what they perceive as a pattern of insensitivity from the Biden administration during times of national dismay.
Just last month, Biden faced backlash after making an ill-timed joke during a visit to the Maui wildfires site. “You guys catch the boots out here? That’s a hot ground, man,” Biden said.