AFPBiden addresses the press during his visit
NOS Nieuws•morgen, 01:21
US President Biden has visited the part of the state of Florida that was hit by a hurricane last week. Although the White House had previously said that he would also meet with Republican Governor DeSantis, he refused to come.
“The security operation so soon after these rural communities are affected would hamper relief efforts,” the governor’s office said in a news release. DeSantis said the focus should first be on helping victims, clearing roads and restoring power.
What will undoubtedly also play a role is the fact that DeSantis hopes to become the Republican candidate in next year’s presidential elections. He would then face incumbent President Biden. Although Donald Trump has the best chance in the primaries, DeSantis is one of his few rivals who stands out above the rest of the field.
An overly friendly reception from a political opponent earned Republican Chris Christie a lot of criticism from party members in 2012: when he received President Obama during election time after his state of New Jersey was hit by Hurricane Sandy, it was seen as an opportunity for the Democrat to to act presidential and impartial.
Spoken with care providers
Biden did not want to spend many words about DeSantis’ absence during his visit. Asked if he had any message for the governor, Biden only replied: “We will take good care of Florida.”
While in the state, Biden visited the town of Live Oak, where he viewed damage to homes and spoke with the mayor and emergency responders. He promised that his government would do everything it could to provide the necessary aid.
The head of the federal emergency response agency FEMA told the accompanying press that the president’s visit did not cause any disruption in the area. The roads had already been cleared and the restoration of electricity could continue as usual.
Hurricane Idalia made landfall in Florida last Wednesday, causing extensive damage due to wind gusts and flooding. At least three people died and hundreds of thousands were left without power.