Florida Democrats are welcoming President Joe Biden to the state to survey damage from Hurricane Idalia, while slamming Governor Ron DeSantis for refusing to meet with him during the visit.
Prior to President Biden’s visit, Governor DeSantis traveled to Madison County and Suwannee County to distribute food and meet with first responders and linemen who are part of the Hurricane Idalia response. The Governor visited a Point of Distribution Site that is being operated by the Florida State Guard. The Governor also visited the Busy Bee Travel Center in Live Oak, Florida, to meet with local residents who were impacted by the storm and he was able to personally promote National Guard Staff Sergeant DeAsia Frazier.
“On behalf of the Florida Democrats, I would like to extend a warm welcome to President Biden as he tours the counties hardest hit by Hurricane Idalia,” said Florida Democratic Party Chair Nikki Fried. “From disaster relief to infrastructure investments, President Biden continues to show up for Floridians. Though the circumstances are tragic, Floridians appreciate knowing that their president has their back. The empathy he shows to people who are suffering is why he got elected — it’s one of the marks of a true leader, and it’s why President Biden is the right person to lead us through these difficult times.”
The Democratic President had publicly said he would meet with the Republican Florida Governor, but DeSantis’ office dismissed that saying it would impact recovery efforts. The White House pushed back saying the presidential visit to Florida has been planned in close coordination with FEMA as well as state and local leaders to ensure there is no impact on response operations.
The political dynamics of the situation are clear, as Governor DeSantis has met with President Biden in the state previously, but not while both are running for President. Florida Democrats are slamming Governor DeSantis for his decision, calling it “divisive leadership” and saying voters expect elected officials to work together in a crisis.
“Unfortunately, Ron keeps showing us what divisive leadership looks like,” added FDP Chair Fried. “In times of crisis, the American people expect our leaders to put aside their differences and find strength in unity. By refusing to meet with President Biden, he’s proving again what we’ve known for years — Ron will always put politics over people. I hope his fundraisers in Iowa are worth it.”