RIP, DeSantis 2024: Biden and Florida governor make nice during visit over Miami condo collapse

The Hot Air Decision Desk just moved the 2022 Florida gubernatorial race from “likely Republican” to “toss-up.”

Maybe “lean Democratic” after Trump starts goofing on DeSantis over this.

Nah, just kidding. This is obviously good politics notwithstanding the echoes of the Obama/Chris Christie meeting before the 2012 election. The art of being a “post-Trump Republican” with national ambitions is keeping the stuff MAGA fans find essential to Trump’s appeal while dumping the nonessential elements of his persona that irritated swing voters. DeSantis has the culture-war red meat covered. Today was his chance to show other parts of the electorate that they don’t need to worry about him turning White House briefings about the pandemic into an extended harangue about his Democratic persecutors.

It’s good politics for Biden too. He gets to play consoler-in-chief, a natural role for him, and to disarm a potential 2024 opponent for a day.

DeSantis also praised Biden’s people at FEMA:

The governor went on to honor those who either died due to the collapse, or who are still missing one week later.

“The corporation has been great. The local — both the municipal and the county — have been fantastic, and you guys have not only been supportive on the federal level, but we’ve had no bureaucracy,” he said. “When we’re dealing with FEMA, we’re literally getting requests routed from local to state to federal in no time.”

Biden then added, “I promised you there would be none,” which DeSantis confirmed with a “Yeah.”

Not sure how MAGA fans will react to their second-most favorite politician calling Biden “Mr. President,” though. Which reminds me: Why didn’t Trump ask to visit the Surfside collapse site? He’s under no obligation as a private citizen, of course, but Florida’s his new home state and DeSantis probably would have accommodated him. If he had beaten Biden down there he could have touted it as evidence that he cares more than the president does. That would have been a better headline than “Trump, DeSantis camps feud over whether upcoming rally in Sarasota should proceed.”

Biden also told the group that the feds may end up picking up the full cost of the clean-up:

Today’s political win for DeSantis offsets a minor loss last night, if you want to call it a loss at all. A federal judge blocked Florida’s new law imposing penalties on social-media companies that kick politicians off their platforms. That law was an obvious pander to Trump fans and was just as obviously unconstitutional. “The legislation compels providers to host speech that violates their standards — speech they otherwise would not host — and forbids providers from speaking as they otherwise would,” wrote federal judge Robert Hinkle. “Like prior First Amendment restrictions, this is an instance of burning the house to roast a pig.” DeSantis is a Harvard-trained lawyer himself and doubtless knew the bill was going nowhere but figured there was no downside to signing it for that reason. When it got flushed in court, he’d be able to complain about unelected judges doing Big Tech’s dirty work for them. He’d still get credit for fighting the culture war, even in a losing cause. That’s what I mean about him knowing how to pick his battles to ingratiate himself to righties. Today’s meeting with Biden wasn’t a necessary battle so he didn’t bother fighting it.