Does it matter that DeSantis has no plans to meet with Biden during president's visit to Florida?

AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell

Does it matter that Governor Ron DeSantis has no plans to meet with President Biden when he tours areas hit by Hurricane Idalia?

In the past, my reaction would be that yes, it does matter. The governor of a state should have some sort of meeting with the president when his or her state warrants a presidential visit after a natural disaster or tragedy. Truth be told, my reaction yesterday when it was reported that DeSantis would skip a meeting with Biden was to think he should find a way to meet with Biden. I have since come around to thinking DeSantis may have made a good decision.


The main point is that both Biden and DeSantis have told reporters that they are working well together to get Florida all the federal resources it needs. That is the most important thing during this time. The staffs have been working well together. Does it really matter if there is a photo op and video taken of Joe and Jill Biden with Ron and Casey DeSantis touring a devastated area? I don’t think so.

After Hurricane Ian in September 2022, Ron and Casey DeSantis went the traditional route and walked around with Joe and Jill Biden in an affected area. DeSantis and Biden made remarks. Everyone got their photo op and video was taken for media broadcasts. It was all by the book. This time seems different. Already the climate hustlers, including Biden, have declared that we can no longer deny climate change – the hurricane is proof of that.

I don’t know anyone who denies climate change. It’s weather. Weather patterns change over time. What there is disagreement about is the way to cope with it. Democrats want to blame human beings and the fossil fuel industry. Republicans do not want to end the fossil fuel industry or take part in the money grab that climate hustlers want to do. It’s all about money and power for the climate hustlers. Industrial progress brings improved lives around the world.

Already, DeSantis is being blamed for Hurricane Idalia because Florida rejected millions of dollars in home energy funding from Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act. It was $350 million in funding for energy efficiency initiatives. See, if Florida had just accepted taxpayer money, the hurricane would not have gone to Florida. Isn’t that how the weather works? I’ve lived in the Deep South and on the Gulf Coast for most of my life. I can tell you that all that talk is political gamesmanship. It is not reality-based.


DeSantis vetoed $5 million in federal money included in the state budget passed in May that was intended to fund administrative expenses associated with a $174 million rebate program for energy-efficient improvements and a $173 million rebate program for energy-efficient home appliance purchases, Bloomberg and Politico reported.

The veto reportedly led the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services to withdraw its application for the rebate program funding, plus a $7 million training program for electrification contractors.

But it also exposes DeSantis to attacks from Democrats: Rep. Darren Soto (D-Fla.) told Politico DeSantis is “senselessly making the state more vulnerable,” while Florida Democratic Party Chair Nikki Fried told the publication it would work with local officials to apply for other climate-change related grants.

Weatherizing a home can decrease the potential for storm damage and means less costs in repairs, that is true. But federal money always comes with strings. DeSantis turned down money with those strings.

DeSantis has been like the Energizer Bunny as Florida prepared for the hurricane and its aftermath. He shines in times like this. He is seen in storm-damaged spots all day long and does press conferences frequently to give updates. He’s done a stellar job putting emergency services in place and having first responders ready to go, especially those linemen who restore power to communities. All of the bridges in the areas with damage are open and accessible, which keeps recovery efforts moving along. The leadership skills of DeSantis are on full display. In light of all this, I understand why his office said the governor will not be meeting with Biden in person today. The excuse is that the security requirements for such a visit would slow or delay recovery measures. Whether or not that would actually be the case is something that can be debated. But Biden has used that excuse to delay visits to various areas. He still hasn’t visited East Palestine, Ohio, though he said he would “sometime” when a visit wouldn’t get in the way of recovery from the train derailment. He didn’t go to Maui for about two weeks after the wildfires destroyed a town, saying he’d be in the way. He was shamed into going when he did. Biden took almost the entire month of August off for two vacations and weekends off. He didn’t want to interrupt his time off, it appeared. He did go to Maui, as did Jill, and they were on the ground for about 6 hours and returned to their vacation in Lake Tahoe, using the home of a billionaire political contributor.


Time and time again, Biden has come up short in the empathy department, though voters were told he had an abundance of empathy. DeSantis has shown he has the empathy Biden lacks. He left the campaign trail and went back to Florida to do his job. He made sure the state was prepared for the hurricane and he went into a community that was politically hostile to him to comfort the people after a mass shooting. He showed up for all Floridians.

So, no, I don’t think it matters if DeSantis meets with Biden in person.

The office of the president should be respected, even if you don’t respect the occupant. DeSantis has spoken with Biden on the phone more than once. The staffs of the two men are working well together. That is all that matters for the well-being of Floridians.

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