Ron DeSantis Slammed For Snubbing Biden Post-storm Visit – In the turbulent world of Florida politics, hurricanes have often been a blessing in disguise for the state’s governors. Yet, Governor Ron DeSantis now finds himself wrestling with the dark clouds of Hurricane Idalia as he attempts to rejuvenate his faltering presidential campaign.
Hurricane Ian vs. Hurricane Idalia
DeSantis, who won a resounding re-election last year following his handling of the aftermath of Hurricane Ian, is grappling with the fallout from what critics have dubbed a “petty and small” snub to President Joe Biden during the recent visit to Florida to assess the storm’s damage.
Opponents wasted no time in characterizing the governor’s decision as a politically motivated response to a climate crisis. This starkly contrasted his approach during the aftermath of Hurricane Ian, when both DeSantis and Biden set aside their political differences to support each other and tour the hardest-hit areas with their respective first ladies.
Chris Christie’s Critique
Former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, a rival for the Republican presidential nomination, criticized DeSantis on Fox News Radio, saying, “Your job as governor is to be the tour guide for the president, to make sure the president sees your people, sees the damage, sees the suffering, what’s going on, and what needs to be done to rebuild it.”
DeSantis’s office defended his decision to skip the meeting with Biden, citing the disruption it would cause to ongoing recovery efforts in rural communities. However, political analysts suggest that his campaign advisers were focused on capitalizing on the hurricane’s aftermath. A leaked memo titled “Strong Leadership in a Time of Crisis,” authored by communications director Andrew Romeo, outlined talking points to spin DeSantis’s handling of the storm.
Furthermore, DeSantis likely wanted to avoid appearing too cozy with President Biden, especially after witnessing the backlash faced by Christie for embracing Barack Obama during the aftermath of superstorm Sandy in 2012.
Political opponents, not surprisingly, criticized DeSantis for prioritizing politics over the needs of his constituents during a crisis. Kate Bedingfield, Biden’s former White House press secretary, argued, “It is a really unfortunate time for Ron DeSantis to choose to be small and petty. This is a moment where people are hurting, they want to see their leaders, they want to hear from them. It’s a moment to put partisanship aside.”
The Ron DeSantis Disaster Is Clear to See
As Ron DeSantis returns to the campaign trail, he faces declining popularity in the polls and the departure of major donors. A recent CNN/SSRS poll showed him trailing far behind former President Donald Trump, who leads the Republican field at 52%, while DeSantis stands at 18%.
In addition to his struggles on the national stage, DeSantis faces challenges within Florida, including legal setbacks related to voting districts and ongoing disputes with Disney over LGBTQ+ rights.
The outcome of a constitutional amendment that could protect abortion rights, regardless of the state supreme court’s decision on its current 15-week ban, also poses a significant challenge.
Georgia Gilholy is a journalist based in the United Kingdom who has been published in Newsweek, The Times of Israel, and the Spectator. Gilholy writes about international politics, culture, and education.