(Live Oak) US President Joe Biden watched the hurricane’s impact from the sky on Saturday Idalia He crossed part of Florida before embarking on a walking tour of a town recovering from the storm.
Air Force One touched down at Gainesville Airport, where the president and first lady Jill Biden boarded Marine One for a helicopter flight to Live Oak, about 80 miles east of Tallahassee, Florida’s capital.
Gov. Ron DeSantis, the Republican presidential candidate, was conspicuous by his absence. He declined to join Biden after suggesting that the presence of Democrats could hamper disaster response efforts.
In response to a question about the absence of his rival, Biden said that he was not disappointed about the development of events, but he welcomed the presence of Rick Scott, one of the two Republican senators from the state.
He pledged the federal government’s full support for Floridians.
“I am here today to deliver a clear message to the people of Florida and throughout the Southeast,” Biden said after the walking tour. He spoke outside near a church where strong winds tore off parts of its tin roof.Idalia A house was half crushed by a fallen tree.
He continued: “As I told your governor, if your state needs anything, I am ready to mobilize that support.” All they need is related to these storms. Your country supports you and we will stand by your side until the mission is completed. »
Earlier, Live Oak Mayor Frank Davis thanked Mr. Biden and First Lady Jill Biden for their visit and “for showing them how important we are to them.”
“Everyone thinks Florida is rich, but this is not one of the richest counties in the state and there are people suffering,” Mayor Davis said, adding that he was not aware of any loss of life or serious injuries.
Idalia The hurricane made landfall Wednesday morning along Florida’s sparsely populated Big Bend region as a Category 3 storm, causing widespread flooding and damage before moving north to inundate Georgia and the Carolinas.
On Friday, hours after Biden announced he would meet with Gov. Ron DeSantis, the governor’s office issued a statement saying there were no plans to hold such a meeting.
“In these rural communities, after such a short period of impact, the security preparations alone required to hold such a meeting would put an end to ongoing recovery efforts,” Mr. DeSantis’ spokesman, Jeremy Redfern, said in a statement.
millimeter. Biden and DeSantis previously met during the president’s tour in Florida, after Hurricane Ian hit the state last year, and after the Surfside apartment in Miami Beach collapsed in the summer of 2021.
Homeland Security Advisor Liz Sherwood Randall said earlier this week that as a result of these events, Mr. Biden and DeSantis are “very collaborative when we have work to do together to help Americans in need, Floridians in need.”
But since Mr. DeSantis positioned himself to unseat Mr. Biden for president, as a candidate in the Republican primary, relations between the politicians have cooled.
Joe Biden and Ron DeSantis initially suggested that helping storm victims would overcome partisan differences. But the governor began to suggest that the presidential trip would complicate the logistics of the response as the week went on.
The governor told reporters on Friday that he told Mr. Biden that “it would be very disturbing to have the entire security apparatus accompanying” the president, especially “because there are only a certain number of ways to get him into as many United States.” “The most affected areas.”
“What we want to do is make sure that power continues to be restored and that relief efforts continue and are not interrupted,” DeSantis said.
Political consequences beyondIdalia Heavy for both men.
As Biden seeks re-election, the White House has requested an additional $4 billion to address natural disasters as part of its request to Congress for additional funding. That would bring the total to $16 billion, and highlights the intensification of wildfires, floods and hurricanes during climate change, imposing ever higher costs on American taxpayers.
Mr. DeSantis has built his White House bid around dismantling what he calls Democrats’ “woke” policies.
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