Joe Biden and Ron DeSantis have no choice but to work together in response to Hurricane Ian. For the time being, Biden says his political disagreements with DeSantis are ‘irrelevant’ now. He told members of the press he’ll travel to Florida to see the damages of the hurricane when he won’t get in the way.
Biden and DeSantis have squared off on a number of issues, most recently on migrant buses and planes coming out of Texas. DeSantis arranged for two planes of illegal migrants to fly to Martha’s Vineyard, a sanctuary that allegedly welcomes everyone. That move exposed the utter hypocrisy of bleeding heart liberals who profess that diversity is their strength. When those two planes of about 50 brown people arrived, suddenly the resort island couldn’t handle the visitors. The governor called out the National Guard and those migrants were bussed off the swanky island to a military facility in a matter of islands. Democrats despise DeSantis. He is the next generation of Republican leadership.
When Hurricane Ian approached, Biden got on the phone and called three mayors of Florida cities. He didn’t call the governor, though, and the press actually asked him about that. They did finally speak, though, after Biden’s initial political pettiness. That is Biden’s first reaction – go political with everything. Can Biden set aside party politics now and work with DeSantis on behalf of the people in Florida? So far, the two seem to be working together fairly well. During a speech he made at FEMA headquarters on Thursday, Biden said that politics are irrelevant during a hurricane.
President Biden on Thursday said that his political disagreements with Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) are irrelevant during the Hurricane Ian response efforts, adding that he plans to visit the state when he can.
“It’s totally irrelevant, but I’ll answer it,” he said when asked about his relationship with DeSantis. “He complimented me, he thanked me for the immediate response we had, he told me how much he appreciated it.”
“This is not about anything having to do with our disagreements politically, this is about saving people’s lives, homes and businesses. That’s what this is about,” Biden added in remarks at the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s headquarters.
Past presidents have learned the hard way that their response to hurricanes is crucial to keeping the support of voters. President George W. Bush never lived down flying over New Orleans and not landing in the area after Hurricane Katrina. There is a good piece in the Wall Street Journal on how past presidents have run into trouble over hurricane responses. Usually, Republicans fare worse in press coverage than Democrats due to media bias.
In August 1992 Mr. Bush’s father was tagged for a poor response to Florida’s Hurricane Andrew. Gov. Lawton Chiles was also blamed for the poor response—his approval rating sank to 22%—but Mr. Bush was done in by the televised plea of Dade County’s operations director, “Where in the hell is the cavalry on this one?” President Bush lost re-election in November, but two years later Chiles narrowly won against Bush’s son Jeb.
Jeb Bush served two terms as governor, 1999-2007, and he got high marks for handling a series of hurricanes in 2004 and 2005—including Katrina, which made landfall in South Florida a few days before it devastated New Orleans.
That was an exception. In the rest of these stories, Republicans tended to fare worse than Democrats. Part of this can be ascribed to media bias. As Mr. Romney’s political strategist Stuart Stevens once told me, “When it comes to presidential politics, the media are the umpires and the Republican is always the away team.”
DeSantis has to walk a fine line, too. He’s running for re-election for governor and is assumed to be seriously considering running for president in 2024. Fortunately for Republicans, DeSantis is competent and efficient in managing the state of Florida.
The president said he and DeSantis have spoken four or five times in the lead up to and since the storm hit.
“And it’s not a matter of my disagreements with him on other items,” he said.
In other words, for the sake of Floridians, the two men have to work together. DeSantis has been complimentary toward Biden for agreeing to what he asks for, such as disaster declarations.
“We have received a major disaster declaration for nine counties, but we do expect more. I just spoke with the President this morning and he offered support. I told them the thanks for this but because the storm has moved inland and caused a lot of potential damage in the center part of our state that we were going to be asking for those counties to be expanded and included there, but for now, we have approval for Charlotte, Collier, DeSoto, Hardee, Hillsborough, Lee, Manatee, Pinellas, and Sarasota, that will allow individuals Floridians to seek individual assistance from FEMA.”
Before Hurricane Ian landed on Florida’s shores, DeSantis rose above the fray the media was trying to create about his relationship with Biden. He said he was happy to speak with the president and it wasn’t a time for pettiness.
“I’m happy to brief the president if he’s interested in hearing what we’re doing in Florida,” DeSantis said.
“My view on all this is like, you’ve got people’s lives at stake, you’ve got their property at stake and we don’t have time for pettiness,” he continued. “We gotta work together to make sure we’re doing the best job for them, so my phone line is open.”
Someone had to make the first move. That’s leadership. DeSantis passed the test. Biden concentrated on phoning mayors, in what was indeed pettiness, and DeSantis kept his focus on the state as a whole.