LIVE OAK, Fla. — President Joe Biden on Saturday toured the damage following Hurricane Idalia ripping through Florida earlier this week.
Biden along with First Lady Jill Biden landed in Florida Saturday afternoon but was not greeted by Governor Ron DeSantis, who cited security reasons for his absence. Instead, Sen. Rick Scott (R-FL), who has major disagreements with Biden, was there to welcome the President.
“We don’t have any plans for the Governor to meet with the President tomorrow,” Jeremy Redfern said in a statement to Fwrd Axis News on Friday.
“The security preparations alone that would go into setting up such a meeting would shut down ongoing recovery efforts,” he added.
On Saturday during his visit, the President was asked about DeSantis not showing up and said he was not disappointed the governor did not show up.
“He may have had other reasons,” Biden said in response to a reporter’s question. “But he did help us plan this. He sat with FEMA and decided where we should go, where would be the least disruption.”
White House spokeswoman Emilie Simons said in a statement that Biden’s visit was “planned in close coordination” with Federal Emergency Management personnel “as well as state and local leaders to ensure there is no impact on response operations.”
Biden was briefed about recovery efforts and met with local officials, first responders, and storm survivors.
“All the officials from Florida, we want to thank them,” Biden said after the tour. “Folks who ran toward danger instead of away from the danger when the storm came and hit. It meant a lot.”
The President vowed the support of the federal government for Florida to recover.
“I’m here today to deliver a clear message to the people of Florida and throughout the Southeast,” he said. “Your nation has your back and will be with you until the job is done.”
“As I’ve told your governor, if there’s anything your state needs, I’m ready to mobilize that support,” he continued. “Anything they need related to these storms. Your nation has your back and we’ll be with you until the job is done.’’
Idalia made landfall in Florida on Wednesday as a Category 3 hurricane with heavy winds, rain, and storm surge to Florida’s Big Bend.
Live Oak Mayor Frank Davis thanked the Bidens for their visit Saturday and “showing us that we’re important to you.”
The Biden administration has asked Congress for an additional $4 billion to address natural disasters as part of its supplemental funding request. That would bring the total to $16 billion — amid the wildfires, flooding, and hurricanes that have intensified over the past few weeks.