DeSantis has ‘no plans’ to meet with Biden during his post-Idalia trip

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) on Friday says he has no plans to meet with President Biden during his trip to survey the damage on the state’s Gulf Coast after Hurricane Idalia made landfall in the area earlier this week.

DeSantis’s office said having the two meet up could put strain on the state’s disaster response.

“In these rural communities, and so soon after impact, the security preparations alone that would go into setting up such a meeting would shut down ongoing recovery efforts,” DeSantis spokesman Jeremy Redfern said in a statement.

The hurricane made landfall Wednesday morning in Florida’s Big Bend area as a Category 3 storm with 125 mph sustained winds. Biden approved a disaster declaration for the state on Thursday as Idalia quickly dissipated into a tropical storm as it moved inland toward Georgia and the Carolinas.

The president and Florida governor have been in “constant contact” throughout the week, according to Biden.

The White House said on Thursday that during one call “the president reiterated that the people of Florida have his full support as they recover from the storm.”

The major disaster declaration allows for federal funding to be available to affected individuals in the counties of Citrus, Dixie, Hamilton, Lafayette, Levy, Suwannee and Taylor and for additional assistance to Florida in the form of grants for temporary housing and home repairs and low-cost loans to cover uninsured property losses, according to the White House.

Biden also announced his plans to travel to Florida over the weekend during a visit to the Federal Emergency Management Agency headquarters. During the visit, the president suggested he would meet with DeSantis — one of his top political rivals who is seeking the 2024 GOP presidential nomination.

The decision not to meet is a break from the past, as the two toured damage from Hurricane Ian last year and after the condo collapse in Miami Beach in 2021.

The Associated Press contributed reporting.

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