Biden, DeSantis face dueling leadership tests with Hurricane Idalia

Published: 3 months ago

Updated: 3 months ago

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President Joe Biden and Gov. Ron DeSantis faced tests of leaderships for different reasons as they worked to respond to Hurricane Idalia's destruction.

As Hurricane Idalia entered Florida's gulf coastline as a Category 3 tropical cyclone on Wednesday morning, Gov.

Ron DeSantis and President Joe Biden faced new tests to demonstrate leadership during the historic storm and prove they can work together again.


DeSantis left his mark on the Republican primary campaign in Iowa to return to Tallahassee over the weekend.

The governor went out of his way to show that he could lead the state through a crisis while running for the White House — even if he lagged far behind Donald Trump, the primary frontrunner.

Biden is facing another natural disaster after his response to deadly wildfires in Hawaii earlier this month was slowly widely panicked by Republican critics, including DeSantis. tone deaf and insensitive.

Each has much to gain from being responsible in the eyes of voters.

And if the situation turns into a fight, there is a lot to lose.

Joshua Scacco, a professor of political communication at the University of South Florida, said, \For any political leader occupying an executive position, these are the types of events that are critical in terms of showcasing the symbolism of the government essentially doing its job in an emergency.\ Hurricane Idali, the most severe hurricane to hit Florida's Big Bend region in more than a century, brought 15-foot storm surges and winds exceeding 125 mph before rapidly passing through Florida and Georgia and heading for the East Coast.

Federal and state damage assessments have begun. 'Ready to act': Biden said in a speech from the White House Roosevelt Room that he spoke on the phone with DeSantis and other governors in the path of Hurricane Idalí.

In endorsing an early emergency declaration for Florida, Biden said, \We must remain vigilant and there is more to do.\ \\If there's something states need right now, I'm ready to mobilize that support.\ FEMA director goes to Florida: Deanne Criswell, director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, will meet with DeSantis in Florida on Thursday to tour the damage.

More than 1,500 federal responders are on the ground, including 500 urban search-and-rescue personnel, Criswell said.

Criswell said, \The governor has now expressed that all of their needs are being met,\ DeSantis.Recovery efforts are ongoing: DeSantis has held multiple briefings on Floridians to make sure his administration is ready for emergency storm and long-term hurricane recovery.

He said efforts were underway to restore power to about 250,000 accounts, clear debris and fallen trees and bring fuel to the area.'Whatever we have to do': 'We'll do whatever we have to do to help these local communities get back on their feet,' said DeSantis, who was flanked by state officials as he spoke behind a lectern with a Florida state seal.

Biden on DeSantis: 'He trusts in my resolve and my desire to help' Biden, who is seeking re-election in 2024 and DeSantis, who is running for the Republican nomination to challenge Biden next November, are no strangers to coming together during disasters.

Last October, Biden and DeSantis put aside their differences to work together during the response to Hurricane Ian, Florida that killed 149 people and caused more than $100 billion in damage.

Biden visited Florida in the aftermath of the disaster storm and told reporters, \We have very different political philosophies, but we worked hand in hand with gloves.\ In July 2021, Biden traveled to Surfside, Fla., to meet with DeSantis and first responders after a condemnation tower collapsed that killed 98 people.

Biden and DeSantis also played well in the wake of the tragedy of condemnation; The governor praised the Biden administration for limiting bureaucratic bureaucracy in its dealings with the federal government.

Biden said Wednesday that he and DeSantis stayed out of politics during their talks about Hurricane Idali this week.

I know that sounds weird, especially what the nature of politics is like today.

I think he trusts my judgment and my desire to help, and I trust him to suggest that it's not about politics.

It's about taking care of the people of his state.—DeSantis faces second Florida tragedy in less than a weekFor DeSantis, Hurricane Idalia is bringing home the second emergency in less than a week as the presidential campaign struggles to gain traction against Trump.

A Morning Consult national Republican primary poll this week found DeSantis in second place with the support of 14% of primary voters, but far behind Trump, at 58%.

DeSantis was loudly jealous and booed while speaking in Jacksonville, Fla..

During a vigil for three Black people who were killed Saturday at a Dollar General store by a white man wearing a mask and carrying a gun painted with a swastika.

Some Florida Democrats have accused DeSantis' \anti-awakening\ rhetoric of fueling racism in the state.

You can't separate the presidential campaign from what he's doing now as governor,\ Sacco said, adding that everything he does as governor is seen through the lens of a presidential candidate in a Republican primary.

Carol Weissert, a professor of political science at Florida State University, said DeSantis is unlikely to gain a boost in the presidential race because he showed strong leadership during Hurricane Idalia, but risks a setback if he doesn't.

If something happens and it falls on his face, it can affect him negatively,\ Weissert said.

Biden tries to show command after Maui criticismWith his administration's whirlwind response, Biden is trying to show indifference as he faces ongoing concerns about voters' age ahead of the 2024 election.

Republicans attacked Biden when he initially said \no comment\ while resting in Delaware when asked about the rising death toll from Hawaii wildfires.

The White House later said it had not heard the question.

DeSantis was among those piled on top of him. \Are you kidding me?\ said Florida's governor during last week's Republican primary.

As someone who has dealt with disasters in Florida, you need to be activated.

You have to be there.

You have to be there.\\ The White House on Wednesday, to reflect a commanding president, posted a photo of Biden on the phone on X, formerly known as Twitter, holding a map of the path of Hurricane Idali.

Biden also used White House statements to pledge the federal government's continued support in Maui, announcing $95 billion in accelerated funding from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Act to improve Maui's electric grid and eliminate hazardous materials and brush it off to withstand future storms and fires. \They've lost everything,\ Biden said, adding, \We're doing everything we can to move heaven and earth to help you rebuild and get back into your lives.\ He added that the work on Maui will take \time, in some cases a long time,\ but he promised that the federal government would be with you every step of the way.


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