As Florida prepares for a major hurricane to devastate its coast, Gov. Ron DeSantis is busy in his press conferences.
The storm is DeSantis’ first experience of dealing with a direct hit from a Florida hurricane since he was elected governor in 2019. The crucial test comes six weeks before Election Day, when DeSantis is running for re-election.
The governor, who often uses his briefings as a vessel for political sparring against President Joe Biden, has instead focused on the storm in recent briefings. In his Tuesday briefing, DeSantis did not criticize Biden, instead urging Floridians to take precautions and prepare for Hurricane Ian. He also urged those in the path of the storm to evacuate.
A 2024 presidential candidate, DeSantis is often compared to former President Donald Trump for his rhetoric and political stance. But on Saturday, Republican Gov. thanked Biden for declaring a federal emergency in Florida. “They’re standing by to help, so we appreciate that quick action,” DeSantis said.
A week earlier, DeSantis criticized Biden’s handling of migrants entering the United States, saying he was “stunned” that Biden was “striving to get his cabinet together” to respond to Republican governors sending migrants to sanctuary cities sent. He told the crowd that Biden didn’t seem to crawl as migrants “streamed” across the border.
“It’s not until 50 illegal aliens end up in a very wealthy, rich shelter enclave that he decides to go for it,” DeSantis said, referring to his action to send 50 migrants from Texas to Martha’s Vineyard earlier this month.
DeSantis called Biden’s border policies “reckless” and said he will continue to isolate Florida from those policies.
“And yes, that includes helping with transportation,” he said.
Biden planned to hold a political rally in DeSantis’ home state of Florida today, accompanied by his fellow Democrat and Florida gubernatorial candidate Charlie Crist. However, the rally was canceled due to the impending arrival of Hurricane Ian.
Reuters reported that it would have been the first time a president had held a political rally in a state he lost during the election — Biden lost Florida by three points in 2020″ with DeSantis at the rally.
Biden and DeSantis have traded barbs for years, with DeSantis slamming Biden over his COVID-19 restrictions and Biden calling out Florida’s “poor health policies” during a White House press briefing last year.
The sparring has only intensified as DeSantis considers a presidential bid in 2024, mimicking Trump’s mannerisms and critical approach.
The White House has repeatedly said that the dispute between DeSantis and Biden will not affect the federal government’s hurricane response. Press secretary Karine Jean Pierre denied that the two, who did not speak directly, were anything to interpret. She noted that during the Mississippi water crisis, Biden did not call Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves but still provided assistance.
DeSantis’ handling of the hurricane could be a pivotal moment in his political future. Former Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Administrator Craig Fugate told Politico that failure could affect his ability to be reelected. But if DeSantis’ response is highly acclaimed, it could prepare him for “higher office.”
news week contacted the DeSantis campaign office and the White House for comment.
https://www.newsweek.com/ron-desantis-donald-trump-hurricane-ian-briefings-florida-1746774 Ron DeSantis is toning down his Trump style ahead of the dangerous hurricane