“They’re going to speak about what else are the wants in Florida to get to a spot of restoration, to get to a spot of rebuilding,” White Home press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre informed reporters on Tuesday. “That is going to be, as you mentioned, above politics.”
Will probably be a uncommon second of bipartisan calm only a month forward of Election Day — and two years earlier than the following presidential election, when DeSantis is anticipated to be a number one Republican contender. However such conferences, even amid catastrophe, current political danger if both is seen as being too accommodating — or heat — to rival political leaders.
Earlier than the hurricane, DeSantis clashed with the president over every part from vaccine and masks mandates to immigration coverage. The governor’s choice final month to fly almost 50 Venezuelan migrants from Texas to Martha’s Winery additionally drew a fierce backlash from Democrats and Biden, who referred to as such transports “reckless” and “un-American.”
But DeSantis, who has requested for and gotten expanded federal support to take care of the injury attributable to the storm, has complimented federal authorities a number of instances on the response and did so once more on Tuesday, on the eve of Biden’s go to. The storm, one of many worst in Florida historical past, killed not less than 72 folks.
Christian Ziegler, vice chairman of the Republican Celebration of Florida, mentioned it’s not stunning that DeSantis has labored effectively with the federal authorities.
“Saving lives, defending households, rebuilding houses and opening up our economic system are greater than petty politics,” Ziegler mentioned. “Gov. DeSantis is main our response and his willingness to work instantly with President Biden — who controls a big pipeline of federal assets taxpayers in Florida have paid for — is simply one other of DeSantis’ willingness to do no matter it takes to ship for Florida’s finest curiosity.”
Charlie Crist, the Democratic nominee difficult DeSantis in November, has slowly began to ramp up criticism of DeSantis over the governor’s dealing with of the storm, together with questioning whether or not or not DeSantis ought to have pressed native authorities in Lee County to order evacuations ahead of they did.
However Crist mentioned DeSantis is making the appropriate choice to put aside his variations with Biden proper now.
“That’s the one man who might help Florida as a lot as you want,” Crist mentioned in an interview.
Crist is aware of first-hand the dangers related to assembly a rival president and the results that include it. Crist was Florida’s governor and a Republican when he appeared alongside — after which gave a hug to — then-President Barack Obama, who had flown to Florida to tout the huge federal support package deal enacted in response to the Nice Recession.
It proved to be the catalyst for GOP opposition in opposition to Crist, who a yr later left the Republican Celebration forward of the 2010 U.S. Senate race that he misplaced to Marco Rubio.
Crist, who later mounted an unsuccessful bid for governor as a Democrat in 2014, earlier than successful election to Congress, mentioned he has no regrets about “the hug” or his choice to be seen as heat and pleasant to Obama.
“It was concerning the folks of Florida,” Crist mentioned. “It was not about Republicans and Democrats. The president was coming right here to assist us to get out of the Nice Recession. It was $12 billion and I used to be grateful…Some issues are extra vital than the political implications.”
One other GOP governor, Chris Christie of New Jersey, additionally endured scorn from Republicans for placing politics apart and dealing with Obama within the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy in 2012. That catastrophe — like Hurricane Ian — got here proper earlier than the election, and it too featured an alleged hug between governor and president.
Ron Klain, the White Home chief of employees, was requested concerning the backlash in opposition to Christie when he appeared on MSNBC on Monday, in addition to what Biden and DeSantis had already mentioned.
“I feel it’s the alternative of politics,” Klain mentioned. “Regardless of the political fallout was from the truth that a Republican governor labored with a Democratic president in response to Superstorm Sandy, that’s the way in which it needs to be. And that’s what we’ve additionally completed right here. The president spoke to Gov. DeSantis a lot of instances. He’s spoken to Republican and Democratic native officers.”
One clear political benefit for DeSantis is that he’s able of energy proper now. He’s heading into his reelection forward within the polls and having fun with an incredible monetary benefit. Republicans are additionally assured in Florida, given the continued swing of the citizens away from Democrats and to the GOP.
And whereas DeSantis has put his combative aspect on pause since Hurricane Ian, there are indicators that it could quickly reemerge because the restoration part of the storm kicks into full gear. Throughout a mid-afternoon storm briefing Tuesday in Fort Myers, DeSantis mentioned three folks just lately arrested for looting had entered the nation illegally.
“It’s actually unhappy the state of affairs our nation finds itself in due to the open border,” DeSantis mentioned.
Hours earlier on the White Home, Jean-Pierre was requested whether or not Biden and DeSantis would talk about his latest push to move migrants from Texas.
“There will likely be loads of time to debate variations… however now will not be the time,” she mentioned.
Daniel Lippman contributed to this story.