Biden visits hurricane-torn Florida


(AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

President Joe Biden talks with people impacted by Hurricane Ian as he tours the area impacted by Hurricane Ian on Wednesday, Oct. 5, 2022, in Fort Myers Beach, Fla. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis walks by at right.

Colin Moorhead II, Staff Reporter

Hurricane Ian left the state of Florida and its citizens in complete disarray amidst the destruction. Both state and federal governments have provided resources and aid to the affected areas. 

President Joe Biden visited Florida last week, alongside his wife Jill Biden. While on his visit, Biden toured Fort Myers by helicopter and met with both Gov. DeSantis and Sens. Marco Rubio and Rick Scott. After his tour of the area, the president made a speech regarding the aid efforts currently being deployed. He remarked, “You can’t go back to what it was before — you got to build back better because we know more is coming.”

DeSantis and Biden have been established as political rivals in recent years, with issues like COVID and immigration. However, in the response and preparation for Hurricane Ian, the two set aside their differences. This recent trip was the first time the governor and president held a joint event since the Surfside condo, the building that collapsed in 2021 that killed almost 100 individuals. 

The president confirmed further federal aid to the state of Florida with the upcoming weeks of recovery.

Colin Swearingen, professor of political science at John Carroll, stated, “FEMA is doing its job and sending people down to Florida; state and local officials are working on rescuing efforts and restoring basic utilities.At this point, it’s too early to tell if this is successful.” 

This bipartisan moment between the two political rivals demonstrates the significance of this crisis. With the midterm elections quickly approaching, the two have little reason to support the other. According to Politico, “…such meetings, even amid disaster, present political risk if either is seen as being too accommodating — or warm — to rival political leaders.” Vice-chairman of the Republican Party of Florida, Christian Ziegler, argued that this shows “just another of DeSantis’ willingness to do whatever it takes to deliver for Florida’s best interest.” 

Charlie Crist, Democratic candidate for governor against DeSantis and former Republican governor, lost his bid for governor in 2014 due to his appearance with President Obama. Some speculate that DeSantis is in danger of making the same mistake ahead of his reelection in November. 

Swearingen does not share this worry for DeSantis.“I would push back on Crist being hurt by being friendly with Obama. Someone may have complained, but I’ve not seen any evidence that the event made much of a difference. At the end of the day, elected officials have to govern and people expect that.  Arguing that Biden and DeSantis are being too friendly is a sign that some people have lost the plot.”