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Ron and Casey DeSantis shown serving food to hurricane survivors

 September 3, 2023

During his Saturday visit to storm-ravaged areas of his state following Hurricane Idalia, Florida Gov. and current presidential candidate Ron DeSantis, accompanied by his wife Casey, distributed meals to the survivors, taking a separate path from President Joe Biden's tour, Daily Mail reported.

Biden, alongside first lady Jill, conducted an aerial survey of the damaged coastline en route to Live Oak.

Upon landing, he was briefed by local authorities on recovery initiatives and later mingled with residents in the city, accompanied by Sen. Rick Scott (R-FL)

DeSantis Opts for Separate Tour Amid Biden's Visit

However, DeSantis, who is vying for the Republican presidential nomination, chose not to join Biden's tour.

He indicated that such a meeting might disrupt disaster relief operations and instead embarked on an independent tour of storm-hit Keaton Beach, located approximately 50 miles from Live Oak.

This is the second occasion in recent weeks in which Biden faced criticism after a serious calamity. Earlier, he was reproached for a delayed response to the catastrophic Maui wildfires.

At various events and the initial GOP presidential debate, DeSantis took shots at Biden, alleging that the president was vacationing while Hawaii endured historic hardship.

Unity Amidst Adversity: The DeSantis Duo's Outreach

Amidst the challenges, there were instances of unity. The DeSantis duo also traveled to Horseshoe Beach, where they provided hurricane survivors with chicken sandwiches and also met with first responders.

In a heartfelt tweet, Casey DeSantis thanked the military personnel, first responders, and volunteers, also commending their efforts post-Hurricane Idalia.

Meanwhile, DeSantis shared images from Keaton Beach, noting the extensive damage and assured local officials of the state's unwavering support in recovery efforts.

However, there were political undertones as well. Though both Biden and DeSantis initially hinted that aiding the hurricane victims was beyond politics, the governor later inferred that a presidential visit might muddle the disaster response logistics.

Unveiling the Political Dissonance

There's a history of collaboration between the president and the Florida governor. They previously met in the wake of Hurricane Ian and again following the 2021 Miami Beach condo collapse.

But the current situation highlighted a distinct rift. Responding to questions about DeSantis' absence, Biden said he wasn't disappointed and credited the governor for aiding in planning the visit. The president also lauded Senator Rick Scott for his bipartisan spirit during these challenging times.

The aftermath of Hurricane Idalia has significant political implications. The Biden administration seeks additional funds for natural disaster response, emphasizing the rising costs due to climate change.

On the other hand, DeSantis' campaign strategy largely focuses on critiquing Democratic policies.

He often receives applause at GOP events by advocating for a change in leadership, referencing Biden's early pandemic retreat to his Delaware home.

Yet, with the Iowa caucuses on the horizon, DeSantis finds himself trailing behind former President Donald Trump, indicating a challenging road ahead.