Saturday morning, President Joe Biden traveled to Florida to assess the damage wrought by Hurricane Idalia.
Biden's previously unscheduled journey to Florida will interfere with his planned beach vacation in Rehoboth, Delaware. The president has spent over twenty percent of 2023 in Delaware including his two-week August vacation, as The Daily Caller reported.
“I am going to Florida Saturday morning,” Biden told reporters Thursday after delivering remarks at the FEMA headquarters. The president also made note of his coordination with Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and FEMA Administrator Deanne Criswell in delivering hurricane recovery.
Republican presidential contender and Florida governor Ron DeSantis reportedly did not accompany Biden because he felt the vice president's presence could slow down disaster relief work.
During his Saturday trip, Biden saw the impact of Idalia from the sky and was able to survey the trail that the hurricane cut through the state of Florida, according to a report by The Associated Press.
The president pledged the federal government’s total support for Floridians: “I’m here today to deliver a clear message to the people of Florida and throughout the Southeast,” Biden said after the walking tour.
He stood outside next to a house that had been partially crushed by a falling tree and a church whose sheet metal roof had been partially pulled back by Idalia's impressive winds.
“As I’ve told your governor, if there’s anything your state needs, I’m ready to mobilize that support,” he continued. “Anything they need related to these storms. Your nation has your back and we’ll be with you until the job is done.’’
In addition to having to leave Delaware early, Biden's plans changed while in Florida. FEMA Administrator Deanne Criswell told reporters on the plane with the president that they had "worked collectively" with the governor's office to decide where he would visit.
The officials stated that there were "no concerns over any impact to the communities that we are going to visit today" concerning disruptions by the Biden caravan.
The governor's office issued a statement on Friday indicating there were no arrangements for a meeting between Biden and DeSantis, despite Biden's claims to the contrary.
“In these rural communities, and so soon after impact, the security preparations alone that would go into setting up such a meeting would shut down ongoing recovery efforts,” DeSantis spokesman Jeremy Redfern said in a statement.
The office of DeSantis stated that his public schedule for Saturday included appointments in Keaton Beach, located approximately 60 miles southwest of Live Oak, and Horseshoe Beach, located approximately 75 miles away, with the last event beginning at 1:45 p.m.