LIVE OAK, Fla. — President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden landed in Florida on Saturday afternoon to survey the damage left behind from the Category 3 hurricane that made landfall earlier this week.
Air Force One landed at a Gainesville airport where both Bidens boarded Marine One to Live Oak, which is located about 80 miles east of Tallahassee, according to The Associated Press.
‘Your nation has your back’
Update 6:56 p.m. EDT Sept. 2: President Joe Biden and first lady Dr. Jill Biden met with U.S. Sen. Rick Scott, R-Florida, after landing on Saturday. The president also met with federal personnel, local officials and first responders in Live Oak.
Gov. Ron DeSantis did not join Biden at a news conference after suggesting that the president’s presence in the Big Bend area could hamper response efforts, The Associated Press reported.
Biden praised Scott for keeping him up to date about the situation in the area, while the senator thanked the president for the administration’s “fast” response, CNN reported.
“I’m very pleased, the guy who we don’t agree very much at all, the distinguished former governor and senior senator, he came, talked about to me and to you all (about) what an incredible job the federal government was doing and I found that reassuring,” Biden said. “And, so, I think we can pull all of this together, I really do.”
Biden said he was not disappointed that DeSantis did not meet with him and Scott.
“He may have had other reasons,” the president said. “But he did help us plan this, he sat with FEMA and decided where we should go, where it would be the least disruptive.”
In a message to Floridians, Biden said the federal government was prepared to help.
“Your nation has your back and we’ll be with you until the job is done.”
-- Bob D’Angelo, Cox Media Group National Content Desk
Original report: Biden is expected to have an aerial tour of the areas impacted by the storm, participate in a response and recovery briefing with other federal personnel, local officials as well as first responders before proceeding to tour an impact community, according to CNN.
A White House official said, according to CNN, that Republican Sen. Rick Scott, along with other local officials, will be participating some parts of Biden’s visit.
Idalia made landfall on Wednesday in the Big Bend region of Florida as a Category 3 storm, the AP reported. It caused flooding and damage in the region before moving on to Georgia and the Carolinas.
Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ office Friday said that he had “no plans” to meet with Biden on Saturday, according to the AP.
“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 obtained by the AP.
On Friday, Biden was asked if he was going to meet with DeSantis earlier in the day Friday following an event at the White House during his trip to Florida he replied, “Yes,” the AP reported.