Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) slammed Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) for refusing to meet with Joe Biden during the president’s recent visit to survey hurricane damage in Florida.
“Your job as governor is to be the tour guide for the president, is to make sure the president sees your people, sees the damage, sees the suffering, what’s going on and what needs to be done to rebuild it,” Christie said during an interview Tuesday on Fox News Radio’s “The Brian Kilmeade Show.”
Biden visited Florida on Saturday to view the damage caused by Hurricane Idalia. Though the president initially said he would meet with DeSantis, the governor’s office said DeSantis had “no plans” to meet.
DeSantis and Christie are currently vying to be the Republican nominee for president against Biden, though neither one is showing strong poll numbers.
“You’re doing your job,” Christie said. “And unfortunately, [DeSantis] put politics ahead of his job. That was his choice.”
President Joe Biden tours an area impacted by Hurricane Ian on Oct. 5, 2022, in Fort Myers Beach, Florida. Gov. Ron DeSantis, visible on the right, accompanied the president at that time.
During his visit to Florida, Biden pledged to mobilize the support of the federal government to help struggling Floridians. Though he didn’t meet with DeSantis, he did meet with Florida Sen. Rick Scott (R), who praised Biden’s quick response to the hurricane.
“The President did a great job with the early declaration before the storm hit the coast,” Scott said during a Saturday press conference with Biden. “That was a big deal. It helped all these first responders. And then how fast you approved through FEMA the individual assistance, the public assistance … it was a big deal, people. These are not rich communities. Many of them struggle. And so what the federal government’s doing, by FEMA being a great partner, I want to thank you for doing that very quickly.”
DeSantis did spend time with Biden after Hurricane Ian hit Florida last year. A photo that went viral showed the president chatting with locals as DeSantis walked past them, his shoulders slumped and eyes cast down.
Asked about DeSantis’ absence on Saturday, Biden appeared unbothered.
“I’m not disappointed,” he said. “He may have had other reasons.”