Chris Christie slammed GOP presidential rival Ron DeSantis for “playing politics” after the Florida governor chose not to meet with President Biden during his trip to the Sunshine State to survey damage from Idalia.
Biden spoke with DeSantis last Monday about federal assistance as the state braced for Hurricane Idalia’s eventual impact, and the two spoke again on Thursday, one day after landfall and after Biden approved a major disaster declaration for the state.
But, the two 2024 presidential rivals kept their distance during Biden’s visit Saturday, a decision that Christie said he wasn’t surprised by.
“That’s [DeSantis’s] choice,” Christie said, in an interview with Brian Kilmeade on Fox News Radio. “I’m not the least bit surprised that is what he chose to do.”
Christie, the former governor of New Jersey who met with then-President Barack Obama in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, said DeSantis failed in his job as governor of the state.
“You’re the governor of the state, the President of the United States comes and you’re asking…the Congress for significant aid…you should have been there with the president to welcome him,” Christie said.
Instead of meeting with DeSantis, Biden met with the current junior senator of the state and former governor, Rick Scott. Biden praised Scott after their meeting and Christie took the chance to draw a distinction he sees between DeSantis and Scott.
“Fortunately, Rick Scott…who knows what it means to be governor, showed up and made sure the President saw what he needed to see,” Christie said.
Christie said DeSantis failed to be there for the people of Florida by not being there to meet with Biden.
“Your job as governor is to be the tour guide for the president,” Christie said. “To make sure the president sees your people, sees the damage, sees the suffering that’s going on and what’s going to be needed to be done to rebuild it.
“You’re doing your job and unfortunately he put politics ahead of his job, that was his choice,” Christie said.
Biden said that he had been in touch with DeSantis prior to his visit, the location was mutually agreed upon and that he wasn’t disappointed with DeSantis for not coming, saying “he may have had other reasons.”
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