Science

Biden travels to Florida, bruised by Hurricane Yang and stronghold of a fierce adversary – Science et Avenir

On Wednesday, Joe Biden travels to Florida, where Hurricane Yang has sowed death and destruction, determined to temporarily close political divisions in the state, led by one of his most vocal opponents.

The US president and his wife, Jill Biden, are due to arrive around 18:45 GMT in Fort Myers, in the state’s southwest, where the hurricane made landfall and caused the most damage.

The presidential couple will be able to realize this during a helicopter flight, before meeting with local political leaders, then with residents affected by natural disasters, as relief operations continue and a very long recovery process begins.

The President of the United States is then due to deliver a speech at 21:15 GMT.

Damaged last Wednesday by Category 4 Hurricane Ian, Florida is still counting the dead and assessing the significant damage caused by one of the most violent storms in recent American history.

An aerial photograph taken on October 3, 2022 in Matlatch, Florida, a few days after Hurricane Ian. (AFP – Ricardo ARDUENGO)

The official death toll on Tuesday was 76 (72 in Florida and 4 in North Carolina), but US media have counted more than a hundred dead while rescuers are still working in flooded areas.

Hundreds of thousands of Florida residents were still without power Tuesday, and authorities said it would take months and $50 billion or more to restore the devastated coastal areas.

– “This is not the moment” –

If Joe Biden brings all his natural sympathy to bear on such occasions, the atmosphere can nonetheless be a little tense when he’s around Gov. Ron DeSantis, a rising GOP star and a particularly vocal critic of the Democratic president.

“You will have many opportunities to discuss the differences between the president and the governor. But now is not the time,” White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said Tuesday.

Joe Biden and Ron DeSantis are “going to talk about what Florida needs to get into the recovery phase,” she added.

This is the second trip of its kind for the American president in a week: on Monday he traveled to Puerto Rico, the US Caribbean territory devastated by yet another Hurricane Fiona.

The name of 44-year-old Ron DeSantis often appears on the lists of potential Republican candidates in the 2024 presidential election.

Republican Governor Ron DeSantis delivers a speech in Hialeah, Florida on August 23, 2022. (AFP - CHANDAN KHANNA)Republican Governor Ron DeSantis delivers a speech in Hialeah, Florida on August 23, 2022. (AFP – CHANDAN KHANNA)

The Florida governor, a hardliner on immigration and very conservative on social issues, is regularly talked about with his controversial statements and decisions.

He recently took migrants to Washington and to the Democratic elite’s popular getaway, Martha’s Vineyard. The White House has crushed what it considers “a political maneuver (…) cruel.”

Ron DeSantis also passed legislation in March banning the teaching of gender identity and sexual orientation in public elementary schools, text that critics say could harm young LGBT+ people.

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