President Biden on Tuesday described Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R), a potential 2024 rival, as “Donald Trump incarnate” while stumping for Democratic gubernatorial nominee Charlie Crist.
“Charlie is running against Donald Trump incarnate. This guy doesn’t fit any of the categories I talked about. The way he deals, the way he denies,” Biden said at a fundraiser for Crist in Golden Beach, Fla.
Biden praised Crist for his “integrity and intelligence” and mentioned multiple times the outsized role Florida will play in the country’s midterm elections next week.
“The rest of the world is looking at us, Charlie. They’re looking at us,” he said. “It is really important that a state the size of Florida … comes down on the right side of history.”
The president traveled to Florida on Tuesday to deliver remarks warning that Republicans would try to take away Social Security and Medicare benefits and drive up the cost of living with their policies if they retake control of Congress. He also was attending fundraisers for Crist and Florida Senate candidate and Rep. Val Demings (D), who is trying to unseat Sen. Marco Rubio (R).
The Biden White House has had an adversarial relationship with DeSantis for months, with the two sides clashing over the governor outlawing mask mandates in schools, passing legislation to restrict discussion of sexual orientation in the classroom and sending migrants to Democratic areas via private planes.
The president last visited Florida to tour damage from Hurricane Ian in October, when he appeared alongside DeSantis and commended his response to the storm.
DeSantis is expected to win reelection next week, with multiple polls in recent weeks showing him with a comfortable lead over Crist, a former governor and congressman.
DeSantis is widely seen as a potential Republican presidential candidate for 2024, and he could pose a formidable challenge to former President Trump in a primary. DeSantis consistently polls as a top alternative to Trump among GOP voters, and some strategists believe he could attract Trump’s supporters in a primary without carrying the baggage of multiple investigations.
An ABC News-Ipsos poll published late last month found that 72 percent of registered Republicans believe that DeSantis should have a great or good deal of influence in the future direction of the GOP, while 64 percent of respondents said the same of Trump.
Source: The Hill