by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
President Biden on Tuesday labeled Florida Republican governor Ron DeSantis “Donald Trump incarnate” while boosting Democratic gubernatorial nominee Charlie Crist on the campaign trail.
“Charlie is running against Donald Trump incarnate,” Biden said at a fundraising event for Crist. “This guy doesn’t fit any of the categories I talked about. The way he deals, the way he denies . . . I always say democracy is on the ballot. I really mean it.”
DeSantis is seen as a potential GOP frotrunner and competitor to Biden in a 2024 presidential-election matchup.
“The rest of the world is looking at us, Charlie. They’re looking at us,” Biden said. “It is really important that a state the size of Florida . . . comes down on the right side of history.” He urged Florida residents to cast their ballots for Crist for governor because he has “integrity and intelligence.”
Ahead of the midterms next week, the president went to Florida on Tuesday to speak to voters about the dangers of a GOP-controlled Congress, fear-mongering that it would seek to eliminate entitlement programs such as Social Security and Medicare. Biden also stumped for Democratic representative Val Demings, who is vying to replace incumbent Republican Senator Marco Rubio.
“Lots on the ballot. This is a genuine inflection point in American history,” Biden said.
The Biden administration and the DeSantis administration have dueled since the pandemic erupted over the appropriate level of government intervention to mitigation the disease. They’ve had legal and PR skirmishes over Florida’s banning of mask mandates in K–12 schools, as well as over prohibitions on teaching gender identity and sexual orientation to elementary schoolers and state-funded migrant flights to destinations considered immigration sanctuaries, such as Martha’s Vineyard. However, when Hurricane Ian struck Florida, devastating the west coast of the state, Biden flew down to address citizens and collaborated with DeSantis to deliver federal disaster relief. Biden applauded DeSantis for his management of the crisis.