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Monday, April 22, 2024

President Joe Biden flies into Gainesville Airport

Arrival marks beginning of post-Hurricane Idalia assessment

President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden arrived at the Gainesville Regional Airport at around 1 p.m. Saturday to address damages in the aftermath of Hurricane Idalia.

The president’s visit comes after the passing of Hurricane Idalia, a Category 3 storm that devastated areas of Florida’s Big Bend region earlier this week. Biden is scheduled to travel to Live Oak, a city severely impacted by the storm, Saturday afternoon, to participate in a briefing on recovery efforts. He is expected to meet with federal personnel, local officials and first responders. 

Idalia sustained winds of 125 mph and brought 7-foot water surges as it tore through the Big Bend region Wednesday. Thousands of households are still without power. Cedar Key, Horseshoe Beach, Steinhatchee, Keaton Beach, Perry and Live Oak were among the towns hit hardest by the storm.

Gov. Ron DeSantis will not meet with Biden during the visit. The White House announced Thursday the president would be traveling to Florida and plans of his arrival were issued to the governor. 

DeSantis’ spokesperson Jeremy Redfern said a meeting between the governor and president would require security preparation and could take away from disaster recovery efforts.

Meanwhile, DeSantis continues to visit counties impacted by the storm, including Taylor, Levy, Madison and Suwannee County. The governor posted a photo of him on X, formerly known as Twitter, Friday visiting a Busy Bee gas station in Live Oak.

Biden’s arrival to Florida follows scrutiny for what was called a delayed response to the Maui wildfires that killed more than 100 people and destroyed more than 2,000 structures.

Contact Sophia at sbailly@alligator.org. Follow her on Twitter @sophia_bailly.

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Sophia Bailly

Sophia Bailly is a second-year journalism major and covers politics for the enterprise desk. Some of her favorite things include The Beatles, croissants and Agatha Christie books. When she's not writing stories she's either reading or going for a run.


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