Former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie has condemned Governor Ron DeSantis of Florida for prioritizing politics over his responsibilities as governor. This came after DeSantis chose not to meet with President Joe Biden during his visit to survey the damage caused by Hurricane Idalia over the weekend.
According to Christie, it is the duty of a governor to serve as a tour guide for the president, ensuring that he witnesses the destruction, suffering, and the necessary steps to rebuild. He believes that DeSantis failed in this regard and emphasized that putting politics above one’s job is a conscious choice.
Christie, who was a contender against DeSantis in the Republican presidential primary, has firsthand experience with the optics of hosting a Democratic president following a natural disaster. In the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy in 2012, which devastated New Jersey, Christie warmly greeted then-President Barack Obama at an Atlantic City tarmac. However, he faced criticism from conservative pundits who suggested that this interaction contributed to Mitt Romney’s loss in the subsequent presidential election.
In contrast to his criticism of DeSantis, Christie commended Senator Rick Scott for stepping in to meet President Biden during his visit to Live Oak on Saturday. He praised Scott’s understanding of the responsibilities of a governor and how crucial it is to ensure that the president witnesses the necessary sights.
The DeSantis campaign has not yet responded to Christie’s remarks. The governor’s office previously cited security preparations and interference with recovery efforts as reasons for the decision not to meet with President Biden.
Despite the ongoing criticism over his encounter with Obama, Christie stated that he has no regrets about extending a warm welcome in 2012. He emphasized that his priority was serving the people who elected him, and he ultimately succeeded in rebuilding the state of New Jersey within a record time frame, restoring tourism the following summer.