President Joe Biden on Saturday surveyed damage caused by Hurricane Idalia and reassured the storm's victims of the federal government's response, after Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis chose not to meet with him.
While on the ground in Florida, Biden said he was not disappointed that DeSantis rejected a meeting with him.
"No, I'm not disappointed," Biden said Saturday afternoon. "He may have had other reasons because- but he did help us plan this. He sat with FEMA and decided where we should go, where it'd be the least disruption."
Biden then commended Florida Sen. Rick Scott, a Republican, who in contrast with DeSantis joined the president on his tour of some of the hardest-hit areas. The president said he was "very pleased" that Scott was present even though they do not agree on "very much at all."
Earlier in the afternoon, during a briefing on the recovery effort, Scott himself complimented Biden.
"First off, the President did a great job with the early declaration before the storm hit the coast. That was a big deal. It helped all these first responders," Scott said. "And then with how fast you approved through FEMA the individual assistance, the public assistance and debris pickup is a big deal to everyone in these communities."
The president also told Floridians that the federal government was committed to the hurricane recovery effort.
"As I told your governor, if there's anything your state needs, I'm ready to mobilize that support," the president said. "Anything they need related to these storms. Your nation has your back and we'll be with you until the job is done."
Biden told reporters Saturday morning that his message to DeSantis is: "We're gonna take care of Florida."
The president offered his first on-camera reaction to his meeting with DeSantis falling through on Saturday morning as he began his trip to the state.
"I don't know," Biden said in response to a shouted question as he and the first lady boarded Marine One about what happened with his meeting with the governor. "He's not going to be there."
Federal Emergency Management Agency Administrator Deanne Criswell said Saturday that security concerns expressed by DeSantis' office Friday were not relayed to FEMA staffers.
"I have teams that have been on the ground since I left, and we have heard no concerns over any impact to the communities we're going to visit today," Criswell said Saturday.
The official's comment comes after DeSantis's office said he would not meet with Biden, citing the disruptive effect a presidential security detail could have on the recovery effort.
"We don't have any plans for the Governor to meet with the President tomorrow," DeSantis' press secretary, Jeremy Redfern, said to ABC News in a statement Friday. "In these rural communities, and so soon after impact, the security preparations alone that would go into setting up such a meeting would shut down ongoing recovery efforts."
Asked Saturday morning, "Do you agree with him that the security apparatus isn't strong enough?" Biden smiled and asked, "Do you?"
White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said on Saturday that the invite to the governor still stands.
"Of course he is welcome to be with the president today," she said.
The two political leaders set aside politics last year when Biden traveled to Florida to survey damage from Hurricane Ian -- but that was before DeSantis announced his 2024 campaign.
ABC News has reached out to DeSantis' office for comment.
In addition to DeSantis' snub, it appears Rep. Kat Cammack, R-Fla., may have also turned down a meeting with Biden. Before Biden landed in Florida, Criswell said it was her understanding that Cammack would join the president, but was not present. ABC News reached out to Cammack's office to confirm if she was going to meet with Biden, but did not hear back.
Scott, who is up for reelection next year, announced on Twitter Friday night, minutes after DeSantis's office rejected a meeting with the president, that he would be in Suwannee County with Biden to receive a briefing from local officials and meet with families impacted by Hurricane Idalia. Scott also said he would urge Biden to support his legislation, The Federal Disaster Responsibility Act, adding that Floridians and Americans would benefit from its passage.