While Democrats and their allies in the mainstream media have worked in concert over the last few weeks to blame rising coronavirus case numbers in Florida and Texas on Govs. Ron DeSantis and Greg Abbott respectively, both Governors have been pushing back on their critics, with Abbott correctly pointing out that Biden’s open borders policies are allowing COVID-positive migrants in by the thousands and DeSantis making similar arguments while vowing to fight against federal overreach when it comes to pressure to implement mask and vaccine mandates.
But because DeSantis is being floated as a possible 2024 presidential contender, is an unapologetic conservative who is very popular with the base of the party, and because he won’t keep quiet in his pointed criticisms about how President Biden has managed the economy, the border crisis, the pandemic, and foreign affairs since he took office, the outspoken Republican has become Public Enemy Number One to the White House, and they are using their bully pulpit to respond accordingly.
Case in point, Biden was asked earlier today about comments DeSantis made Wednesday about how he would stand in the way of any mandates pushed by the Biden administration on Florida. Here’s how the exchange between Biden and NBC News White House correspondent Kelly O’Donnell went down:
“What is your response to Gov. DeSantis, who is using your words about ‘don’t be in the way’ and he’s saying ‘I am in the way, to block too much interference from the federal government.’ Your response, Mr. President?” O’Donnell inquired.
“Governor who?” Biden responded as people, presumably other reporters, could be heard laughing. “That’s my response.”
Watch the clip below. Starts at about 25 seconds in:
Reporter: "[Ron DeSantis is] saying I am in the way to block too much interference from the federal government. Your response, Mr. President?"
President Biden: "Governor who?" pic.twitter.com/xMeNMNhaft
— The Hill (@thehill) August 5, 2021
Here’s another clip from O’Donnell’s angle:
Here is the president responding to my question about @GovRonDeSantis using Biden's words against him to say DeSantis is "getting in the way" over COVID rules. President Biden: "Governor who?" Watch. pic.twitter.com/mmjznTsLcf
— Kelly O'Donnell (@KellyO) August 5, 2021
Of course Democrats on the Twitter machine are going nuts over the flippant comment, with one popular account laughably claiming Biden “humiliated” DeSantis by what he said, but the hot takes I’ve read from The Usual Suspects on those two words from Biden widely miss the mark, in my humble opinion.
For a guy like DeSantis who eats his political enemies for breakfast and then goes on later in the day to dunk the left-wing partisans in the press without breaking a sweat even in the sweltering Florida heat, hearing Biden even jokingly refer to him as “Governor who?” is going to be like catnip, or the equivalent of waving a red flag in front of a bull whose nostrils are flaring, and who is ready to strike the aging matador who thinks it’s a good idea to tease him.
While we’ve got a ways to go before the 2024 presidential campaign season heats up, my prediction is that DeSantis is going to use the comments from Biden as a motivator to remind him, the state of Florida, and the rest of the country of exactly who he is and what he’s about even more aggressively than he’s already done, letting the chips fall where they may regardless of whether or not he decides to challenge Biden in a couple of years for the presidency.
Assuming he does mount a successful campaign for the GOP nomination, I can picture it now – Biden and DeSantis standing on the debate stage face to face for the first time, with DeSantis smiling as he introduces himself as “Governor Who – nice to meet you.”
In any event, there’s an old saying about being careful you don’t bite off more than you can chew. Unfortunately for Biden, he may have done just that with what he said today. We’ll find out soon enough.