“Well, I guess I’m not surprised that Biden doesn’t remember me. I guess the question is what else has he forgotten?” DeSantis quipped about President Biden pretending not to remember him by saying “Governor who?” when asked about the Florida Governor.
President Biden found out the hard way Friday that it’s not a good idea to taunt Gov. Ron DeSantis after the Florida Governor responded accordingly to comments Biden made about him the previous day.
Though the two have been engaging in a war of words the last several weeks over a number of issues including Biden and White House press secretary Jen Psaki continuing to blame him and Texas Gov. Greg Abbott for the rise in coronavirus case numbers in their respective states, Biden made the mistake of poking the bear Thursday when he was asked about DeSantis saying that he would stand in the way of federal government overreach in Florida.
Here’s how the exchange went down between Biden and NBC News White House correspondent Kelly O’Donnell:
“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, possibly other reporters, could be heard laughing in the background. “That’s my response.”
Watch the clip below. Starts at 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
As I wrote in response to Biden’s jab, for a guy like DeSantis who routinely eats his political opposition for breakfast and then goes on later in the day to dunk the left-wing partisans in the press without breaking a sweat, hearing Biden even jokingly refer to him as “Governor who?” was likely 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.
Sure enough, the next day DeSantis came out swinging when he was asked about Biden’s “Governor who?” quip:
Reporter: Do you have a comment about the comment that President Biden made recently?
Gov. DeSantis: Well, I guess I’m not surprised that Biden doesn’t remember me. I guess the question is what else has he forgotten? Biden’s forgotten about the crisis at our southern border, I can tell you that. Biden has forgotten about the inflation that’s biting the budgets of families all throughout our country. Biden has forgotten about the demonstrators who are fighting for freedom down in Cuba. Biden’s even forgotten about the Constitution itself as we saw with what he did with this moratorium.
And I can just tell you I’m the Governor who protects parents in their ability to make the right choices for their kids’ education. I’m the Governor who protects the jobs and education and businesses in Florida by not letting the federal government lock us down. I’m the Governor who answers to the people of Florida not to bureaucrats in Washington.
DeSantis: “I’m not surprised that Biden doesn’t remember me . . . The question is what else has he forgotten?” pic.twitter.com/uO3yy12Hbj
— Arthur Schwartz (@ArthurSchwartz) August 6, 2021
While it’s way too early to declare intentions to challenge Biden (or Vice President Harris?) in 2024, DeSantis is sending out strong signals that he intends to do just that. If you’ll notice, he often doesn’t just refer to Florida when he’s talking about how an issue impacts people. He also refers to the country. He also talks about issues of national import, like the border crisis, which impacts states like Texas, Arizona, etc. far more than it does Florida.
DeSantis still has to get through the 2022 gubernatorial race, but assuming he does, he’ll be well-positioned to be a viable contender for the GOP nomination. He’s popular with the party’s base and from the reactions I’ve seen he continues to hit all the right notes, especially when under attack by Democrats and the mainstream media.
With that in mind, if Biden’s smart (and that’s highly debatable) he’ll want to be careful in how much he goes after DeSantis in the coming months, because the more he does the more he elevates his profile on a national stage, giving him free publicity along the way. It’s the kind of thing that can backfire rather spectacularly if one is not careful, which is exactly what happened this week when Biden made the mistake of being dismissive of who DeSantis is.
— Stacey Matthews has also written under the pseudonym “Sister Toldjah” and can be reached via Twitter. —DONATE
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