- Gov. Ron DeSantis will not attend former President Trump’s rally in Sarasota on Saturday.
- DeSantis’ office said he continues to monitor the aftermath of the deadly condo collapse in Surfside.
- A Trump spokesperson said the rally’s location “will not impact any of the recovery efforts.”
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Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida will not attend former President Donald Trump’s rally in Sarasota on Saturday, as he monitors the aftermath of the deadly condo collapse in Surfside, a town in Miami-Dade County.
DeSantis press secretary Christina Pushaw told The Hill that the governor would continue to tend to the needs of the affected South Florida community in the wake of the harrowing event.
“We can confirm that the Governor will not attend the rally in Sarasota,” she said in a statement. “He spoke with President Trump, who agreed that this was the right decision, as the Governor’s duty is to be in Surfside making sure the families and community have what they need in the aftermath of the tragic building collapse.”
She added: “Governor DeSantis would have gone to this event in normal circumstances. He is sure the rally will draw a big crowd on this holiday weekend, as many Floridians are excited to attend.”
The development that DeSantis would forgo the event was first reported by The New York Times.
Earlier this week, DeSantis’ office refuted a report that it asked Trump to postpone the event in light of the tragedy in Surfside.
DeSantis “is focusing on his duties as Governor and the tragedy in Surfside, and has never suggested or requested that events planned in different parts of Florida – from the Stanley Cup finals to President Trump’s rally – should be canceled,” the governor’s office said in a statement earlier this week, according to the Sarasota Herald-Tribune.
The Herald-Tribune reported that Trump spokesperson Liz Harrington said the distance between Surfside and Sarasota precludes any disruption in the rescue efforts.
“Like all Americans, President Trump sends his deepest condolences to those who’ve lost loved ones or been displaced by the terrible tragedy in Surfside,” she said. “The event in Sarasota, however, is on the other side of the state, 3.5 hours away, approximately the same distance from Boston to New York, and will not impact any of the recovery efforts.”
She added: “In fact, President Trump has instructed his team to collect relief aid for Surfside families both online and on-site at the Sarasota rally.”
More than a week after the collapse of the Surfside condo building, there have been 24 confirmed deaths as of Saturday, with 124 people still missing.
On Thursday, President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden visited the area to mourn with survivors and family members of individuals impacted by the tragedy.
“They’re going through hell,” Biden said of the families during his visit. “Jill and I want them to know that we’re with them and the country’s with them.”
DeSantis, who is seen as a top 2024 GOP presidential prospect in the event that Trump declines to run for office again, praised Biden for his response to the event in a moment of public comity.
“You guys have not only been supportive at the federal level, but we’ve had no bureaucracy,” he said.
Biden responded: “I promise you, there will be none.”