Is DeSantis-Biden showdown all about the campaign trail?

Perhaps Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis war of words with President Joe Biden is about more than just their differing opinions on handling COVID-19. It could foreshadow a 2024 presidential race.

HIALEAH GARDENS, Fla. – Remember that spirit of support last month? The collaboration between President Joe Biden and Gov. Ron DeSantis?

They’re not in Surfside anymore.

Day three of the air assault involved the president responding “Governor who?” when asked the latest question about DeSantis’ differing position on COVID-19 mandates.

It started Tuesday afternoon at the White House, when the president name-checked Florida and Texas over rising coronavirus infections, saying, “If you aren’t going to help, at least get out of the way.”

The governor, or someone on his team, heard campaign gold.

And the script was ready by a Wednesday afternoon event in Panama City.

“I’m standing in your way — I’m not letting you get away with it,” DeSantis, a rumored future presidential candidate said to applause.

And that became the foundation of a “Friends of Ron DeSantis” political committee fundraising email blast less than seven hours later.

[ALSO SEE: DeSantis, House GOP Leader McCarthy pressure Biden to do more for Cuba]

About elected officials in campaign mode? We asked a plain-speaking congressman who has been through a few.

“Either the candidate or somebody inside the campaign will say, ‘Hey, so and so said something. This could be a good comeback for that,’” U.S. Rep. Carlos Giménez said.

Do you look for that?

“No, actually, I don’t look for it,” the former Miami-Dade County mayor said. “It just falls in our lap.”

DeSantis’ re-election campaign for next year is well underway, you’ve heard the talk of a run for president in 2024.

He didn’t take questions Thursday about COVID-19 in Florida during visits in Doral or Hialeah Gardens.

Managing the media and the exposure — that’s nothing new either.

“And that’s every candidate,” Gimenez said. “Anybody who says they don’t try to manage the media is just not — well — they’re probably not going to be elected too often.”

Evening report from Washington

About the Author:

Glenna Milberg joined Local 10 News in September 1999 to report on South Florida's top stories and community issues. She also serves as co-host on Local 10's public affairs broadcast, "This Week in South Florida."