Very little has been said in this space about the condo collapse in South Florida.
Nevertheless - I've got a contrast in leadership to note today.
President Biden did all the things. He waited a few days so rescuers could do their work. Eventually he travelled to Florida to console the families, and encourage the rescuers.
(CNN)President Joe Biden, whose empathy amid loss is his chief political characteristic, traveled Thursday to console families in Florida enduring the excruciating search for loved ones inside a seaside condo that suddenly collapsed a week ago.
"Never give up hope," he told the anguished relatives of those still missing, who had gathered in a hotel ballroom to hear from a President whose own reckoning with grief has colored his personal and political lives. Later, Biden told reporters the families were "going through hell" as they question whether they'll ever be able to recover their loved ones' remains.
The meeting with families was closed to the press, but some attendees posted about the event on social media. Biden, who spoke softly, had his words translated into Spanish.
"It used to drive me crazy when they'd say I know how you feel," he said, recounting the deaths of his wife, daughter and son -- losses that have punctuated his public life. "And you know they meant well but you know they had no idea. None."
He was speaking from experience. From the day in 1972 when he was sworn in as US senator at his sons' hospital bedside following a car crash that had killed his wife and daughter, Biden's persona been defined by grief. When one of those sons, Beau, died of a brain tumor in 2015, grief again came to color Biden's life. He wrestled with it publicly, including as he weighed a presidential run.
"No matter what the outcome, the people you love, the people you may have lost, they're going to be with you always. Part of your soul. Part of who you are," Biden said as attendees' eyes filled with tears.
Meanwhile, a mere 200 miles away - against the wishes of the Governor, mind you - captain tone deaf is doing this this weekend.
People are lining up more than a day early for former President Donald Trump's July 4 weekend rally in Sarasota, Florida.
Video showed parked vehicles and tents at the Sarasota Fairgrounds with flags boasting messages supporting the 45th president. Dozens of people were present when WFLA 8 On Your Side, a local NBC affiliate, reported Friday on the gathering.
Sources told the Washington Examiner this week that Trump is holding the Saturday event despite pleas from Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis to postpone the campaign-style rally roughly 200 miles from the Miami suburb where an international search and rescue mission is excavating bodies from the site of a partially collapsed seaside condominium.
DeSantis's team denied that the Republican governor, who is widely seen as a top 2024 presidential contender, signaled to Trump he wanted the rally to be called off.
â€œGov. 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 â€” from the Stanley Cup Finals to President Trumpâ€™s rally â€” should be canceled,â€ DeSantis press secretary Christina Pushaw said. â€œHe wants all Floridians to enjoy the holiday weekend and celebrate Independence Day however they choose, while keeping the Surfside families and first responders in their prayers.â€
I sure am glad we have a real president again.