Biden lands at GNV airport, visits Live Oak

The Marine One helicopter heads toward a takeoff passing in front of Air Force One.
The Marine One helicopter heads toward a takeoff passing in front of Air Force One.
Photo by Seth Johnson

President Joe Biden landed in Gainesville around 1 p.m. on Saturday on his way to Live Oak to survey damage from Hurricane Idalia.  

Marine One waited on the tarmac as Air Force One landed. The president transferred to the helicopter and, escorted by three Osprey helicopters, headed north.  

Biden issued an initial federal disaster declaration for seven Florida counties earlier this week, including Levy, Dixie and Suwannee, where Live Oak is the county seat. Suwannee experienced a near-total power loss from the storm.

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As Air Force One landed, local residents waited around the fence of Gainesville Regional Airport for a look at the presidential plane, with some standing on vehicles.

C-17 Globemasters had dropped off helicopters at the airport on Friday, and a VIP movement notification was initiated for Gainesville, Live Oak and Perry with certain restrictions.  

Anna Prizzia, chair of the Alachua County Board of County Commissioners, met Biden as he disembarked Saturday afternoon.

Marine One sits on the tarmac at Gainesville Regional Airport.
Photo by Andrew Wells An Osprey helicopter sits on the tarmac at Gainesville Regional Airport.

“This is what leadership looks like – Showing up in a crisis!” Prizzia later posted on Facebook. “Definitely a career highlight to meet President Joe Biden, his amazing wife Dr. Jill Biden, and the first woman FEMA Director Deanne Criswell.”

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who is running for the Republican nomination for president, did not meet with Biden while he was in Florida.

Biden gave remarks from Live Oak in front of a house with a tree fallen across the roof. In speaking with the neighbors, Biden said the fallen tree behind him would have hit their daughter’s bedroom if it had fallen 10 degrees in the other direction. 

He had just come from an ariel tour of the damage and said the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has been directed to help in any way. Biden also noted that he signed Florida request for a federal emergency declaration within six hours of getting it.  

He said it’s been 100 years since winds so strong had hit the Big Bend area and he prays another 100 years would pass before they came again. Despite the damage, the president said he’d seen communities and neighbors helping each other. 

“When people are in trouble, the most important thing you can give them is hope,” Biden said. “There’s no hope like your neighbor walking across the street to see what they can do for you.” 

The president also called on Congress to provide the dollars necessary for FEMA to be prepared for future emergencies, saying that disasters will come faster with climate change and referencing the Maui wildfires.  

“Before this storm, we pre-deployed 1,500 federal personnel and 900 Coast Guard personnel,” Biden said. “That’s not to mention the State National Guard was here that has weighed in as well.” 

On Friday, Biden signed off on DeSantis’ request to add six more counties to the major disaster declaration. The list now includes 13 counties: Citrus, Columbia, Dixie, Gilchrist, Hamilton, Hernando, Jefferson, Lafayette, Levy, Madison, Pasco, Suwannee and Taylor.  

Biden shook hands and took selfies with Live Oak residents after his remarks. Besides supporters, naysayers also spoke up, with videos showing some residents shouting “F— Joe Biden” as his motorcade rolled through the town.

Editor’s note: This story has been updated.

Photo by Seth Johnson Local residents watch Air Force One land at Gainesville Regional Airport.

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Jeff Gehmann

The story doesn’t mention this but Biden never fails to start out saying “ Jill and I know how you feel, we were in a blank, blank, had a fire in our house, lost our son in war…” and other grossly exaggerated or made up stories…all to make it about himself as a hero that’s done it all. He loves to recklessly overspend other people’s money too. Why should he worry? He’ll be protected then dead before it all crashes down.

Erin Carlyon

Trump used Air Force One to fly to Mar-a-Lago to play friggin’ golf, lol.

Reagan Republican

Didn’t Trump use Air Force One for his golf outings.


You got that right!

ray mellott

Really? What would people have been saying had he NOT visited? Because when Joe didn’t get quickly to Maui, people were raging on about that, too. Seems to me there is a certain community who are gonna rag on about Joe, no matter what he does or doesn’t do. And by the way: Given you’re right about that $200,000 an hour how many times did Joe’s predecessor use AF 1 for his three and four day weekend golf getaways? So…. seems to me that it’s more than a touch hypocritical to be calling Joe out for coming to Florida to do what he did; and then for people to stay silent about presidential travel for…. golf.


As I remember it, people didn’t stay silent for golf. Nor did they stay silent about Russia – until the proof came out about what really happened.

There are loads of whiners on either side.


Joe’s been on more vacations than Trump ever played golf. Typical Liberal comment.


It does cost that much, but that’s a cost that is budgeted. It occurs whether those resources are used or not, so it’s better that they be used instead of just wasted. When this guy finally gets SOMETHING almost right, it should be acknowledged.

Besides, it does go to show the contrast with his complete and utter failures everywhere else.

Remember, the ice cream and pudding industries used to be in trouble!


Chants digitally added to video, as done with other recent Biden video clips (Maui)?