Much of the area -- especially Panama City -- was devastated by the Category 5 storm back in October 2018. To date, Panama City is still removing debris and picking up the pieces that were left over by the massive hurricane. Many people in the area have been looking for some long-awaited word about federal help for the those who are still struggling to rebuild their lives from the storm.
Trump's announcement to help the Panhandle recover was expected by many leaders in the state. Many believed the rally was no mere coincidence, and that good news would accompany the president to Panama City.
"It would be surprising if he (President Trump) didn't bring good news," Representative Jay Trumbull told RoundTable Politics en route to last night's event.
“Why would you want to come unless you're going to announce more good news,” said DeSantis.
Many of Florida's finest attended last night's rally, including Gov. Ron DeSantis, Sen. Rick Scott and Sen. Marco Rubio, Attorney General Ashley Moody, and Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis.
On Monday, Gov. DeSantis met with President Trump at the White House alongside U.S. Representative Matt Gaetz
to discuss hurricane recovery and ways to lower healthcare costs in the state. Their meeting prompted much speculation on whether or not President Trump would announce additional funding for the Panhandle.
While Floridians are riding high after President Trump's commitment to the Panhandle, the Florida Democratic Party is eating crow on Thursday. Numerous Florida Democrats spoke out against President Trump leading up to Wednesday night's rally, calling the president out for his "failure to provide disaster relief for the Panhandle."
“The bottom line here is Florida’s Panhandle doesn’t need a political rally, it needs the Senate to pass, and the president to sign, some federal government relief. The House passed a recovery bill that has been sitting in the Senate for months. And my question is, how long do these communities have to wait?” said U.S. Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz.
"Floridians have waited more than 200 days for help and hope, not handouts," said Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried.
“We saw the House Democratic majority lead the way in February, with a $14 billion disaster relief package. While Republicans in the Senate dilly dally, bicker, and ultimately produce no product after all this time," said U.S. Representative Darren Soto. Meanwhile, the Panhandle gets worse and worse and further and further into both depression and inability to rebuild in any respectable manner. And how did we get here? President Trump is willing to sacrifice Florida disaster relief to further his personal vendetta against Puerto Rico.”
These comments came hours before President Trump addressed an enormous crowd full of firebrand conservatives at the Aaron Bessant Park Amphitheater in Panama City Beach.
But on Thursday, Florida Democrats were a little less vocal after President Trump made a commitment to the people of the Panhandle. They've now shifted their narrative, attacking President Trump for making a lighthearted joke.
Democrats in the state have yet to release a statement about the additional aid that will be granted to the Northwest Florida.
Check back for more updates.