That episode serves as a stark reminder of how partisan politics can imbue even basic government responses to a disaster, a phenomenon that has renewed relevance in the wake of a new tragedy in Florida, where the terrifying collapse of the Champlain Towers South condominium in Surfside may have cost 150 or more lives.

On Thursday, Democrat Joe Biden will make his first trip to Florida as president to meet with the families of the dead and missing. He will likely appear beside Florida’s Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis, seen as a top-tier potential presidential candidate who might challenge Biden’s reelection in three years. Insiders in both administrations say they’re focusing on the crisis in Surfside, not on scoring political points.

But regardless of how the governor, president and staffs comport themselves, there are political pitfalls and consequences that have lasting electoral effects, as the 2012 relationship between…

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