At a hurricane preparedness briefing on Tuesday, Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-FL) shot down a reporter's question after the governor said the questioner was “politicizing” the storm in an effort to attack him.
The governor has been preparing for Hurricane Ida, which made landfall Wednesday night, over the past week beginning with a state of emergency declaration on Saturday as well as the calling up of 5,000 National Guardsmen to assist in rescue efforts.
“Hurricane Ian is making landfall now. Florida is ready to respond,” the governor tweeted on Wednesday, adding, “We have fleets of highwater vehicles, 42,000 linemen, 7,000 National Guardsmen and 179 aircraft prepared to help.”
#HurricaneIan is making landfall now. Florida is ready to respond. We have fleets of highwater vehicles, 42,000 linemen, 7,000 National Guardsmen and 179 aircraft prepared to help.
— Ron DeSantis (@GovRonDeSantis) September 28, 2022
“Ahead of Hurricane Ian, 5,000 Florida Guardsmen have been activated and pre-positioned at armories across the state to serve Floridians and run response operations,” the governor wrote. “Thank you for your service to our state.”
Ahead of #HurricaneIan, 5,000 Florida Guardsmen have been activated and pre-positioned at armories across the state to serve Floridians and run response operations. Thank you for your service to our state.
— Ron DeSantis (@GovRonDeSantis) September 27, 2022
As of today, 176 shelters have been opened including more than 50 special needs shelters,” the governor explained, adding, “we are anticipating more to open.”
As of today, 176 shelters have been opened including more than 50 special needs shelters, and we are anticipating more to open.
To find a shelter near you, visit: https://t.co/OffJGF3vLN
— Ron DeSantis (@GovRonDeSantis) September 28, 2022
Despite these efforts, a reporter attempted to attack the governor asking: “FEMA Administrator [Deanne] Criswell said today she acknowledged concerns about Florida’s … as it was said … lax response to the storm so far.”
“Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, give me a break. That is nonsense. Stop politicizing, OK? Stop it. We declared a state of emergency when this thing wasn’t even formed. We’ve had people in here. We’ve had counties that have done a lot of hard work. And honestly, you’re trying to attack me, I get it, but you’re attacking these other people who’ve worked very hard. So that’s just totally false.”
“I don’t think since I’ve been governor we’ve ever declared a state of emergency this early. We made sure we were very inclusive with it. We said that there was a lot of uncertainty and we’ve worked to make sure the preparations that have been done… and … you talk to people at the counties when they needed something, stuff gets there very quickly because of what Kevin and his team have done,” referring to Florida Division of Emergency Management Director Kevin Guthrie, as reported by Center Square.
The reporter was referring to a press briefing from the White House earlier in the day where reporters asked questions to FEMA administrator Deanne Criswell regarding President Joe Biden (D) calling multiple Florida mayors in the lead-up to the storm, but not the governor.
“You spoke to several mayors down there, one of the mayors said that the primary concerns was complacency,” stated NBC correspondent Peter Alexander. “I’m curious, the president spoke to big leaders. First question to you is about complacency, the second is you’ve spoken to the governor of the state, why hasn’t the president? Is there a scheduled call for the two men to speak obviously as the preeminent leaders of the country and of that state?”
“I do have concerns about complacency,” Criswell said in response. “We’re talking about impacts in a part of Florida that hasn’t seen a major direct impact in nearly 100 years. There’s also part of Florida that has a lot of new residents that have never experienced this type of threat. My message to them is take this very seriously, listen to your local officials …”
Criswell dodged the question, so in response to Biden's lackluster response, DeSantis stated, “My view on all this is like, you’ve got people’s lives at stake, you’ve got their property at stake and we don’t have time for pettiness. We gotta work together to make sure we’re doing the best job for them, so my phone line is open.”
Biden did end up speaking with the governor later in the day after increasing pressure with the White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre tweeting, “President Biden spoke this evening with Governor DeSantis of Florida to discuss the steps the Federal government is taking to help Florida prepare for Hurricane Ian. The President and the Governor committed to continued close coordination.”
President Biden spoke this evening with Governor DeSantis of Florida to discuss the steps the Federal government is taking to help Florida prepare for Hurricane Ian. The President and the Governor committed to continued close coordination.
— Karine Jean-Pierre (@PressSec) September 27, 2022
Governor DeSantis once again shows that he is up to the task even in major emergencies. The media's attempt to disparage his competence shows yet again that they are willing to ignore the facts to attack the Republican governor.
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