DeSantis impresses while Crist disgusts with Hurricane Ian responses

by Samantha Flom

Photo: Alamy

As Southwest Florida continues its recovery from one of the most destructive storms in the state’s history, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’s resilient and effective response should reassure residents that they are in capable hands.

According to a statement released Tuesday by the governor’s office, more than 2.2 million customers have had their power restored in the days since Hurricane Ian tore through the state, and the Florida Disaster Relief Fund has raised more than $26 million to support affected communities.

Other programs that have been activated include the Florida Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan Program and the Army Corps of Engineers’ Operation Blue Roof, and the construction of temporary bridges is already underway to reach areas isolated by the storm’s destruction.

Stopping in North Port Monday to survey the damage, DeSantis noted:

“This was a massive, slow-moving storm that dumped a historic amount of water on our communities, and in places like North Port, has produced historic flooding. And that’s, in some ways, a more difficult problem even than the wind damage. And so, we’re here highlighting this – I obviously wanted to get a good look myself – but we understand the significance of what’s happened in communities outside [of] just what we would kind of consider Ground Zero.”

On Sept. 23, several days before the storm arrived on Florida’s doorstep, DeSantis declared a state of emergency for 24 Florida counties. At the time, Ian was only a tropical depression, but the governor had the foresight to prepare well in advance.

After the storm, DeSantis also responded rapidly, visiting affected areas and mobilizing thousands of first responders and emergency resources across the state.

Despite his reputation as a political firebrand, the governor set politics aside in the wake of Ian, focusing instead on much-needed healing and recovery. Sadly, the same cannot be said for his Democrat opponent Charlie Crist, who seized upon the tragedy as an opportunity to benefit his campaign.

On Monday, Crist appeared to specifically target hurricane victims with a tweet that read, “If you have paid thousands in premiums under Ron DeSantis, only to have your home insurance coverage not be there for you when you need it most, we want to hear your story.”

The tweet included link to a contact form that, once filled out, takes users to a webpage soliciting donations.

Capturing this on video, the DeSantis War Room account tweeted out Tuesday, “Florida Democrat gubernatorial candidate @CharlieCrist is specifically targeting Floridians who ‘suffered damage from Hurricane Ian’ to ask them for donations to his campaign. Awful. How do you look at people who lost everything and ask them for money?”

Retweeting the video, DeSantis’s Rapid Response Director Christina Pushaw chimed in, “Asking for money from hurricane victims? This is low even for you.”

Republican National Committee Co-Chair Tommy Hicks also expressed his disgust with the move, yet seemingly oblivious to the poor optics, Crist announced the new insurance-centered initiative – along with $1 million in fundraising from out-of-state donors – just days after the hurricane, per Florida Politics.

With a long road to recovery ahead, the last thing on the minds of those Floridians rendered homeless by Ian is which political campaign they should donate to. And unlike Crist, DeSantis not only appears to understand that, but he is also doing everything in his power to help in their hour of need. 

If there remained any last vestige of doubt in the minds of Florida residents about which candidate is best suited to lead their beautiful state, let the events of this past week erase it. Florida needs Ron DeSantis to stay right where he is – in the governor’s mansion.

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