Florida’s Republican Governor Ron DeSantis humiliated a reporter during a press conference for apparently trying to “politicize” the state’s response to the looming hurricane.
As the hurricane racing toward Florida’s shores intensifies to a category four, millions of residents are bracing for life-threatening storm surges, catastrophic winds, and flooding.
Hurricane Ian, which has already thrashed western Cuba, will reach Florida later on Wednesday.
It is expected to hit the Tampa Bay region – among the most vulnerable places for severe flooding.
On Tuesday, the White House dodged questions about why Democrat President Joe Biden has not called DeSantis about the storm, despite finding time to call several mayors in the state.
While DeSantis addressed the media on Florida’s preparations for the hurricane, one reporter tried to twist the issue into a political one.
“FEMA Administrator [Deanne] Criswell said today that she acknowledged concerns that Florida [inaudible] lacks response to the storm so far and that–” the reporter began.
“Whoa, whoa, whoa,” DeSantis fired back.
“Give me a break!
“That is nonsense,” the governor declared.
“Stop politicizing, okay? Stop it.
“We declared a state of emergency when this thing wasn’t even formed.”
“We’ve had people in here, you’ve had counties doing, they’ve done a lot of hard work and honestly, you’re trying to attack me, I get, but like you’re attacking these other people who’ve worked very hard,” he continued.
“And so that’s just totally false,” DeSantis asserted.
“I don’t think we’ve ever, certainly since I’ve been governor, declared a state emergency this early.
“We made sure that we were very inclusive with it.
“We said that there was a lot of uncertainty and then we’ve worked to make sure the preparations that have been done and all the stuff, you talk to the people at the counties, when they’ve needed something, stuff gets there very quickly because of what Kevin and his team have done.”
The media can't help themselves – everything must be politicized. No opportunity to smear opponents is too low. This reporter misrepresented FEMA Director's words@RonDeSantisFL won't accept it. He'll always stand up for Florida & our world class emergency response professionals pic.twitter.com/Uemzm5vcPH
— DeSantis War Room 🐳 (@DeSantisWarRoom) September 27, 2022
Governor DeSantis dismantles a false media narrative before it can take hold.
— DeSantis War Room 🐳 (@DeSantisWarRoom) September 28, 2022
DeSantis hit at Biden for not reaching out sooner, despite finding time to call Mayor Jane Castor of Tampa, Mayor Ken Welch of St. Petersburg, and Mayor Frank Hibbard of Clearwater.
A reporter asked the governor how he would characterize his conversations with Biden as the hurricane prepares to make landfall.
“So I have not personally spoken with the president, but FEMA has approved our pre-landfall request,” DeSantis said.
“We feel like we have a good relationship with FEMA,” he continued.
“You know, I’m happy to brief the president if he’s interested in hearing what we’re doing in Florida, you know, my view on all this is like you got people’s lives at stake, you got their property at stake, and we don’t have time for pettiness.
“We got to work together to make sure we’re doing the best job for them.”
“So, my phone — my phone line is open,” DeSantis concluded.
“But we are — we do appreciate the quick approval of the pre-landfall declaration.”
The remarks from DeSantis come as the hurricane is strengthening while in the Gulf of Mexico and could make landfall as a category 4 hurricane.
The National Hurricane Center has warned that Ian is “an extremely dangerous major hurricane.”