Florida’s Republican Governor Ron DeSantis shut down CNN reporter Nadia Romero for questioning Lee County’s delayed evacuation announcement.
Romero questioned why Gov. DeSantis and Florida authorities had focused on Tampa rather than Lee County during Hurricane Ian.
However, as DeSantis points out, weather experts had predicted that Tampa would be hit the hardest.
“Why do you stand behind Lee County’s decision to not have that mandatory evacuation until the day before the storm?” Romero asked.
DeSantis said: “Well did you, where was your industry stationed when the storm hit?
“Were you guys in Lee County? No, you were in Tampa.
“So they were following the weather track and they had to make decisions based on that.
“But, you know, 72 hours, they weren’t even in the cone.
“48 hours they were on the periphery, so you have to make the decisions best you can.
“I will say they delivered the message to people.
“They had shelters open,” DeSantis said.
“Everybody had adequate opportunity to get to a shelter within the county.
“But a lot of the residents did not want to do that. I think probably for various reasons.
“Some people don’t want to leave their home, period, they’re island people, whatever.
“But I think part of it was, so much attention was paid to Tampa, a lot of them thought they wouldn’t get the worst of it but they did, and I think it is easy to second-guess them.
“But they were ready for it the whole time and made that call when there was justifiable to do so.”
“Some of the neighboring counties did have mandatory evacuations, though, before Tuesday,” Romero said.
“I think it’s easy to say in hindsight,” DeSantis said.
He explained the state had a lot of its resources stationed in the Tampa Bay area but shifted them south as the storm changed track.
“There’s a huge difference between some impacts and being directly hit by the eye,” he said.
“They informed people and most people did not want to do it.
“That’s just the reality.
“So you’re in a situation, are you going to grab somebody out of their home that doesn’t want to?
“I don’t think that’s the appropriate use of government.
“I mean, I think that takes it a little too far.
“I think people have really pulled together.
“I think that they’ve done a really good job.
“There’s a lot of work ahead, obviously, but I think the resilience has been great.
“I think the spirit is great and I do think people pulled together well,” he said.
Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-FL) defends the timing of Lee County officials' delayed evacuation:
"Where was your industry stationed when the storm hit? Were you guys in Lee County? No you were in Tampa. They were following the weather track … 72 hours, they weren't even in the cone." pic.twitter.com/DYDzmPjswp
— The Recount (@therecount) October 2, 2022