Media, Democrats Race To Make Hurricane Ian All About DeSantis
GENEVA, UNITED STATES - 2022/08/24: Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks to supporters at a campaign stop on the Keep Florida Free Tour at the Horsepower Ranch in Geneva. DeSantis faces former Florida Gov. Charlie Crist for the general election for Florida Governor in November. (Photo by Paul Hennessy/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)
Paul Hennessy/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

As Hurricane Ian barreled toward Florida, some Democrats and members of the media appeared almost giddy at the prospect of Governor Ron DeSantis (R-FL) failing a high-profile test.

Florida emergency management teams were busy Tuesday warning residents to batten down the hatches and, if necessary, evacuate coastal areas ahead of the storm’s arrival. Meanwhile, Politico appeared to frame the hurricane as a test that would ultimately determine whether or not DeSantis deserved the level notoriety he has already achieved.

“Gov. Ron DeSantis spent his first term becoming one of the most influential Republicans in the country,” the outlet wrote. “But he still hasn’t faced one of the toughest challenges a Florida leader can encounter: a hurricane.”

The report cited former Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) administrator Craig Fugate, who put the handling of a potentially lethal event in stark political terms.

“Fail a response: hard to get reelected, and your agenda stalls,” Fugate said. Do it well, though, and it “adds capital to your agenda, and it sets you up for higher office.”

Reporters in the White House briefing room even framed questions as though they were expecting “challenges” with regard to cooperation between the the Biden administration and state officials in Florida.

Senator and former presidential candidate Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) appeared to suggest that electing Democrats in the approaching midterms would somehow help to curb future hurricanes.

“We just did something about climate change for the first time in decades,” Klobuchar said, apparently referencing the Inflation Reduction Act. “That’s why we’ve gotta win this as that hurricane bears down on Florida.”

But DeSantis Rapid Response Director Christina Pushaw was quick to fire back at the suggestions, noting that DeSantis had been on top of the state’s preparation and response to the threatening hurricane from the very beginning.

“Florida has some of the world’s best emergency management leadership and personnel,” Pushaw tweeted. “Governor DeSantis and his team are doing everything possible to ensure our state is prepared. Sorry to disappoint the liberal media activists who are constantly cheering for the destruction of Florida.”

“Setting aside the disgusting framing and premise of the article… This is false, @Mdixon55,” Pushaw continued, addressing Dixon directly. “Governor DeSantis did a briefing in Pinellas yesterday. He is getting ready for a briefing in Sarasota right now.”

To Klobuchar, she added, “Florida has experienced hurricanes throughout recorded history, before Democrats and Republicans existed. But the Party of Science will never miss an opportunity to play politics with a natural disaster. Gross and shameless.”

Rachel Vindman, wife of former President Donald Trump’s impeachment witness Alexander Vindman, used the hurricane to attack DeSantis apparently for his vocal opposition to the grooming of elementary school students and the passage of Florida’s Parental Rights in Education law — which opponents falsely labeled the “Don’t Say Gay” law.

“We should use they/them pronouns for Hurricane Ian to annoy DeSantis,” she tweeted.

After an hour of backlash for her tweet, Vindman attempted damage control: “I appreciated the danger of the storm which only serves to underscore the point that electing leaders who only divert their attention away from destroying systems [in order to score political points] to emergencies, isn’t helpful when there is a true crisis.”

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