GOP presidential contender and Florida’s Governor, Ron DeSantis, criticized those emphasizing the link between climate change and Hurricane Idalia.
During a press briefing, DeSantis referred to the 1896 storm with wind speeds reportedly reaching 125 mph and the devastating Labor Day hurricane in 1935. He highlighted that destructive hurricanes aren’t a new phenomenon. “The idea that hurricanes are a recent occurrence is incorrect. We must refrain from politicizing weather and natural calamities,” he stated.
He mentioned historical periods like the late 1940s and 1950s when Florida experienced frequent hurricanes. “People should consider the broader context,” he advised. “But to assume that adopting progressive national policies will prevent hurricanes is misleading. Some exploit varying weather events to further their objectives, capitalizing on the misfortunes of others. This approach is unethical, and we won’t endorse it in Florida.”
When President Biden visited Florida after the hurricane, DeSantis chose not to meet him. Hurricane Idalia, a Category 3 storm, landed on Wednesday in Florida’s less-populated Big Bend region, causing extensive flood damage. It then proceeded north, affecting Georgia and the Carolinas.
In Yankeetown, Florida, during the same press event, a journalist questioned DeSantis’ confidence in the federal government’s assistance, considering past incidents in Hawaii and East Palestine, Ohio. DeSantis responded, “Florida is always prepared. Our primary role for the federal government is to activate programs established by Congress over the years. This Congressional help mostly involves reimbursement for cleanup and providing individual aid. We expect the process to be smooth. Nonetheless, the real groundwork is managed by our local entities and the state of Florida. Disaster relief should always start at the local level.”
Referring to the cooperation between state and local officials as vital to hurricane response, the governor acknowledged a single storm-related traffic death in Alachua County. “While federal funds and resources are essential, and as the governor, I’ll access whatever’s necessary, our reliance isn’t on the federal government for the day-to-day operations.”
Meanwhile, President Biden has been criticized for handling the Maui fires that destroyed the tourist hotspot, Lahaina, last month. As per state authorities, 385 individuals remained unaccounted for from the fire as of Friday.
Governor DeSantis highlighted that most Floridians took the storm warnings seriously and evacuated, resulting in no reported coastal deaths.