In a new video, the anti-Trump conservative group The Lincoln Project exposed Florida Republican Governor Ron DeSantis over an incident in which Floridians involved in relief efforts after Hurricane Ian were evidently made to put their work on hold while the governor traversed the area.
“You don’t have to politicize every single tragedy in this country,” DeSantis said on Fox. In what is seemingly an ABC News clip also included in the new video from The Lincoln Project alongside the Fox coverage, a journalist says, “But frustration mounted as civilians were told to pause their relief operations for several hours as Governor Ron DeSantis toured the area.” An ABC journalist attempting to ask the governor about what was happening was physically confronted by a member of DeSantis’s team, who attempted to corner them into leaving the scene. “I didn’t want anyone to pause anything,” the governor claims to the journalist as the team member keeps trying to cut in. There is footage of a local woman speaking with someone apparently with a Florida law enforcement agency and expressing concerns about what she described as a forced halt to relief efforts, and the law enforcement officer at least tepidly acknowledges some legitimacy to the woman’s concerns. Check out the video below:
— The Lincoln Project (@ProjectLincoln) October 4, 2022
DeSantis also addressed the claims at a press conference, calling it a “categorical lie” and pointing to local authorities apparently backing him up on that claim. In available footage, the individual to whom the concerned woman is speaking, who is seemingly wearing something identifying him as a state trooper, told her, as best can be told, “Our hands are tied,” which seemingly contradicts the governor. DeSantis is currently running for re-election as Florida’s governor against Democratic challenger Charlie Crist, against whom polling suggests the incumbent has a good chance. DeSantis is also a potential contender in the next GOP presidential primary, and his success or failure in the Florida governor’s race will likely impact whether he eventually runs for president. In the meantime, Florida is continuing to suffer from lingering impacts of Hurricane Ian, which recently moved through southwestern and central parts of the state, in addition to affecting other areas. With power still off in some locales, and search and rescue operations ongoing after floods rose well above a normal person’s height, putting relief work on hold is — in general — a potentially dangerous prospect.