Hurricane Ian has DeSantis singing a different tune about Biden, federal aid

In just a week, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has gone from menacing troll to docile figurehead. Obviously, it would take a natural disaster to put a (temporary) end to his political terrorism.

DeSantis has clearly enjoyed treating Florida like his own fiefdom, boastfully signing legislation restricting the right to vote, restricting teachers’ ability to discuss inequality in the classroom, and punishing corporations that defy his bigoted agenda. DeSantis, who appears to be auditioning for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination, has portrayed himself as an opponent of the Biden administration, filing lawsuits to undermine President Joe Biden’s agenda while taking public – and personal – shots at the president.

But Hurricane Ian had DeSantis sing a different tune.

“I’m happy to let the President know if he’s interested in hearing what we’re doing in Florida,” DeSantis said at a Tuesday news conference.

“In my opinion, this is all at stake, people’s lives are at stake, their property is at stake, and we don’t have time for trifles,” he continued. “We need to work together to make sure we do the best job for them, so my phone number is open.”

Later in the day he sang Biden Government praise to Fox News host Sean Hannity.

“Well, Sean, you know what I said today is that my phone line is open,” DeSantis said. “When people’s lives and their property are in such danger, we all have to work together across party lines.”

“I feel like the administration wants to help,” he added. “I think they’re recognizing that this is a really significant storm and there’s a lot of people that we’re working with, you know, with the locals. We work very well with them. And of course at the national level. But we really need everyone working together to meet people’s needs.”

This is of course how government should work. But Florida is lucky that DeSantis and Biden’s roles aren’t reversed (as he’d like). Because history shows he wouldn’t be nearly as eager to lend a hand as Biden is.

Florida belongs to all of us, not just DeSantis and his right hand cronies. DeSantis should think about it the next time he considers gruesome political stunts.

On Wednesday, DeSantis asked Biden to approve a declaration of a major disaster for all 67 counties in Florida, endowed with federal funding to support recovery efforts. The President promptly approved it – as he should have done. But many people online quickly discovered that while he was in the House of Representatives, DeSantis had voted against a 2013 bill that would have provided similar relief to New Yorkers in the wake of Hurricane Sandy.

Floridians are fortunate that the Biden administration is not as cruel. And politically, DeSantis is, too.

During Tuesday’s episode of “The ReidOut,” retired Army Lt. Gen. Russel Honoré, who commanded the joint task force that conducted relief efforts during Hurricane Katrina in 2005, said DeSantis benefited from a storm response system developed during Hurricane Andrew was set up in 1992 .

“All the governor has to do is read the script, and he’s doing it damn well at the moment,” Honoré said.

Today, it’s fellow Americans across the country who keep Florida afloat, not the self-centered, self-important governor. Not to get everyone “this country was made for you and me,” but the proof is in the pudding: Florida is one of them we all, not just DeSantis and his right-wing cronies. DeSantis should think about it next time he considers gruesome political stunts like relocating migrants to try and own the rights.

Because the next “refugees” who are looking for a place to stay could well come from his state. Taxpayers are being asked to fund Florida’s reconstruction, help relocate its people, and show compassion for those who have suffered trauma. And the US answers the call.

My countdown has begun for DeSantis to return to his normal depravity. But it will be a “normal” that he relied on the rest of us for.

Related: Hurricane Ian has DeSantis singing a different tune about Biden, federal aid

Rick Schindler

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