Hurricane Ian sparks criticism of DeSantis’ Hurricane Sandy response

All eyes are on Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis as he attempts to lead his home state out of Hurricane Ian’s “catastrophic” storm this week. But while the governor is asking the federal government for additional help, his critics are drawing comparisons between DeSantis’ requests to the Biden administration and his past disaster-aid voting records.

“Just a memory from New York… Marco Rubio and Ron DeSantis (who was then in Congress) voted against aid for Hurricane Sandy,” New York State Assembly Member Yuh-Line Niou tweeted Wednesday. “But because we’re New York, we take care of everyone. Even if they don’t care about us. ❤️”

“Just a reminder that when Ron DeSantis was in Congress and Sandy was trashing the Tristate, he voted against federal aid. (Not suggesting Dems should do it now [the] same. Just pointing out he’s always been a heartless little prick,” wrote author Stephen Whitty on Twitter.

In recent days, DeSantis has put his feud with President Joe Biden on hold as he has approached the White House for federal support for the destruction and devastation Ian is expected to leave in his wake.

Over the weekend, Biden approved an emergency declaration for the state of Florida within hours of receiving DeSantis’ request, a quick move the governor has publicly said he was “very grateful” for. “The government wants to help,” DeSantis told Fox News on Tuesday. “They realize this is a really significant storm.”

DeSanti's Hurricane Ian Sandy
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis speaks at the Wyndham Hotel on August 19, 2022 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. DeSantis critics on Wednesday drew comparisons between the governor’s response to Hurricane Ian and Hurricane Sandy.
Jeff Swensen/Stringer

However, DeSanti’s sudden change of tone caught the attention of residents of New York and New Jersey, who remember the governor’s vote against a House bill less than a decade ago.

When the governor was a newly elected Florida congressman in 2013, DeSantis voted against a bill that would provide $9.7 billion in flood insurance assistance to victims of Hurricane Sandy. The Category 3 storm, the deadliest and most destructive hurricane of the 2012 hurricane season, caused nearly $70 million in damage and killed a total of 233 people in eight countries.

“In 2013, Ron DeSantis voted against federal aid to victims of Hurricane Sandy,” tweeted former New York Assistant Attorney General Tristan Snell. “In 2022, Ron DeSantis asked President Biden for federal assistance in Hurricane Ian — and Biden delivered.”

In response to the criticism, DeSantis press secretary Bryan Griffin said news week“We are completely focused on hurricane response. As the governor said, we don’t have time for politics or trifles.”

In a 2013 interview with The Florida Times UnionDeSantis defended his vote, saying that while he was sympathetic to the victims of Hurricane Sandy, the bill was “exaggerated” and fiscally irresponsible.

“If a hurricane came here, I would want every relief plan to be fiscally accountable,” DeSantis said at the time. “[I] I don’t want to add extra things and say that this is a moving vehicle, let’s try the Christmas tree.

During a press conference Wednesday, DeSantis said he formally sent a letter to the Biden administration asking the federal government to provide a 100 percent refund 60 days in advance.

“I know sometimes they wait for other damage estimates to be made, but in this situation we have a massive Category 4 storm,” the governor said. “I think we all know there’s going to be a big, big impact.”

Earlier Wednesday, Biden said the federal government was “ready to help in any way we can” during Ian and sent a stern warning to oil and gas companies to cut prices amid the storm. Hurricane Ian sparks criticism of DeSantis’ Hurricane Sandy response

Rick Schindler

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