Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) hit back on Rep. Charlie Crist’s (D-FL) attacks on his handling of Hurricane Ian, during a gubernatorial debate Monday night.
The debate, which was originally scheduled for October 12, but was postponed in the wake of the devastation that was caused by Hurricane Ian, comes after DeSantis has far outraised and outspent his opponent in preparation for the election and is widely projected to win next month’s race.
Crist’s attacks on DeSantis for his handling of the hurricane comes after President Joe Biden, a top political rival for DeSantis, praised the governor’s response to the natural disaster.
“What the governor’s done is pretty remarkable,” Biden said earlier this month. “I think he’s done a good job.”
“Look, I’m proud that we had 42,000 linemen staged, ready to go, an unprecedented array of first responders,” DeSantis said during the debate. “We were able to get in in a record time, effectuate thousands of rescues, get the power back on for millions of people in record time.”
“And when the bridges got wiped out in Pine Island and in Sanibel people thought those islands were going to be severed from the mainland for six months to a year, we did the Pine Island Restoration in three days and we did the Sanibel causeway restoration in two weeks,” DeSantis continued. “Now those islands have the ability to recover.”
DeSantis then turned his focus to Crist and what Crist was doing during and after the hurricane hit the state.
“You know what he was doing during this? He was hiding out in Puerto Rico,” DeSantis said. “He wasn’t helping his community here. And then when he got back, what did he do? His campaign was soliciting campaign contributions from storm victims. That is unacceptable and that’s not what a leader would do in a time of despair.”
DeSantis’ response to the Hurricane was swift and decisive, and the governor was often seen on the front lines aiding first responders — now-viral footage saw him cooking breakfast in a Waffle House for people who had been coming to help with hurricane recovery.
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