This past Sunday, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis was forced to shut down a reporter from CNN who he accused of second-guessing Lee County’s timeline for the evacuating in the run-up of Hurricane Ian.
The exchange between the two took place as the state of Florida battles to recover from the insane storm that made landfall last week, which resulted in multiple dozens of fatalities, left multiple millions of residents without power, and completely wiped out entire Golf Coast communities. As of writing, over 35 people have been confirmed dead in Lee County, in which the county seat of For Myers was for all intents and purposes obliterated, as reported by the Sheriff of Lee County.
“Do you stand behind Lee County’s decision to not have that mandatory evacuation until the day before the storm?” posited Nadia Romero with CNN of Republican Governor DeSantis.
DeSantis staunchly stood in defense of the preparations made by the county, highlighting that officials closely monitored the progress of the hurricane while making sure that the area’s shelters were prepared for the onslaught of the storm making landfall. The county, he stated, had good reason in the days running up to the storm to think that it would dodge a direct hit.
“They were following the weather track, and they had to make decisions based on that,” stated DeSantis. “But you know, 72 hours, they weren’t even in the cone, 48 hours, they were on the periphery. So you’ve got to make the decisions the best you can. I will say they delivered the message to people, they had shelters open, everybody had adequate opportunity to at least get to a shelter within the county.”
DeSantis stated that quite a few residents of the area thought that the main force of the storm would hit much further north, near Tampa, and that many were reluctant to leave their homes.
“I think it’s easy to second-guess them, but they were ready for the whole time and made that call when there was justifiable to do so,” he stated.
Romero pointed out that some of the nearby counties had put in place evacuation orders prior to Tuesday.
“Well, right,” stated DeSantis as he went on to try and explain how early forecasts showed the hurricane slamming into another part of the state and it was just a short period of time prior to the storm that officials knew where the storm would actually hit the state.
The Twitter account dedicated to the DeSantis re-election campaign, DeSantis War Room, highlighted a clip via a post, accusing the reporter in question of trying to spin a misleading narrative.
“Today: CNN reporter questions Governor DeSantis, hoping to push a misleading narrative about evacuation in Lee County. He shuts that right down. His answer is professional, direct & empathetic… with ZERO tolerance for gaslighting.”
Today: CNN reporter questions Governor DeSantis, hoping to push a misleading narrative about evacuation in Lee County.
He shuts that right down.
🔥His answer is professional, direct & empathetic… with ZERO tolerance for gaslighting.pic.twitter.com/Z8YVgcMXFl
— DeSantis War Room 🐊 (@DeSantisWarRoom) October 3, 2022