Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has spent the past several days preparing residents of his state for the impending landfall of Hurricane Ian.
Meanwhile, a number of his partisan adversaries used the opportunity to lob political attacks at the conservative firebrand.
This week, The New York Times published a piece that took a critical look at a vote DeSantis cast nearly 10 years ago when he was a freshman member of Congress. The proposed bill sought to provide billions of dollars in relief for New York victims of Hurricane Sandy — and the then-congressman explained at the time why he voted against it.
“The problem with the Sandy package was, if you look at it, only 30% of it was going to be spent in the first two years,” he said. “It actually appropriated money out to 2020 and 2021, things that could not in any way be said to be emergency spending. It just was so much extraneous stuff.”
As Hurricane Ian approached, however, the Times reported that “DeSantis is appealing to the nation’s better angels — and betting on its short memory.”
A number of pundits and politicians familiar with the context of his 2013 vote quickly spoke out against the newspaper’s characterization.
This is ASTOUNDINGLY dishonest of NYT.
This should full on be retracted. https://t.co/BxeCg09TP4
— Andrew Follett (@AndrewCFollett) September 29, 2022
Former DeSantis chief of staff Dustin Carmack wrote that the Times conveniently left out the fact that the legislator “voted for $17 billion in emergency funding for Sandy relief that was paid for and for immediate impact needs of the storm” even as 71 of his colleagues “at the time voted against to nix and not handle other spending through [appropriations] process.
This article was not the only incident in which a mainstream media source attempted to inject a political attack into coverage of DeSantis’ handling of the latest natural disaster.
During one press conference ahead of Hurricane Ian’s landfall, the governor cut off a reporter attempting to parrot earlier claims that Florida was not prepared for the crisis.
“Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, give me a break,” DeSantis said. “That is nonsense. Stop politicizing, OK? Stop it. We declared a state of emergency when this thing wasn’t even formed. We’ve had people in here. We’ve had counties that have done a lot of hard work. And honestly, you’re trying to attack me, I get it, but you’re attacking these other people who’ve worked very hard. So that’s just totally false.”