DeSantis: 'Ridiculous' for VP Kamala Harris to 'Play Identity Politics With a Storm'

Susan Jones | October 4, 2022 | 5:31am EDT
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An aerial picture taken on October 1, 2022 shows a broken section of the Pine Island Road, debris and destroyed houses in the aftermath of Hurricane Ian in Matlacha, Florida. (Photo by RICARDO ARDUENGO/AFP via Getty Images)
An aerial picture taken on October 1, 2022 shows a broken section of the Pine Island Road, debris and destroyed houses in the aftermath of Hurricane Ian in Matlacha, Florida. (Photo by RICARDO ARDUENGO/AFP via Getty Images)

(CNSNews.com) - The hurricane that devastated southwest Florida did not aim at any particular group of people. Rich and poor alike have been wiped out, but "they're ready to bounce back" with help from their government and their fellow Americans, Gov. Ron DeSantis told Sean Hannity Monday night.

DeSantis vowed to rebuild Florida's island communities; he supported the Second Amendment right of Floridians to defend themselves and their property; and he criticized Vice President Kamala Harris for politicizing the disaster by saying resources for hurricane victims should be given "based on equity."

"I think she's trying to play identity politics with a -- with a storm and a natural disaster. I think it's ridiculous," DeSantis said:

"And honestly, we had the FEMA administrator in Florida with us, and she threw cold water on that. So that is not going to happen. It's totally not appropriate.

"You don't have to politicalize every single tragedy in this country. And I think people, I tell you, in Florida, are really sick of the nonsense. They just want people to be helped, they want everyone band together, and they want us to get these communities back on our feet. So that's what we're doing in Florida.

"And Sean, it's also -- the impacts spanned all demographics, all income levels. Sanibel has some very wealthy people. They also have blue collar people. You have other communities, different race, different ethnicities. Who cares. We just want to make sure people have a chance to get back on their feet and moving forward again."

DeSantis said the Florida Department of Transportation already has put out bids to build a temporary bridge to reconnect Sanibel, Captiva and Pine Island to the mainland -- the first step in a log recovery process.

But even before the temporary bridge is built, DeSantis said he's ordered Chinook helicopters from the National Guard to bring linemen on to Sanibel Island to start repairs.

"So I think that you just need to get people on there, and they need to start doing what needs to be done, clearing roads. And we are working on the roads, and all that now, clearing the debris, and getting the electrical back up. So you're going to soon see linemen brought in by helicopter to places like Sanibel and Pine Island, because we don't want to wait for this. We want to do as much as we can now.”

(Google maps showing Florida islands devastated by hurricane)
(Google maps showing Florida islands devastated by hurricane)

DeSantis also defended his "you-loot-we-shoot" comment, saying he wanted to "draw a clear line in the sand at the beginning" of the recovery:

"The morning after the storm, I was in Punta Gorda, in Charlotte County," DeSantis said:

"They had all their businesses boarded up downtown. A lot of the placards I saw, the wood, they spray-painted, 'you loot, we shoot.' They were sending the message that lawlessness will not be tolerated.

“When these situations happen, and it descends into lawlessness, like it has after some other disasters we've seen in America and in other countries, the whole kind of social fabric starts to decay.

"So we have to draw a very clear line in the sand at the beginning. You are not going to capitalize off people's suffering; you are not going to be allowed to ransack people's homes or loot.

“They have caught some looters, but fortunately, I think since we've been so strong on it, you haven't seen it like you have seen in the aftermath of other natural disasters. And we are proudly a law-and-order state, and we are proudly a state that lets individual Floridians defend themselves, their families and their homes."

President Joe Biden is scheduled to tour Florida’s hurricane damage on Wednesday, but Biden’s spokeswoman on Monday could say if Biden will meet with DeSantis:

“So, I don’t have anything to read out on what that day is going to look like,” Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters.

“Clearly, they have been in touch several times — the President and Governor DeSantis.  They see this — this moment, dealing with the aftermath of Hurricane Ian, as one team.  As you know, the (FEMA) Administrator was on the ground with him and his team, just a couple of days ago, assessing the damage.  And so they are going to continue to stay in touch.  We’re going to continue our coordination.

Jean-Pierre said the White House would “have more to share on what that day is going to look like and who will be on the ground and who the President is going to be meeting on the ground, as well, on Wednesday.”

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