Did he deserve this?
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis is facing criticism from supporters of former President Donald Trump for traveling out of state while his constituents in Fort Lauderdale are dealing with severe flooding. DeSantis is scheduled to appear at a Republican event in Ohio on Thursday, but critics argue that he should be focusing on helping those affected by the unprecedented flooding in Florida. Trump supporters, who view DeSantis as a potential rival for the 2024 presidential nomination, have used the timing of his Ohio trip to attack him for prioritizing his national profile over the needs of his constituents. However, DeSantis’ office claims that the trip was planned before the flooding began, and that the entire state emergency apparatus is working to support the needs of Southeast Florida.
The severe flooding in Fort Lauderdale has prompted emergency rescues and forced airport and school closures. The heavy rain forced Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport to close until Friday morning and Broward County Public Schools, the nation’s sixth-largest district, to close on Thursday. Despite the emergency situation, DeSantis’ office stated that the governor had left Florida on Wednesday before the rain intensified in the night and is scheduled to return on Thursday.
The criticism of DeSantis comes as the race for the GOP’s presidential nomination heats up, with DeSantis facing increasing attacks from Trump, who has blasted his fellow Republican despite endorsing him for governor in 2018. Many have viewed DeSantis’ involvement in the national culture wars and his out-of-state trips as a wider strategy to ramp up a presidential run. In recent weeks, DeSantis has made stops in New York, Michigan, and Pennsylvania, and he is scheduled to make his first public visit to South Carolina next week, a critical state for 2024 GOP candidates and the site of the first Republican primaries.
Despite the backlash, DeSantis declared a state of emergency for Broward County on Thursday afternoon in response to the severe flooding.