In Thursday’s New York Times, reporters Reid Epstein and Alan Rappeport tried to paint Gov. Ron DeSantis as hypocritical for receiving federal assistance in the wake of the hugely damaging Hurricane Ian under the hostile headline “Ron DeSantis Pauses Political Bomb-Throwing as Hurricane Ian Hits.”
As a powerful hurricane hammers Florida’s Gulf Coast, Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida is confronting a vastly different calculus in his dealings with President Biden and the federal government.
Mr. DeSantis, a Republican widely seen as holding White House ambitions, is one of his party’s foremost political provocateurs, often appearing on national television to rail against an administration in Washington he denounces as overbearing. As recently as February, Mr. DeSantis dismissed Mr. Biden as someone who “hates Florida,” saying baselessly that he “stiffs” storm victims of relief for political reasons.
They decided to drag COVID into the act, foolishly, given DeSantis’s impressive record of reopening his state without the catastrophic consequences predicted by the Times and other liberals.
But now, as Hurricane Ian threatens to inflict significant damage across Florida, Mr. DeSantis must rely on assistance from the same federal government whose public health guidance he has ridiculed during the pandemic. Beyond that, he must work with the very president he has castigated and may soon run to replace.
But the paper doesn’t seem to have found the fisticuffs it wanted.
At a briefing early Wednesday evening, Mr. DeSantis noted that he had spoken with the president the day before. “He said all hands on deck, that he wants to be helpful,” Mr. DeSantis said. “He said whatever you need, ask us. He was inviting us to request support.” Earlier, he praised help Florida had received from several federal agencies.
Still the reporters kept itching for DeSantis to lunge at the Biden administration, while failing to mention the other side: At the height of the damage wrought by Hurricane Ian on Wednesday night, Biden attended a fundraiser to defeat Republican governors…like Ron DeSantis.
The governor’s tenure has been characterized by a series of fights appealing to the Trump-aligned Republican base, particularly on social issues and the pandemic response. One question that immediately arose as the storm bore down on Florida was for how long Mr. DeSantis, who is seeking re-election in November against Representative Charlie Crist, a Democratic former governor, would put politics aside.
At the Conservative Political Action Conference in February, Mr. DeSantis said Mr. Biden “hates Florida” and “stiffs” storm victims because of politics. (There is no evidence that Mr. Biden has withheld federal emergency relief for political purposes, though Mr. Trump often threatened to use a similar tactic when he was in the White House.)
Mr. DeSantis also spent months assailing federal public health guidance about the pandemic. In August, he denigrated Dr. Anthony S. Fauci days after the doctor announced that he would retire as director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.
Inevitably, the Martha’s Vineyard migrant plane was brought up.
Democrats were infuriated. Mr. Biden said Mr. DeSantis was “playing politics with human beings, using them as props,” adding: “What they’re doing is simply wrong. It’s un-American. It’s reckless.”….
(Significantly, reporters at the Times have made the same “props” accusation against the GOP as Biden.)