by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’s ascension to the national stage over the past year has invited intense scrutiny from the media that, in some cases, has backfired.
The latest example came over the weekend, when a Washington Post reporter fired off a tweet accusing DeSantis of withholding an invitation to the Federal Emergency Management Agency for nearly a day after a condominium complex collapsed in Surfside, Florida.
“There’s a saying in emergency management: The first 24 hours are the only 24 hours,” wrote the Washington Post’s Hannah Dreier on Saturday. “FEMA was ready to deploy to the condo collapse almost immediately, and included the crisis in its daily briefing, but didn’t get permission from Gov. DeSantis to get on the ground for a full day.”
A spokeswoman for DeSantis quickly pushed back, noting that the protocol for declaring an emergency involves local leaders doing so first and then state leaders; she said DeSantis signed his emergency declaration less than an hour after the Miami-Dade County mayor signed hers. …
… The back-and-forth last week was reflective of how attacks DeSantis has weathered since his push to open Florida schools and businesses ahead of other states turned a national spotlight on his leadership in 2020. An ally of former President Donald Trump, DeSantis has gained support among Republican voters and has even begun to rival Trump’s popularity. In a straw poll conducted at the Western Conservative Summit in Denver last week, for example, DeSantis narrowly edged out the former president.
While the governors of blue states, most notably New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, attracted a seemingly endless parade of accolades for maintaining restrictions as COVID-19 spread, DeSantis became the target of harsh, and occasionally unfair, coverage that has continued even after data has proven his approach effective.