Rep. Byron Donalds, whose Florida district includes Lee County, the location hit hardest by Hurricane Ian last week, Tuesday on Newsmax dismissed criticism of Gov. Ron DeSantis' actions as being "all politics" that doesn't reflect what happened.
The Florida Republican also told Newsmax's "Wake Up America" that he'll be ready to speak with President Joe Biden when he visits his district Wednesday because political differences should not be in play.
"Right now it's all hands on deck," Donalds said. "Republican-Democrat stuff, that's out the window. It's about recovery here in southwest Florida. I will be there when the president arrives tomorrow and any questions he has for me, I'll [relate] to him and also advocate for the people here in southwest Florida about what they're going to need, so we can get back on track."
Further, DeSantis acted with orders that reflected the quickly changing situation, and the coordination between the state and the White House have been "tremendous," said Donalds.
"What people need to remember is that as of [last] Sunday, before the storm, most people in the country thought this storm was heading toward the Big Bend area, maybe 100 miles north of Tampa, that's where the track was," he said.
However, the storm changed quickly, looking as if it would hit Tampa, but by the time Tuesday came, it looked as if Ian would make a direct hit in the Sarasota area, said Donalds.
"During Tuesday, that track kept moving down and down and down very rapidly," he said. "I was at the NOAA headquarters in Washington, D.C., [on] Wednesday morning when the storm was touching down here in southwest Florida.
"They were telling me how quickly this storm had 'jogged,' they said 'jog to the right,' meaning it was moving east more rapidly and that it would hit down in my congressional district."
But the complaints that DeSantis didn't order evacuations quickly enough "make no sense at all," said Donalds.
"I believe the mandatory evacuation was for the Tampa area on Monday was because every computer model had it heading towards Tampa Bay and hitting there on Wednesday, so that's what the mandatory evacuation was," said Donalds. "These people just want to rewrite history."
DeSantis, he added, "has led the largest mobilization and the swiftest mobilization of hurricane and disaster response I've ever seen."
In addition, Sen. Rick Scott, R-Fla., who was formerly the governor, and other state leaders, "have been doing this thing wonderfully for years, and the mobilization was even faster now," said Donalds. "That's not to say one man did it better than the other. I'm trying to say that the people of southwest Florida have gotten every asset everything they could have possibly needed, and the coordination between the governor's office and the White House has been tremendous."
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