The Phoenix Flyer

Gov. DeSantis goes live as he manages Ian response, with Fox News stars, other interviews

By: - September 29, 2022 12:08 pm

Tucker Carlson interviews Gov. Ron DeSantis Wednesday evening following Ian’s landfall. Credit: Tucker Carlson Tonight.

Gov. Ron DeSantis burned up the airwaves while managing the state’s response to Hurricane Ian, holding press conferences throughout Wednesday as the Category 4 storm landed in Florida, as well as interviews with broadcasters including Fox News stars.

The governor appeared on Sean Hannity’s radio program and even the Trumpist One America News Network during the afternoon. Later, he showed up on Tucker Carlson’s Fox News prime time interview show to give an Ian update.

That doesn’t count interviews with local TV stations in Fort Myers, Tampa Bay, Orlando, and Miami.

DeSantis was back before the cameras on Thursday morning, telling reporters at the state’s Emergency Operations Center in Tallahassee that Floridians would live with Ian’s repercussions for years.

Gov. Ron DeSantis appeared during a news conference at the state Emergency Operations Center on Sept. 28, 2022, flanked by agency chiefs. Credit: Michael Moline

“You’re looking at a storm that’s changed the character of a significant part of our state, and this is going to require not just emergency response now, in the days or weeks ahead. I mean, this is going to require years of effort to be able to rebuild and to come back,” DeSantis said.

As of Thursday, Ian has been downgraded to a tropical storm.

DeSantis said he hoped to travel to Lee and Charlotte counties later in the day to personally survey the damage.

DeSantis first appeared at 7:30 a.m. Wednesday at the emergency center for a news briefing, followed by updates at 10:15 (from Columbia County, where thousands of line workers had massed, waiting to restore lost power), 1 p.m., and 5:30 p.m., according to his official schedule.

Between briefings with the heads of agencies involved in storm response, DeSantis worked the phones hard, too, conferring with mayors in the hurricane zone; the governors of Alabama and Indiana; the heads of the American Red Cross, the Florida Municipal Electric Association, and the Sarasota-Bradenton International Airport; and the state government and public affairs manager for Marathon Petroleum.

He even spoke for a few minutes with Walt Ehmer, CEO of Waffle House, of “Waffle House Index” fame, which measures a storm’s severity by the degree to which the restaurants are operating in a hurricane zone. At least 21 Waffle House restaurants closed on Wednesday, according to a USA Today report.

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Michael Moline
Michael Moline

Michael Moline has covered politics and the legal system for more than 30 years. He is a former managing editor of the San Francisco Daily Journal and former assistant managing editor of The National Law Journal. He began his career covering the Florida Capitol for United Press International. More recently, he wrote for Florida Politics.