Charlie Crist criticized Gov. Ron DeSantis on Friday for making a “partisan visit” to Pensacola while hundreds remain missing after a building collapsed in South Florida.
The “partisan visit” Crist lambasted was a send-off event for 50 state law enforcement officers deploying to the U.S.-Mexico border as part of a security mission.
While less than a ten-minute stop, Crist, a former Governor himself, accused DeSantis of putting political ambition ahead of Florida’s needs.
“It’s shameful that Governor DeSantis left the scene of a terrible crisis to hold a partisan press conference,” Crist said in a statement. “Hundreds of Floridians woke up in grief as 159 of their family, friends, and loved ones were still unaccounted for after the horrific building collapse in Surfside yesterday morning.”
As of Friday afternoon, fire rescue personal and first responders are still searching for 159 people within the rubble of the beachside building.
Video of the collapse showed the center of the building appearing to tumble down first and then a section nearest to the ocean collapsing seconds later.
In the hours since the collapse, DeSantis has held several press conferences including an interview with Fox News’ Sean Hannity.
“An entire community and city are reeling from the devastation as first responders are working around the clock to save as many lives as possible, but Florida’s Governor spent the morning on Fox News hosting a meaningless campaign stunt hundreds of miles away from Surfside,” Crist said.
DeSantis returned to Surfside Friday afternoon where he is expected to appear for three events — an afternoon briefing with state and local officials, a visit to the Family Assistance Center and a visit to the Shul of Bal Harbour.
DeSantis on Thursday declared a state of emergency in Miami-Dade County.
At the White House, President Joe Biden addressed the condo collapse, saying that his administration is “ready to move with federal resources immediately.”