Joe Henderson: Ron DeSantis’ offer of hurricane aid was the right thing to do

In times of high stress like Hurricane Ida and Surfside, DeSantis remembers he's the Governor of the whole state.

Gulf Coast states understand, maybe better than anyone, what a major hurricane can do. We know that recovery from calamity can take months, if not years.

It’s part of the price of living where we do. When that bill comes due, it’s time for politics to take a seat.

Maybe Floridians breathed a sigh of relief when Hurricane Ida headed toward Louisiana and Mississippi. However, we also know it easily could have come toward us. If it had, other states would have reached out to help without hesitation.

That’s why Gov. Ron DeSantis deserves a nod of appreciation from all Floridians for immediately sending Urban Search and Rescue teams to Louisiana and Mississippi.

“I am proud that we are able to deploy aid to both Mississippi and Louisiana during their time of need, just as others help Florida when disaster strikes here,” he wrote in a news release announcing the move. “We will continue to coordinate with both states to identify needed resources.”

Sure, offering aid is an obvious move, and it’s good public relations. Sometimes, though, it’s easy to overlook even obvious things.

“Florida is deploying its best and brightest to support our neighbors to the west,” CFO and State Fire Marshal Jimmy Patronis said. “These Urban Search & Rescue Teams are the same ones that worked Surfside, and they’re going to do a lot of good in getting impacted communities back on their feet.”

DeSantis deserves much of the bad press lately. But as we saw at Surfside when he and President Joe Biden sat side by side, the Governor’s instinct during tragedies is to participate in comforting and healing. He puts his inner pit bull in the kennel and lets compassion rule the day.

Take his reaction to the ongoing horror in Afghanistan, for instance. His political committee, Friends of Ron DeSantis, released an email devoid of snark and growls.

“Those who made the ultimate sacrifice in service are heroes. Their brave actions were responsible for bringing thousands of Americans, Afghans, and our allies to safety. It was through a love of country that these heroes showed dedication and determination to carry out their mission in the face of incredible danger,” the email said.

“I join my wife Casey in expressing our condolences to the families of those who were tragically lost in Afghanistan. We thank them for their sacrifice and their incredible bravery to help keep our nation safe.”

True, DeSantis also got a little prickly in an email to several departments in Washington demanding details of resettlement plans for refugees. However, I don’t think he was wrong there. There must be transparency with affected states, and Florida certainly will be on that list.

“I have the responsibility to protect the safety of every Floridian and stress the imperative of an immediate response,” he wrote.

Jerry Dunleavy of the Washington Examiner had the scoop on that one.

The Governor’s recent run of negative headlines results from his hard-right turn in an unannounced presidential campaign. I think he’s dead wrong about mandatory masks in schools. He also should let mayors run their cities.

But, DeSantis also has the capacity for compassion in times of stress. It’s like he remembers he’s the Governor of the whole state and not just those who voted for him. It’s good when we’re reminded of that.

Joe Henderson

I have a 45-year career in newspapers, including nearly 42 years at The Tampa Tribune. Florida is wacky, wonderful, unpredictable and a national force. It's a treat to have a front-row seat for it all.


  • Charles

    August 31, 2021 at 7:36 pm

    Every now and then you put most of your bias in your pocket and remember what journalism should be.
    This appears to be one of those times
    Could I suggest retirement- go out on a good note

    • Sister Mary Shelly Thunderheart

      September 2, 2021 at 5:30 pm

      Charlie Boy, you seem plum scared of Mr. Henderson, always trying to get him to go away. I understand it’s dark inside your head and you’re afraid of the dark, and God knows you’ll never find the light switch, but that’s not Mr. Henderson’s doing. It’s your own doing, for keeping your head up your ass.

  • Zhombre

    August 31, 2021 at 7:36 pm

    The wretched hive of scum and vituperation who post here regularly will still condemn DeSantis, regardless. Can’t help themselves: it’s their pathology.

    • Alex

      August 31, 2021 at 7:42 pm


      I’m proud to be anti-far right idiot who endangers children for political purposes.

      • Tom

        September 1, 2021 at 6:55 am

        Yess Alex, Just an idiot. Period

    • Sister Elizabeth Sweet

      September 2, 2021 at 5:34 pm

      Z, you are an ass, and so proud of it, too, always wanting to show it.

  • Alex

    August 31, 2021 at 7:40 pm

    He’s only a far right freak who believes in idiotic conspiracy theories and is buddies with Gym Jordan, Matt “pedo” Gaetz, Louie “dumbest person in congress” Gohmert, and thinks parents have a right to endanger other childrens lives.

    He should dye his hair orange to complete his idiocy.

    • Tom

      August 31, 2021 at 8:31 pm

      True hater Alex.
      America’s Gov.will win re-elect and will consider run for presidency.
      Deal with it.

      • Alex

        August 31, 2021 at 8:35 pm

        If you can see the future, what are the lotto numbers this week?

  • Jerry

    August 31, 2021 at 8:27 pm

    But then when DeSantis sends help to try to secure our nation’s border in Texas (because Democrats running our country in D.C. refuse to do their jobs required by law), you liberals in the media roast him.

    • Alex

      August 31, 2021 at 8:31 pm

      People are dying in droves, and Destupid is off pandering to those who hate brownish people.

      It’s called priorities.

      • Tom

        August 31, 2021 at 8:41 pm

        Your are a ugly piece Alex.
        Totally uncalled for and just wrong
        Sick human. Crawl to the curb.

        • Alex

          August 31, 2021 at 8:43 pm

          Tick tock idiot…

          • Tom

            September 1, 2021 at 6:56 am

            U can crawl off the curb, daylight now.

  • Phil

    August 31, 2021 at 8:29 pm

    Well said, Joe. I wish we saw this side of him more.

  • Tom

    August 31, 2021 at 8:39 pm

    Jerry, yes but remember that Dums can’t defend Americans abroad, in our cities and on our southern border.

    DeSantis the best! America’s Gov.
    Not like your pathetic Dum Govs.
    Blue state incompetence.

  • Tom

    September 1, 2021 at 6:53 am

    Hey Joe, really?
    Thoughtful of you to try to compliment Gov, backhandedly I guess, but still kind.

    The larger issue is Fried’s revised financial filing under deadline. Free house, substantive earnings for the fraud while people suffer through pandemic. Talk about a tin ear.
    But she’s on he side of the people, just like the rest of the blue state dictators. Oh may be it will make your Sunday best Joe.

Comments are closed.


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