Florida's Republican Governor Ron DeSantis managed to anger both Democrats and Republicans on Thursday, people in his state and out of his state, as he continued his unofficial run for president while ignoring real problems at home – and creating new ones just before the stroke of midnight.
For starters, Governor DeSantis has ignored a massive flooding crisis in Fort Lauderdale that's closed the airport for two days. His absence forced the Democratic mayor when asked by a reporter at a press conference on the more than two feet of water that fell from the skies in just two days, to diplomatically offer cover to the MIA governor.
"Have you spoken with Governor DeSantis?" a reporter asked, a very basic question that in times of crisis often allows Democrats and Republicans to show they can work together – think New Jersey GOP Governor Chris Christie praising President Barack Obama during Hurricane Sandy just days before the 2012 election, even as he was campaigning for Republican Mitt Romney. That produced a New York Times headline: "One Result of Hurricane: Bipartisanship Flows."
How did Fort Lauderdale Mayor Dean Trantalis respond? Carefully, knowing the Florida governor's penchant for attacking anyone who opposes him.
"Governor DeSantis has not yet called," Trantalis replied, offering a generous smile. "I'm not sure what's going on but I'm sure he's very interested in what's going on here and we're happy to work with his office."
This is the scene in Fort Lauderdale Friday morning, which CBS News calls a "1 in 1,000-year downpour."
NBC's "Today" says the 20 to 25 inches of rain fell in just seven hours, and that is how much a hurricane would produce in a full day.
So where was Governor DeSantis?
On an allegedly taxpayer-funded book tour in the presidential battleground state of Ohio, where the 2024 primary is less than a year away, despite not having officially launched his presidential campaign.
Did he drop everything and come back to the "Sunshine" State?
Well, very late Thursday night, DeSantis was back in Florida, to sign a bill that passed the legislature just hours earlier, which bans abortion at six weeks.
DeSantis watchers know the Florida governor loves press conferences, and for a long time held several each week, often at public and private schools, often surrounded by young children.
When he signed his "Don't Say Gay" bill into law, he did so at a school with many young children at his side, as he talked about what he claimed the new law does – which, under that law could have been unlawful.
Instead, late at night, in a closed-door ceremony, this time surrounded by dozens of women but not press, DeSantis signed his abortion ban into law. An abortion ban that studies show will lead to many more mothers dying. For example, Axios in January published this piece: "Report: Mothers in states with abortion bans nearly 3 times more likely to die."
At 11:04 PM Gov. DeSantis posted this tweet: "Signed the Heartbeat Protection Act, which expands pro-life protections and devotes resources to help young mothers and families."
No word on who the women in his office are, or when they are almost exclusively white, as are the very few men there.
So is DeSantis in Fort Lauderdale now?
Minutes ago he concluded his speech to a packed house of students at Liberty University in Virginia, where he was praised for signing the six-week abortion ban into law just hours earlier.
Needless to say, DeSantis is taking on a lot of criticism on social media, in the press, and of course from Trump supporters. Right now on Twitter searching DeSantis' name brings almost entirely negative tweets, even from the right.
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