Amid the looming threat of Tropical Storm Idalia and the recent racially charged shooting in Jacksonville, Florida’s Governor Ron DeSantis has hit the pause button on his presidential campaign this week. During a Sunday press briefing, the Governor underscored his commitment to managing the crises at hand.
“We’re locked in on this, we’re going to get this job done. I am here, I am here, ”DeSantis asserted. He also confirmed declaring a state of emergency in 33 Florida counties, primarily those close to the Gulf Coast, as Idalia appears set to escalate into a hurricane and make landfall in the coming days.
Taking no chances, DeSantis has activated 1,100 members of the Florida National Guard. The focus? Swift and effective search-and-rescue missions in the state’s swampy coastal regions that may be hit hardest by Idalia. “If this storm ends up coming in the Tallahassee region, there’s a lot of trees that are going to get knocked down, the power lines are going to get knocked down,” he warned.
The Governor wasn’t just focused on natural disasters, though. On Sunday night, he attended a candlelight vigil for the devastating, racially charged shooting that took place near Edward Waters University, a distinguished HBCU in Jacksonville. The horrendous event led to three Black individuals losing their lives, before the white gunman, armed with an AR-15, took his own life.
“Perpetrating violence of this kind is unacceptable, and targeting people because of their race has no place in the state of Florida,” DeSantis said. “We’re not going to allow in the state of Florida, our HBCUs to be targets for hateful lunatics like the guy yesterday.”
After speaking with Edward Waters President A. Zachary Faison Jr., DeSantis pledged to bolster security measures, drawing parallels to prior protections set up for Jewish Day Schools in the wake of threats.