Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has canceled a day of presidential campaign appearances in order to deal with crises at home. The state of Florida is currently mourning a racist fatal shooting in Jacksonville and preparing for a tropical storm.
After appearing in Iowa, DeSantis returned to Tallahassee, the state capital, on Sunday to hold a news conference about Tropical Storm Idalia. He urged Floridians to listen to the advice of emergency managers and offered condolences for the killing of three Black people by a white man. Authorities have confirmed that the shooter left behind a suicide note, a will, and writings containing racist material.
Later that day, DeSantis attended a vigil outside the Jacksonville store where the shootings took place. The governor, though briefly booed by the crowd, condemned the gunman and emphasized that racist violence has no place in Florida.
DeSantis had originally planned to campaign in South Carolina on Monday, but his campaign spokesman announced that the trip has been canceled. The governor’s wife, Casey DeSantis, is still scheduled to appear at a barbecue hosted by Representative Jeff Duncan. However, a town hall in Kershaw has been canceled due to the approaching tropical storm.
DeSantis reassured residents at the news conference that he will be in Florida this week to help with storm preparations. The governor has faced challenges in his presidential campaign and has struggled to connect with voters. He currently sits in second place behind former President Donald Trump for the Republican nomination.
As the nation tries to make sense of another mass shooting, DeSantis expressed his condolences for the victims of the attack in Jacksonville. Federal authorities are investigating the incident as a hate crime.
DeSantis’ handling of race-related issues has been a subject of criticism during his time as governor. He faced backlash for his defense of a public school curriculum on Black history and his ban on critical race theory in classrooms.
At the vigil in Jacksonville, Democratic City Councilwoman Ju’Coby Pittman addressed DeSantis directly and implored him to see the impact the shooting has had on the community. Some attendees expressed their disapproval of DeSantis with boos and shouts during his speech.
The Rev. Jeffrey Rumlin, pastor of The Dayspring Church in Jacksonville, disagreed with DeSantis’ characterization of the gunman and called him a racist.
DeSantis remains committed to addressing the challenges faced by Florida and working towards providing safety and security for the state’s residents.