Luke Bryan responded to an appearance by Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis at his recent concert in Jacksonville, Florida on Oct. 28. The country singer and American Idol judge acknowledged that the Florida governor is a “very polarizing figure.” Bryan said that the purpose of the event was not a political move, but instead an attempt to help raise funding for Hurricane Ian relief efforts.
“I typically don’t respond to stuff when I’m getting run down on a social platform but here’s the deal,” wrote Bryan in a post on Twitter. “I understand Governor DeSantis is a very polarizing figure, but I grew up in a country where if a governor [asks] you if they can come and raise awareness to help victims of a natural disaster, you help.”
Before presenting the governor to the stage, Bryan told the crowd, “We’re going to have some fun and we’re going to raise some money tonight for the great state of Florida.” The concert was meant to help victims of Ian, the category 4 hurricane that ripped through the state on Sept. 28 and killed more than 100 people.
Critics have attacked Bryan following the DeSantis appearance for supporting a governor some call “anti-LGBTQ,” after he passed the controversial Parental Rights in Education Act—also known as the “Don’t Say Gay” bill—into law earlier this year. The bill bans any school instruction related to sexual orientation or gender identity through the third grade.
DeSantis has also faced criticism over the past several years for his stance on the pandemic and opposition to mask wearing within the state. He also received backlash for recently sending migrants to Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts to pressure President Joe Biden to take immigration action at the border in the south.
“I know people would chatter about this,” added Bryan in his post, “but for me the more important piece was if I am going to come back [to Florida] a few weeks after a large portion of people have been affected by a natural disaster in a state where people have been good to me this felt right.”
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