A journalist from The Intercept faced intense backlash for suggesting Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is responsible for the tragic Surfside building collapse last week.
Investigative reporter Ken Klippenstein took to Twitter on Saturday and juxtaposed a tweet DeSantis wrote in January 2019, just days after taking office as Florida’s governor, and a recent CNN headline from the fallout of the Surfside disaster.
“I’m pleased to announce our upcoming ‘Florida Deregathon,'” DeSantis wrote. “The #Deregathon will take place on Thursday, Jan. 31st @valenciacollege to identify and eliminate burdensome government regulations that are hurting our businesses and stifling private-sector competition.”
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The CNN headline read, “Engineer raised concerns about ‘major structural damage’ at Florida building a few years before collapse.”
The headline referred to a story that was first broke by The New York Times of a survey that was conducted Champlain Towers South that documented the cracking foundation in the building. That survey was done in October 2018, months before DeSantis became Florida’s governor.
Critics blasted Klippenstein for attempting to place blame of the building collapse on DeSantis.
“These two things obviously have zero to do with each other, but people like Ken can’t help but try to ghoulishly seize on every tragedy to try to score point on political opponents,” conservative writer AG Hamilton reacted.
“This event was about professional licensing. Whatever one thinks about the licensing regulations for people who work in nail salons or whatever, I don’t think it’s remotely related,” journalist Zaid Jilani wrote.
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“No matter the tragedy, ghouls like this exploit them and spin crap like this. Have you no consideration for the families whose loved ones are currently unaccounted for? Gross,” Townhall.com writer Gabriella Hoffman tweeted.
“Do you get paid to tweet this soulless trash, dude?” Tablet Magazine’s Noam Blum asked Klippenstein. “Because I’d at least get it if your motive was greed.”
Christina Pushaw, DeSantis’ press secretary, also blasted the “disgusting” tweet.
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“First responders are risking their lives in fiery rubble to find missing people, & Ken attempts a political dunk,” Pushaw wrote. “DeSantis wasn’t Governor when the building was built or when concerns were raised—& NO past Gov would have been informed of this building inspection.”