DeSantis, Once a ‘No’ on Storm Aid, Petitions a President He’s Bashed

More than that, Jolly said, a governor who identifies himself as unwavering in his principles now finds himself with little choice but to push for storm relief actions “antithetical to his professed ideology.”

“He kept those strong convictions in the House,” said Jolly, who has been a harsh critic of the party in the Trump years. “I doubt he’ll hold them that tightly in the governor’s mansion.”

In 2013, Mr. DeSantis and Rep. Ted Yoho, another hardline conservative, were the only members of the Florida House of Representatives to oppose the Sandy package. For Mr. DeSantis, who represented a coastal district in eastern Florida, the vote immediately established him as a zealous fighter for the party’s rising right wing (he was a founding member of the Freedom Caucus), while at times placing him in defensive back. home.

In a local interview that yearMr. DeSantis said the bill contained “strange things” that could not be classified as emergency spending. “I never set out to say we shouldn’t do anything,” he said, adding that he could have supported a smaller package focused on immediate relief. Asked then if he would vote against an aid package affecting his own district, Mr. DeSantis was noncommittal, suggesting that he would support a responsible plan.

Over the years, critics from both parties have accused Mr. DeSantis of selectively applying this standard. In 2017, when he was about to run for governor, DeSantis supported an aid package after Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria, as places like Florida, Texas and Puerto Rico struggled to recover.

His main opponent of 2018, Adam Putnam, made a problem of Mr. DeSantis’ voting record during the campaign. Storm-weary voters, a Putnam spokeswoman warned then, should guard against “further destruction at the hands of Hurricane Ron.” Mr. DeSantis’s office in Congress denied any inconsistency at the time, rejecting a comparison between the two disaster packages and saying he had supported emergency spending “when immediate and necessary.”

When asked about the governor’s previous positions Thursday, a spokesman for DeSantis said the administration was “entirely focused on the response to the hurricane.” “As the governor said before,” said spokesman Jeremy T. Redfern, “we don’t have time for politics or pettiness.”