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Luke Bryan defends DeSantis appearance at concert

File – Florida’s Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks during a debate against Democratic opponent Charlie Crist, at Sunrise Theatre in Fort Pierce, Fla., on Oct. 24, 2022. Presidential aspirants running for reelection to their current jobs while dreaming of the highest office in the land often face a dilemma during their campaigns. (AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell)

Luke Bryan is defending an appearance by Gov. Ron DeSantis at one of his concerts, saying although Florida’s Republican governor is a “polarizing figure,” the move was aimed at helping hurricane victims.

“I typically don’t respond to stuff when I’m getting run down on a social platform but here’s the deal,” the “What Makes You Country” singer wrote in a Twitter post on Sunday.

“I understand Governor DeSantis is a very polarizing figure. But I grew up in a country where if a governor ask [sic] you if they can come and raise awareness to help victims of a natural disaster you help,” Bryan wrote to his more than 9 million followers.

The 46-year-old “American Idol” judge, who said he has “generally stayed out of politics” throughout his career, took heat after DeSantis took to the stage during one of Bryan’s concert tour stops in Jacksonville, Fla., on Friday.

“We’re going to have some fun and we’re going to raise some money tonight for the great state of Florida,” Bryan told the crowd in a video from the event posted on social media. A grinning DeSantis then appeared and threw items into the audience amid cheers.

Bryan’s concert came a month after Hurricane Ian ripped through the Sunshine State, causing widespread damage and killing more than 100 people.

Some critics blasted Bryan for playing host to “anti-LGBTQ” DeSantis, who earlier this year signed into law the controversial Parental Rights in Education bill, also referred to as the “Don’t Say Gay” legislation by its opponents. The law bars classroom instruction pertaining to gender identity and sexual orientation up to grade 3.

DeSantis also faced a wave of criticism in September for flying migrants to Martha’s Vineyard in Massachusetts in an attempt to pressure the Biden administration to take action at the southern border.

“I won’t be watching [‘American Idol’] as long as you have Luke Bryan as a judge,” one social media user wrote, saying anyone who supports an “anti-LGBTQ, anti-immigrant, human trafficking” governor such as DeSantis “doesn’t deserve our support.”

“I know people would chatter about this,” Bryan said in his response to the backlash on Sunday, “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.”

“Raise awareness, have a little fun between the [Georgia and Florida] college fans before the game and do what I love on stage,” Bryan said, including a way for fans to donate to the Florida Disaster Fund.

DeSantis’s campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment from ITK.

Updated at 10:33 a.m.

Tags Luke Bryan Ron DeSantis

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