Country singer Luke Bryan is defending his decision to invite Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis to a show Friday night after getting pushback on social media.
According to a video clip shared on Twitter, Bryan told concertgoers they were going to have "some fun" and "raise some money tonight for the great state of Florida," referring to proceeds from his shows going toward the Florida Disaster Fund, which is raising money for people impacted by Hurricane Ian. Bryan's shows in Florida were initially postponed in September due to the hurricane.
He then proceeded to welcome DeSantis to the stage, according to a video shared by user @bonnieupright. As the politician made his way to the stage next to Bryan, he threw caps onto the crowd.
Not everyone was pleased. On Twitter, people responded to the video with disappointment. "Another country artist I now cross off my list," user @JSteeleNW wrote.
DeSantis just walked out on stage at Luke Bryan. It’s deafening in here. pic.twitter.com/WHelgPCxM1
— Bonnie Upright, APR (@bonnieupright) October 29, 2022
Another Twitter user wrote: "Hey @lukebryan most people are good but #RonDeSantis is not one of them. I’m incredibly disappointed in you and will no longer support your music or @AmericanIdol as long as you’re on it."
"I had my suspicions about @LukeBryan and his political leanings. He was already on my list of artists whose music I refuse to purchase for fear of my hard earned money going into the pockets of election deniers and democracy assassins," wrote @Leob4w on Twitter. "Many thanks for confirming!"
Will DeSantis run for president? The candidate I saw during the Florida debate is worrisome.
Then Sunday, Bryan shared a statement on Twitter defending his decision to give DeSantis a platform at his show.
"I typically don't respond to stuff when I'm getting run down on a social platform but here's the deal," Bryan wrote. "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."
— Luke Bryan (@lukebryan) October 30, 2022
The "polarizing" DeSantis has drawn his own backlash in recent months — he was one of the politicians behind Florida's "Don't Say Gay" law, sent migrants to Martha's Vineyard as a political stunt and cracked down on voting rights in Florida, according to video obtained by the Tampa Bay Times.
The Florida governor also shared photos of the two onstage Saturday on Twitter, writing: "Thanks for letting me crash the party last night, @lukebryan!"
More: Border shelters warn migrants about human trafficking after DeSantis flights to Martha's Vineyard
Thanks for letting me crash the party last night, @lukebryan! pic.twitter.com/GCuTELFOM9
— Ron DeSantis (@RonDeSantisFL) October 29, 2022
In his statement, Bryan added that he has "generally stayed out of politics throughout my career" and "knew people would chatter about this."
But for him, it was "more important" to come back to Florida "after a large portion of people have been affected by a natural disaster in a state where people have been good to me …" and "raise awareness."
"This is all I'm saying about this. I'll be outdoors with my boys. Enjoy your Sunday. Love y'all," he concluded.
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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Luke Bryan defends inviting Governor Ron DeSantis to Florida show
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