Two days after his surprise decision to bring Gov. Ron DeSantis onstage during a concert in Jacksonville, Luke Bryan broke his silence by explaining his decision to bring Gov. Ron DeSantis on stage at his Jacksonville performance on Friday. Country star Luke Bryan on Sunday defended his decision by saying "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."
In light of the devastation left by Hurricane Ian in September, Bryan, who is currently on his "Raised Up Right Tour," told the large crowd at VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena, "We're going to have some fun and raise some money tonight for the great state of Florida."
According to a concert goer's video posted on Twitter, DeSantis, who is seeking re-election in Florida, was welcomed with a deafening wave of sound as he appeared on the stage.
Opinions on the decision and the way Bryan brought out the governor were quickly shared and dissected. A Twitter user wrote, "Hey, I get that this is for hurricane relief due to the destruction in Florida. That makes sense to me. However, doing this TEN DAYS before the midterm elections is nothing more than a political stunt. You could've done this when the midterms were over. Luke Bryan, you're to blame."
Many Twitter users made fun of Bryan for inviting DeSantis to the stage.
Someone tweeted, "Sad and extremely let down. Another individual said, "Note to self: cancel Luke Bryan. F—k you, Luke Bryan."
On Saturday, Gov. DeSantis expressed gratitude to "American Idol" judge Luke Bryan on Twitter for giving him the chance to be on stage. He wrote, "Thanks for letting me crash the party last night."
One user asked in reference to both DeSantis' character and his policies, "Is anyone really surprised that Luke Bryan supports a racist, misogynistic authoritarian?" Someone else mentioned Bryan tweeting "Thank you for shaking hands with and praising the governor who just removed healthcare from trans children in my state, endangering their lives. Yesterday was spent fighting for those kids. You're garbage, and we can see that."
However, other users applauded Bryan for making the choice. A user posted, "How amazing. Wish I could be there. Two Rock Stars in Florida celebrating their freedom," with one adding, "I've always loved Luke Bryan."
Another supporter posted on social media, "What I love about Luke." "You're not going to tell him who he can hang out with," One more wrote, "just gained a fan. Time to start downloading some @lukebryan."
Bryan took to Instagram to express his feelings about the concert, writing, "Jacksonville got me fired up for the weekend," along with a picture of the large crowd.
Bryan is currently performing in Florida as part of his tour; on November 2, he will be in Estero.
Samuel Fisher is a contributing writer for Red Liberty Media. Follow Samuel Fisher on Twitter at @samuelffisher