The Democratic candidate for Lt. Governor says that more scrutiny should have been applied to the $12 million in the state budget to relocate migrants, but acknowledges that a no vote wouldn’t have mattered in the end

Charlie Crist’s running mate Karla Hernández spoke to ongoing frustration about the the Ron DeSantis-directed flights sending two planes with about 50 migrants to Martha’s Vineyard earlier this month, responding as follows to a question about whether that should have been a Democratic deal breaker in a budget vote.

“I wish more people would have paid attention to it. I wish more people would have been vocal about it as well. Unfortunately, even if they would have voted no, it would have still passed,” Hernández told Florida Politics in Jacksonville Saturday.

Democrats did push back against the fund to no avail, but only two House Democrats voted down on the overall budget.

Republicans have noted the irony of Democrats voting for the budget including the appropriation.

“The funding for transporting illegal aliens to sanctuary jurisdictions was a highlight of the budget DeSantis signed MONTHS ago. Dem legislators performing outrage today voted for it Promises made, promises kept,” tweeted DeSantis rapid response director Christina Pushaw earlier this month.

Hernández noted that Senators, namely South Florida Democrat Jason Pizzo, have filed suits to “block the use of that money.”

“Not only is it erratic spending, it is not for the purpose it was intended,” Hernández said.

“He’s creating a political plot here,” she said of DeSantis, “where he’s playing with people’s lives. These are families. These are children who are refugees from places that we know are harmful to people.”

“We should be good neighbors like the neighbors in Martha’s Vineyard who actually showed them love and compassion, and empathy,” Hernández said.

“For him to waste taxpayers’ dollars on these types of games, this political, you know, using them as pawns, not only shows disrespect to these migrant families, but it also shows disrespect to Florida taxpayers. Because there are so many issues here like affordability that people want to be talking about, and he’s wasting money.”

DeSantis seems to be downplaying the migrant relocation strategy at this point. A recent fundraising email on the topic of immigration did not mention the Martha’s Vineyard incident at all.

DeSantis defended the migrant flight Thursday in Miami, again blaming President Biden for having “dumped people all over the fruited plain,” continuing a pattern of deflection in the wake of last week’s events.

Earlier this week, DeSantis told friendly interviewer Sean Hannity that travelers and those in Martha’s Vineyard “wanted” the plane to land.

“They said they wanted this, they said they were a sanctuary jurisdiction,” DeSantis claimed.

The migrants had “all signed consent forms to go,” DeSantis said, showing that the flights were “clearly voluntary and all the other nonsense you’re hearing is just not true.”

A press conference earlier this week was animated by questions about the Delaware trip, with DeSantis refusing to “confirm” the trip was happening as rumored. Ultimately, there was no landing in Delaware, a swerve that a DeSantis-linked source said left the media “punked.” Subsequent reporting from the Miami Herald revealed that these immigrants were stranded as a result.

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