MIAMI – Florida Lt. Gov. Jeanette Nuñez wouldn’t answer questions about controversial comments she made on a Spanish-language radio show last week, implying that Cuban migrants arriving in Florida would be bussed to Delaware, following an event in Homestead Tuesday.
Responding to the host’s question about an upsurge in Cuban migration, Nuñez said the administration of Gov. Ron DeSantis will send migrants who arrive to Florida illegally to Delaware, the home state of President Joe Biden.
A spokesperson for DeSantis’ re-election campaign later walked back Nuñez’s remarks, saying Cubans are considered political refugees, and therefore wouldn’t be bussed elsewhere.
That came after Democratic gubernatorial candidates pounced on the lieutenant governor’s words, as they try to win over a key Republican constituency.
On Tuesday, Nuñez was among a group of state and local dignitaries commemorating the 30th anniversary of Hurricane Andrew in Homestead.
Afterwards, reporters tried to get answers from the lieutenant governor regarding her statement, but she avoided questions as her staff rushed her into a waiting vehicle.
Local 10 News Reporter Trent Kelly asked: “How will you make the distinction… any clarification?”
“I have addressed it on more than one occasion,” she told reporters.
Nunez echoed those comments in a Twitter post:
Her initial comments prove to be problematic for South Florida as most Cubans who arrive here do end up staying.
Nuñez’s comments on WURN, “Actualidad 1040,” drew a strong rebuke from the two Democrats seeking to oust DeSantis in November.
Gubernatorial candidates Nikki Fried and former Governor Charlie Crist pounced on Nuñez’s comments.
“There’s no way for this to actually even happen. so she’s merely using words, these catchphrases to get to her base. it’s insensitive, it is cruel, and it is against everything we as Americans stand for,” said Fried.
Crist tweeted “this should shake every freedom-loving Floridian who may not look like, speak like, or vote like Governor DeSantis. If he is willing to play with the safety and well-being of refugees from a communist dictatorship just to play political games to win the white house in 2024, he has disqualified himself from public office.”
In some other states that bus migrants, including Texas, their programs are said to be voluntary.