Sen. Rick Scott, R-Fla., on Monday said he doesn’t “believe in evacuation orders,” and suggested evacuation orders he urged ahead of Hurricane Irma as Florida governor in 2017 were not mandatory after a CNBC reporter compared them to COVID-19 vaccination mandates.
“What we did was, I went around the state and said here’s what we know today,” Scott said during an interview on CNBC’s “Squawk Box” Monday when asked about the evacuations ahead of Hurricane Irma in 2017.
He added that while 6 million people were evacuated at that time, “we kept the state open” along with relief centers to ensure that “we never ran out of fuel.”
“What we did was, we gave people good information,” he added. “I never did an evacuation order. I don’t believe in evacuation orders. I believe that you’ll make a good decision. And that’s what people did.”
Florida Politics notes that at the time, Scott told Florida residents during a press conference: “If you have been ordered to evacuate, you need to leave now. Do not wait. Evacuate. Not tonight, not in an hour. You need to go right now.”
He said on ABC News at the time that “if you’re in an evacuation zone, you’ve got to get out; you can’t wait.”
The Naples Daily News reports that Scott also said in 2017: “If you have been ordered to evacuate, now is the time to evacuate.”