During the show, Bryan announced that proceeds from his Sunshine State gigs would go toward the Florida Disaster Fund, which is raising money for those impacted by Hurricane Ian; Bryan’s Florida shows were initially postponed due to the hurricane.
In announcing the donation Friday, Bryan warmly welcomed onstage Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who — in the last few months alone — sent migrants to Martha’s Vineyard as a political stunt and cracked down on voting rights in the state.
Bryan’s invitation of DeSantis — an architect of Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” law — drew lots of criticism, but especially didn’t sit well with viewers of American Idol, a show that has been welcoming of the LGBTQ+ community and where Bryan remains a judge. In response to the uproar, Bryan posted a rare statement on social media Sunday morning.
“I typically don’t respond to stuff when I’m getting run down on a social platform but here’s the deal. I understand Governor Desantis [sic] is a very polarizing figure,” Bryan wrote. “But I grew up in a country where if a governor ask you if they can come and raise awareness to help victims of a natural disaster you help.”
Bryan continued, “I’ve generally stayed out of politics throughout my career. I knew people would chatter about this but for me the more important piece was if I am going to come back there a few weeks after a large portion of people have been affected by a natural disaster in a state where people have been good to me this felt right.”
The country star closed out his statement by writing, “This is all I am saying about this.”