In the aftermath of Hurricane Ian, with Florida suffering massive damages, Bryan was forced to reschedule three shows in the state.
Before starting the show, the musician spoke to the crowd.
“We typically do not start a concert with me walking out here,” Bryan said. “We like to be a little more creative than that.”
“But as you guys know, a couple of weeks ago, the state of Florida was hit with a tragic hurricane event, and we’ve been thinking about the state of Florida, and we’re going to have some fun, and we’re going to raise some money tonight for the great state of Florida,” he added.
Bryan then surprised the crowd by welcoming DeSantis onto the stage.
— Ron DeSantis (@RonDeSantisFL) October 29, 2022
As the Republican governor walked on stage, he threw hats into the crowd. DeSantis was met with cheers and applause as he spoke with Bryan and the crowd about the upcoming Florida-Georgia football game.
DeSantis just walked out on stage at Luke Bryan. It’s deafening in here. pic.twitter.com/WHelgPCxM1
— Bonnie Upright, APR (@bonnieupright) October 29, 2022
In a friendly jab at the Florida Gators, Bryan — who was born and raised in Georgia — presented DeSantis with a Georgia Bulldogs jersey, causing an uproar within the crowd.
DeSantis also encouraged the crowd to vote in the upcoming midterm elections, and urged them to donate to the Florida Disaster Fund to help victims of the Category 4 hurricane.
The musician went on to announce that the proceeds from his upcoming show in Estero, Florida, would be going towards the state’s hurricane relief fund. Estero was hit especially hard by the hurricane, so much that the arena needed to be refurnished to be used as an emergency shelter.
Following the concert, the left-wing mob took to Twitter to demand that Bryan be “cancelled” for daring to appear alongside the Republican governor — with some even demanding that he lose his spot as a judge on “American Idol,” and calling for his position as host of the CMA Awards to be revoked.
Some of the critics lashed out at the country music star with baseless insults, calling him a “Nazi,” a “racist,” a “homophobe” and other derogatory insults with absolutely no evidence to back up their claims. In fact, prior to this concert, Bryan was considered to be on the left, and to agree with most left-wing political positions — at least, according to many country music fans.
Still, there were some on social media that stood up for Bryan’s actions, calling him and DeSantis “patriots.”
Bryan spoke out following the backlash, addressing the supposed controversy of his actions in a post on social media.
“I typically don’t respond to stuff when I’m getting run down on a social platform but here’s the deal,” he began. “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.”
“I’ve generally stayed out of politics throughout my career,” Bryan continued. “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.”
“Raise awareness, have a little fun between GA and FL college fans before the game and do what I love on stage,” he added. “This is all I am saying about this. I’ll be outdoors with my boys. Enjoy your Sunday. Love y’all.”
— Luke Bryan (@lukebryan) October 30, 2022