Florida state Sen. Dennis Baxley (R-Ocala) decided to back Florida Gov. Rick Scott after he denied The Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills help following Hurricane Irma.
The nursing home came looking for help but was never answered. Baxley said that Scott’s decision is justified because the patients at the nursing home would all eventually die.
“Look at the population,” Baxley—a funeral director—said, according to CBS News. “You’re dealing with 90-somethings. Some of these deaths would naturally occur, storm or no storm.”
According to a CBS News report, the nursing home called an emergency cell phone number Scott had provided them four times before the elderly patients died. The voicemails left by the nursing home were eventually deleted by Scott’s office.
Baxley, speaking at a legislative meeting Wednesday convened to address the actions taken by Scott in the aftermath of the storm, said that there was no policy that would’ve changed the outcome of those deaths.
“Eventually everyone who was in that nursing home will die,” Baxley said. “But we don’t need to attribute those all to the storm and bad policy.”
State Democrats immediately fired back at Baxley’s remark.
“If the fault lies with anyone, it begins with the Scott Administration that allowed bad actors in the nursing home industry to flourish with no effective regulatory oversight,” Leader Braynon (D-Miami Gardens) wrote. “It ends with a nursing home that ignored these helpless souls entrusted to their care.”
“Senator Baxley should know better, and he should be ashamed for refusing to place the blame where it actually belongs,” the statement added.