June 4, 2023
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis to speak on Long Island on Saturday

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis to speak on Long Island on Saturday

Donald Trump is not the only Florida man headed for New York.

Gov. Ron DeSantis is expected to deliver a Saturday evening speech in Garden City, L.I., touting his Republican leadership of Florida, as he inches toward a potential White House run.

The scheduled visit from the Florida governor comes with Trump — a Palm Beach, Fla., resident and the GOP’s leading 2024 presidential candidate — expected to be arrested next week in New York in a criminal inquiry into a 2016 payment to Stormy Daniels.

DeSantis has lagged far behind Trump in recent primary polls, but the campaign has barely begun, and the former president’s anticipated arrest figures to transform the race.

DeSantis, a Harvard-educated lawyer who has built his brand on a conservative culture war crusade, has said his state will not help extradite Trump to New York. In a tweet on Thursday, the governor described Trump’s indictment as “un-American.”

Donald Trump’s not the only Florida man headed for New York.

It was not clear whether DeSantis would address the Trump case during his speech in Long Island. The event, billed as a discussion of DeSantis’ “Florida Blueprint,” is scheduled to start at 7 p.m. on Saturday at the Cradle of Aviation Museum.

A spokeswoman for the aerospace museum, Jerelyn Zontini, said the venue has not been involved in the planning. In the lead-up to the talk, there has been a significant police presence at the museum, which is run by Nassau County, she said.

Lee Zeldin, the former Long Island congressman who staged a surprisingly competitive challenge to Gov. Hochul in deep-blue New York last year, is also slated to speak at the event.

And Rep. Anthony D’Esposito, the Republican whose House district includes the museum, plans to attend, said his spokesman. The spokesman, Matthew Capp, said he was not aware of any plans for D’Esposito to speak.

The event is part of DeSantis’ tour for his new book, “The Courage to Be Free: Florida’s Blueprint for America’s Revival.” The book tour has been widely seen as a soft launch for the governor’s expected White House run.

“Governor Ron DeSantis created a blueprint for freedom in Florida that serves as a model for the rest of the nation,” said a listing for the Saturday event. “No leader has accomplished more for his state than Governor DeSantis, and he is now sharing this winning blueprint with the country.”

DeSantis has enjoyed a remarkable run of victories as Florida’s executive, winning reelection in November by nearly 20 percentage points and flexing his political muscle by signing laws expanding school vouchers and barring discussion of sexuality in some grade school classrooms.

But his conservative platform and rhetoric have marked him as a deeply unpopular figure in New York’s Democratic circles.

When DeSantis decamped to New York City in February, Mayor Adams delivered a chilly statement directed at the Sunshine State governor.

“Welcome to NYC,” Adams tweeted, “a place where we don’t ban books, discriminate against our LGBTQ+ neighbors, use asylum seekers as props, or let the government stand between a woman and health care.”

“We’re happy to teach you something about values while you’re here,” the mayor added.

DeSantis, speaking at a law enforcement conference on Staten Island, tailored his comments to crime and accused New York Democrats of trying to “out-woke” each other at the expense of public safety.

But the progressive New York Working Families Party panned DeSantis as a threat to safety ahead of his Long Island stop, pointing to the Florida governor’s support for loose gun control laws.

“His rhetoric is a danger to people who want their children to grow up safe and secure,” Sochie Nnaemeka, director of the state Working Families Party, said in a Thursday statement.

She accused Long Island Republicans of “inviting hate and violence into our communities.”

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