Florida GOP Gov. Ron DeSantis visited New York City on Monday to attend a discussion on law enforcement and recruit police officers tired of the Big Apple's progressive policies.
DeSantis, widely considered a likely contender for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination, appeared at a Staten Island event hosted by the New York State Fraternal Order of Police.
The governor spoke for roughly 20 minutes, SILive reported. He laid out his efforts against "woke" and "critical theory," and also promoted his pro-police policies, which include a $5,000 bonus and school-choice scholarships for the dependents of law enforcement officers.
"I wish I can tell you that Floridians are just so much better, but it's not the reason. It's not. The reason is, is we support strong policies to keep our communities safe, and we back the blue and we support their mission," DeSantis told the crowd, SILive reported.
Politico had reported that DeSantis was a "special guest for a discussion on protecting Law and Order in New York."
Staten Island, one of the few Republican bastions in the otherwise Democrat stronghold of New York City, was the only one of the city's five boroughs to support former President Donald Trump in both 2016 and 2020.
SILive reported that crowds Monday began forming before dawn, with some attendees wearing T-shirts that said, "DeSantis 2024."
"Is this Florida north or is Florida Staten Island south?" DeSantis jokingly asked the crowd, SILive reported. "You don't have to look far in Florida to find someone that's got Staten Island roots."
Former GOP New York gubernatorial candidate Lee Zeldin was among several local politicians and law enforcement union leaders in attendance.
"It has been too long since we've been able to hear a voice of a governor who is unapologetically fighting for us and our families to keep us safe, prosperous and free," said Zeldin, who knew DeSantis when both served in the U.S. House.
New York City Democrat Mayor Eric Adams tweeted a sarcastic "welcome" to DeSantis.
"Welcome to NYC, @GovRonDeSantis, 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," Adams wrote.
"We're happy to teach you something about values while you're here."
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