Is he laying the groundwork for a 2024 presidential run or just trolling Democrat state governors? When it comes to Ron DeSantis (R), it’s not easy to tell. The Florida governor’s expedition to northern Democrat-run states – specifically to Pennsylvania and Illinois, two states that make up part of what has been called the “blue wall” – would appear to be a sign that he has the White House in his sights. The DeSantis roadshow has been billed as a pro-law enforcement tour, which suggests he is exploiting Democrats’ Achilles’ heel: the ever-increasing crime rates in many of the jurisdictions under their control.
The governor’s first stop was the New York City borough of Staten Island to meet with police union officials and police officers. Then it was on to Fort Washington, a suburb of Philadelphia, PA, and Elmhurst, near Chicago, IL. During both stops, DeSantis will again meet with law enforcement officials.
It is worth noting that these visits represent a courtship of America’s law enforcement community, which stood strongly behind former President Donald Trump both in 2016 and 2020.
Democrats Attack Ron DeSantis
The governor of one state Ron DeSantis visits during his non-campaign campaign stops attempted to call him out for his strong stances on law and order and education. JB Pritzker, who runs Illinois, took the hysterical ad hominem approach, which has become the default for progressives. Recently, he described DeSantis as “homophobic,” adding that the Sunshine State’s governor “has tendencies to promote racism.”
New York City Mayor Eric Adams (D), who is less given to outbursts and name-calling, took a slightly different approach. Still, in decidedly passive-aggressive fashion, he flashed some fairly extreme allegations in DeSantis’ direction. On the morning of Feb. 20, Adams tweeted, “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. We’re happy to teach you something about values while you’re here.”
For this tweet, Adams was mercilessly panned. Positive or supportive responses were very few and far between. A lot of those who went after the mayor pointed out the staggering number of New Yorkers who have moved to Florida in the past two years. According to the New York Post, 64,577 residents of the Empire State relocated to Florida in 2022.
It took less than 30 minutes for DeSantis campaign spokeswoman Christina Pushaw to fire back at Adams: “Nice rhetoric — but here’s reality: More Americans fled NYC than any other metro area last year,” Pushaw wrote in a tweet. “More Americans moved to Florida than any other state. You know this, Mayor Adams, and you’ve talked (accurately) about crime pushing people out of NYC. Florida’s crime rate meanwhile is at a 50 year low. Maybe it’s you who can learn from @RonDeSantisFL?”
Ron DeSantis is widely expected to announce a presidential run. This, of course, would put him up against Trump, who continues to beat him in most polls gauging Republican voters’ choice for the 2024 GOP ticket. The governor is now serving his second four-year term as Florida’s chief executive. While he could return to the governor’s mansion at some point in the future, two consecutive terms are the limit. If he surprised everyone and chose not to run for president, DeSantis will be leaving office in 2026 and would be ineligible to run for a third term as Florida’s governor until 2030.
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