STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. (WABC) — Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis was in New York on Monday to meet with law enforcement officials.
Governor DeSantis participated in a Staten Island law enforcement debate.
Dozens of people packed the Prive catering hall on Monday morning, lining up from the start to secure a seat.
For some, the focus was crime, and they say they wanted to be there to hear what Florida’s governor had to say about reducing crime.
“We need change. We need change on both sides, and I think he’s the man for that,” said Tottenville resident Ron Arabia.
The visit comes amid growing speculation that he may be preparing for a presidential campaign.
Staten Island is a touchy spot, as it was the only borough to support Donald Trump in the 2020 and 2016 presidential elections.
The Republican governor, who was once supported by Trump, has now become the target of criticism from the former president.
“I wish they were both nicer to each other,” said one voter.
Republican Lee Zeldin and the president of the New York State Fraternal Order of Police joined DeSantis.
They focused on the topic of fighting crime in New York.
“We want streets where law-abiding New Yorkers are in charge, not criminals,” Zeldin said.
Zeldin touts the work Governor DeSantis has done to ensure public safety in his state and that New York should use Florida as an example.
“The foundation of Florida’s success has been its commitment to law and order and its support of the men and women in uniform,” DeSantis said.
Florida’s governor has touted things like law enforcement bonuses and raised bail reform policies in New York, such as a judge’s failure to consider whether someone is a threat to public safety when setting bail. It’s the same policy that Mayor Eric Adams has criticized in the past.
“Here you are in uniform, risking your life, they bring them, and they just let them go. What’s the point in that?” Desantis said.
DeSantis also touted other things his state has tackled, such as critical race theory and the so-called “Don’t Tell the Gays Act.”
DeSantis has visited New York several times in the past few months; He was in Long Island back in October to campaign for Zeldin during his failed bid for New York governor.
He was last in New York last June for a conference of Conservative Jewish leaders.
At the time, some New Yorkers made it clear they did not want a Republican governor there.
Gay rights activists and others protested the event and tried unsuccessfully to have it canceled.
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