Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, a Republican, who’s likely to launch a bid for president this spring, got a less than warm reception from Mayor Eric Adams during his visit to the five boroughs on Monday.
DeSantis traveled from the Sunshine State to the Big Apple to attend an event focused on “protecting Law and Order in New York” at the Privé catering hall on the South Shore of Staten Island — one of the city’s only bastions of conservatism — in the early morning hours of Presidents Day. The event was hosted by the Staten Island Republican Party and drew the likes of local GOP heavy-hitters such as the party’s chair — Assembly Member Michael Tannousis — and City Council Minority Leader Joe Borelli (Staten Island).
DeSantis, according to a report, spent much of his remarks railing against New York’s bail reforms and said the state must reverse course on its “woke” politics.
Adams, a Democrat, who’s had public spats with GOP governors like DeSantis over their bussing of migrants to northern cities — including New York, took to Twitter to slam the Republican presidential hopeful during his visit over his implementation of what many argue are anti LGBTQ plus policies and his pro-life stance.
“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.”
Nearly 46,000, mostly Latin American migrants who’ve crossed the southern border, have arrived in the city since last April. Many of those asylum seekers were bussed here by Republican governors of southern states — most notably Texas Governor Greg Abbott, who publicly admitted he was sending migrants directly to the city last summer.
DeSantis drew headlines last fall when he claimed responsibility for sending chartered planes of asylum seekers to Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts, as a political stunt. He even set aside $12 million in his state budget last year for the purpose of transporting migrants out of Florida, according to a published report.
A spokesperson for Adams told amNewYork Metro that his office doesn’t know if the city ever received any buses of asylum seekers directly from Florida, as the governors of southern states haven’t been coordinating with the city when sending migrants here.
“We don’t know because like Abbot, DeSantis does not coordinate with states,” the spokesperson said. “He just does things as political stunts.”
The Florida governor visited the city as he’s looking to build support for his likely White House bid in what’s shaping up to be a crowded GOP primary against candidates that include former President Donald Trump and former South Carolina governor, Nikki Haley.
DeSantis has also gotten significant criticism from LGBTQ plus advocacy groups in the city for his signing of the so-called “Don’t Say Gay” law, which bars Florida public school teachers in kindergarten through third grade from discussing sexual orientation and gender identity in the classroom.
Allen Roskoff, head of the Jim Owles Liberal Democratic Club, who heavily criticized Chelsea Piers for hosting an event that featured DeSantis last June, said DeSantis is “not welcome in New York.”
“He’s a disgusting human being,” Roskoff said. “He’s not welcome in New York as far as I’m concerned. The far-right likes what he stands for. He’s the opposite of New York values. He’s a hateful, destructive, bigot.”
DeSantis was not immediately available for comment.