Florida Governor Ron DeSantis blasted New York Democrats for ‘coddling’ criminals at a campaign event on Long Island on Saturday – and blamed their leaders for sending residents packing for the Sunshine State.
DeSantis, appearing alongside New York GOP gubernatorial candidate Lee Zeldin, even took a swipe at former New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio for migration.
“When de Blasio was elected mayor of New York, do you know how much real estate in South Florida skyrocketed when he was elected mayor of New York?” DeSantis joked.
DeSantis – considered a favorite to run on the Republican ticket in the 2024 presidential election – took the stage in front of thousands in Hauppauge in Suffolk County as Zeldin continues to close the gap to incumbent Democratic Governor Kathy Hochul.
The Sunshine State leader has denounced New York’s policies, including controversial bail reform laws, and said he is eager to see Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg removed from his post, this that Zeldin pledged to do if elected.
“The crime problem has been totally self-inflicted – you’re cutting police budgets, you’re doing things like eliminating cash bail and you’ve got rogue prosecutors who won’t even enforce the laws they’re dealing with. ‘Okay – of course you’re going to have streets that are less safe,” DeSantis said. “Of course you’re going to have people who aren’t able to do the basics without fearing for their safety.
“Stop spinning [criminals] loose in the street. They commit a crime and they fire them immediately,” he continued. “Stop releasing people early from prison. If you commit the crime, you must serve the sentence.
“We need to focus more on supporting the rights of victims of crime and not worry so much about the rights of criminals. Lee Zeldin will not coddle these people. It will hold them accountable and you will be safer that way.
DeSantis said people are “fed up with the crime you see, especially in New York.” He bragged that Florida was a law and order state and that New York would become one if Zeldin were elected.
A record number of New Yorkers have exchange their New York driver’s licenses for Florida licenses as masses fled the Empire State for the Sunshine State, The Post reported last month.
DeSantis said former New Yorkers who moved to Florida were upset by the “2020 George Floyd riots.” He said he called in the Florida National Guard because “we weren’t going to let our cities burn, we weren’t going to let our cities be destroyed.”
He also went after Hochul’s comments in August, where she called New York Republicans to “Just hop on a bus and head to Florida where you belong,” adding, “You’re not New Yorkers.”
“You have a situation here where not only is your state making terrible decisions driving people out, but you have a governor telling New York Republicans to leave the state. How pathetic is that? DeSantis said.
Zeldin, who spoke before DeSantis, said New Yorkers were leaving because the state had become too expensive, dangerous and restrictive.
“We want to be able to say we live in the greatest state in the greatest country in the world, but then we call our friends and family in other places like Florida,” Zeldin said.
“And then they point out to us, ‘Isn’t New York leading the country in emigration?’ So how can you say you live in the greatest state of the greatest country in the world?”
With just 10 days until Election Day, Zeldin has leaps single digits from Hochul in the polls in recent weeks.
Both candidates have around $6 million in their coffers for the final 10-day push to the finish line.
Those at Saturday night’s rally told the Post that the biggest issue for them ahead of this election is crime.
“Crime is the number one problem,” said Forest Hills resident David Rem, a self-identified blue-collar worker and father of a 17-year-old daughter.
“I’m afraid I won’t see her at night,” Rem told the Post. “She has to take the train. I am not a millionaire. I don’t have police protection and neither does she.
“There were stabbings and gunshots. Kathy Hochul said it was just guns. It’s not just about guns. People are getting hit over the head with hammers,” he said of the violence in New York.
Phil Eareckson, a 54-year-old Babylon resident and registered Republican, said he was “looking for change in New York. I want change in crime and bail reform.
“Crime! Crime! Crime!” added his wife Karla, 50, a retired nurse.
Judy Tedesco, 55, of Yaphank, also said she wants Republicans to take control of the state to “stop crime,” calling Gov. Hochul “out of touch” on the issue.
“I think she’s disconnected from everyone. When she said I don’t know why crime is so important to you, obviously she’s not into the masses. She is puzzled and doesn’t understand why crime is a problem.