Ron DeSantis on the defensive after NYC mayor launches ad campaign against FL’s 'Don’t Say Gay' law
Gov Ron DeSantis (R-FL) (Photo: Screen capture)

In response to New York City mayor Eric Adams’ criticism of a new Florida law, Gov. Ron DeSantis on Tuesday derided the entire state of New York for its policies concerning COVID-19.

But Adams had opened the door for criticism on Monday, when he launched a series of digital billboards in support of LGBTQ communities and pushed back on the so-called “Don’t Say Gay” bill in Florida that DeSantis signed last week.

Adams, a Democrat, invited Floridians to move to New York if they are in opposition to the recently signed legislation that critics say threatens LGBTQ people by prohibiting discussions on gender identity and sexual orientation in public school classrooms.

“This political showmanship of attempting to demonize a particular group or community is unacceptable and we are going to loudly show our support and say to those who are living in Florida, ‘listen, we want you here in New York,’ “ Adams said in a video Tuesday posted on Twitter.

But DeSantis, a Republican, defended Florida’s bill, originally called “Parental Rights in Education,” and criticized New York for making kids wear masks in classrooms as a safety measure to combat COVID-19. DeSantis made those remarks at two press conferences Tuesday, while announcing job growth grant funds in Hamilton and Jefferson counties in rural North Florida.

CBS News New York reported this week that “Mayor Eric Adams is postponing his plan to discontinue the mask mandate for students in preschool under the age of 5 for at least a week. For all other students, masks will remain optional.”

Meanwhile, DeSantis responded that “New York is doing billboards telling people, come, come to New York from Florida. They are wasting taxpayer money on doing that.”

“I don’t know why they would do it. They are saying you can say whatever you want. But they are the ones that will force a mask on your face and muzzle you in public,” he said.

Meanwhile, DeSantis touted Florida as a “free state” where people want to live.

New York state is the “closest state to us population-wise,” DeSantis said.

“We have better services, roads…and all that stuff,” DeSantis said. “It just shows you they waste a lot of money; they tax people excessively. So, we’re in good shape.”

Condemning Florida’s controversial law, Adams also announced Monday that New York City’s digital billboard launch will run from April 4 to May 29, according to a press release.

One of the ads reads “New York City is alive. And so is free speech.”

Adams said in a written statement Monday:

“I am the mayor of New York City, but I have a message for Florida’s LGBTQ+ community — come to a city where you can say and be whoever you want. Florida’s ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill is the latest shameful, extremist culture war targeting the LGBTQ+ community. Today, we say to the families living in fear of this state-sponsored discrimination that you will always have a home in New York City.”

DeSantis has dissed New York in the past during the pandemic and even dissuaded travelers flying into Florida from New York by issuing an executive order in 2020 requiring a 14-day quarantine for those entering Florida from COVID hotspots at the time, such as New Jersey and New York.

Meanwhile, DeSantis heavily criticized the Biden administration during both press conferences Tuesday, blaming the Biden administration for issues, such as rising inflation.

“We need some different policies out of Washington, said DeSantis, who is considered a potential presidential pick. “Some of the wounds that we see are self-inflicted with bad policies.”

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This story was first published by Florida Phoenix, part of the States Newsroom network of news bureaus supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity. Florida Phoenix maintains editorial independence. Contact Editor Diane Rado for questions: info@floridaphoenix.com. Follow Florida Phoenix on Facebook and Twitter.

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