Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, during a book tour stop in New York’s Long Island Saturday, criticized Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s indictment of former President Donald Trump.
In a speech at the Cradle of Aviation Museum in Nassau County, DeSantis, without referring to Bragg by name, applauded former U.S. congressman and GOP candidate for governor of New York, Lee Zeldin, for becoming a vocal critic of the Democrat Manhattan district attorney while on the 2022 campaign trail amid soaring crime in the Empire State.
“This guy is all about politics. He comes in, his whole thing is he doesn’t want people to be in jail. He wants to downgrade felonies to misdemeanors. Really, really dangerous stuff,” DeSantis said of Bragg’s now-infamous day-one soft on crime memo issued when he took office in January 2022. “And then what does he do? He turns around, does a flimsy indictment against a former President of the United States based on a bunch of things that they’re saying business records, which, first of all, even if that’s true, that’s a misdemeanor.”
“And they’re trying to do all these legal gymnastics to try to act like it’s a felony when almost every other time he’s trying to take the felonies and downgrade them to misdemeanors, this guy is politics. He has an agenda that is not the rule of law,” DeSantis added Saturday, also without naming Trump.
Trump, an early frontrunner for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination, is expected to be arraigned in New York City on Tuesday.
The details of the indictment have not been released, as they typically remain under seal before the arraignment takes place. The charges are expected to relate to Trump’s 2016 alleged hush money scandal, which the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office has been investigating for five years.
If the charges relate to the hush money scandal, prosecutors are expected to argue that the $130,000 sum given to Stormy Daniels and the $150,000 given to former Playboy model Karen McDougal were improper donations to the Trump campaign, which helped his candidacy during the 2016 election.
DeSantis, who hasn’t announced whether he plans to run for president in 2024, also criticized the agenda of President Joe Biden, who also hasn’t confirmed a bid for a second term.
“Our president, Joe Biden, he’s weak, he’s floundering. He’s really being in controlled by these leftist elements of the Democratic Party,” DeSantis said. “If you look at our financial problems, we now are $31 trillion in debt. They did trillions and trillions of dollars of fiscal stimulus. The Fed printed trillions and trillions of dollars of money. What do you think is going to happen? Of course, you’re going to get inflation. They tried to say it was transitory. That didn’t work out for them. Then they spent last year hiking rates very quickly and that’s created dislocation in our economy.”
DeSantis further spoke in Long Island about his “blueprint for Florida” meant to serve as a model for the rest of the nation.
“The Democratic Party in the state of Florida is dead, dead, dead right now,” DeSantis said, referencing his historic, nearly 20-point win in the November 2022 election.
“We’ve really had a fundamental shift in our electorate. When I got elected governor, we had almost 300,000 more registered Democrats in Florida than Republicans. And we had never in the history of the state had more registered Republicans and registered Democrats,” he continued. “Well, fast-forward four and a half years later, we now have almost 450,000 more registered Republicans than Democrats.”
“And President Reagan was right. The way to garner big support is to govern in bold colors, not with pale pastels. So we did that. And not only did folks in Florida who had usually voted the other way voted for us, we, of course, helped spark a major migration to our state, the likes of which we have never seen,” he said. “And I don’t need to tell you about it in New York because you’ve seen it in New York and Illinois and California, states governed by leftist politicians imposing leftist ideology have driven good, productive people out of their jurisdiction.”
Fox News’ Marta Dhanis and Andrea Vacchiano contributed to this report.