Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis brings book tour to Long Island as Trump backers protest

Kristin Thorne Image
Sunday, April 2, 2023
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis brings book tour to Long Island as Trump backers protest
The event may have been for Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, but Trump supporters saw it as an opportunity for them as well. Kristin Thorne has more from Garden City.

GARDEN CITY, Long Island (WABC) -- Hundreds of people attended a book signing event with Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis on Long Island Saturday, as Trump supporters showed up to protest DeSantis.

DeSantis promoted his book, "The Courage to be Free: Florida's Blueprint for America's Revival," at the Cradle of Aviation Museum in Garden City.

People who wanted to see him lined up outside the museum up to three hours before the book signing event.

"I'm all excited to see DeSantis," Helen Meittinis, of Salisbury, said. "I think that he's a guy who can set our country straight."

Rob Anderson, of Amityville, said he's hoping DeSantis will run for president.

"He's got strong values that I think the country needs and I don't think he's afraid of the other side," he said.

Dozens of Trump supporters showed up as well to protest DeSantis' appearance on Long Island.

"Go home, DeSantis, go home," a Trump supporter shouted at the line of people waiting to get into the DeSantis event.

Paul Ingrassia said DeSantis is sowing division within the Republican Party.

"He should be endorsing President Trump," Ingrassia said.

Trump supporters said they also attended the event to show their support for former president after his indictment.

"I wasn't shocked, but it's not going to go anywhere because he's innocent," Joanne Wong, of Hicksville, said.

Security was high at the museum as Nassau County police officers sought to keep Trump supporters separated from those there to see DeSantis.

Nassau County Executive Bruce Blakeman spoke to the crowd at the museum before DeSantis took to the podium.

"We want you to give him such an applause," Blakeman said to the crowd. "God bless Governor DeSantis."

Long Island Republican Congressman Lee Zeldin (R-Shirley) also spoke prior to DeSantis. He called DeSantis the greatest governor in America. Zeldin also accompanied DeSantis to a book signing event earlier in the day in Pennsylvania.

"New York leads the nation in out migration," he said. "Florida is seeing people coming in in droves, why is that? When people look at a state like Florida, they know that their money is going to go further."

DeSantis spent nearly an hour speaking to the cheering crowd. He spoke about his fiscal discipline and what is driving people to come to Florida, which DeSantis said is the fastest-growing state in the country.

"Bold leadership is rewarded," he said. "The free state of Florida is really the promised land for people."

DeSantis discussed the indictment against Trump, although he did not mention Trump by name.

He called Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg a menace to society.

"This guy is doing politics," he said. "He has an agenda that is not the rule of law."

The crowd responded with a standing ovation.

DeSantis also spoke about the Covid pandemic and Dr. Anthony Fauci.

"A lot of the stuff that was done was not done to protect your health," he said. "It was done to control your behavior."

DeSantis talked about how Florida has banned the Covid vaccine for school children and vaccine passports.

He also spoke about border security and illegal immigration. DeSantis said he would be willing to send crews to the border to build a wall.

He also took jabs at President Joe Biden.

"Our President Joe Biden is weak," he said. "He's being controlled by these leftist elements."

Several Trump supporters jeered DeSantis from a balcony as DeSantis spoke. Another Trump supporter screamed "Trump" repeatedly before being escorted out of the building.

ALSO READ | What does indictment mean for Trump?

What is an indictment, and what does an indictment mean for former President Donald Trump?


* More Long Island news

* Send us a news tip

* Download the abc7NY app for breaking news alerts

* Follow us on YouTube

Submit a tip or story idea to Eyewitness News

Have a breaking news tip or an idea for a story we should cover? Send it to Eyewitness News using the form below. If attaching a video or photo, terms of use apply.