protestor They held a rally in Elmhurst on Monday to condemn the visit of Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis, who addressed law enforcement.
DeSantis spoke at an invitation-only gathering at the Knights of Columbus Hall, the final three stops in a series of President’s Day “Back the Blue” events that included visits to New York and Philadelphia.
Some protesters said DeSantis, who is considering running for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination, represents the worst part of the Republican Party.
“He’s a symptom of all kinds of problems,” said Sue Sporte, 75, of Oak Park.
“It should be a country that welcomes everyone, and that includes transgender people. It includes gay people,” Sporte said.
She pointed to the policies DeSantis has championed in Florida and the so-called “don’t say gay” laws that ban classroom teaching about sexual orientation and gender identity.
“Illinois is where we say we’re gay. We’re proud of it,” said 16-year-old Eric Willoughby, a junior at Hinsdale Central High School.
Dozens of police lined up on the other side of York Street to stop the demonstrators on the sidewalk. An officer was keeping watch from the top of the hall.
Cynthia Breulin, a friend of Sporte’s, said she had been to several Republican speaker protests and had never seen police presence like this.
“Are they afraid of us?” she asked.
A man was arrested at the rally, according to protest organizer Indivisible Chicago. Elmhurst Police did not immediately confirm details of the incident.
Big names in the state’s Republican politics were seen attending the event, including DuPage County Sheriff James Mendrick and Senator Darren Bailey, who lost the gubernatorial race last year.
“Another day, another fight. We’ll get there,” said Bailey as he entered the venue.
Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 7 President John Catanzara Jr. helped promote DeSantis’ visit said he was out of town and did not attend.
The FOP’s involvement forced Chicago mayoral candidate Paul Vallas, a union-backed former CPS chief, to distance himself from the event. Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s campaign used the opportunity to cast Valas as a closeted Republican.
When DeSantis announced last week that he would be visiting Illinois, elected officials from the deep blue state jumped right in.
“Ron DeSantis’ dangerous and hateful agenda does not exist in Illinois,” Gov. JB Pritzker wrote on Twitter.
Illinois Democratic Rep. Sean Casten, whose constituency covers parts of Elmhurst, posted on Twitter about DeSantis’ visit:
“He came to meet with law enforcement in Chicago and say he has a unique understanding of the matter. I fantasize that I might give him a
Supporters also showed up at DeSantis.
“There are a lot of hateful people out there,” Pete Saverino said of the protesters. He carried a “thin blue line” flag. “We don’t tolerate anything they don’t like,” said the Des Plaines resident.
A local resident stood watching from a distance and said police had been preparing for the event since at least 7 a.m.
“Okay, we’re a wealthy community, but our tax dollars could be spent on other things,” said Joe H.
DeSantis left the back of the venue, climbed into his SUV and waved to the supporters. Supporters cheered, calling him a “future president.”
After the event, DeSantis wrote on twitter He said he “met with men and women from law enforcement to discuss Florida’s commitment to law and order.”
“Awakened policies enacted by left-wing politicians have proven disastrous and these cities need to embrace law and order policies and support the police,” he said.
Trump takes aim at crime in Chicago — again
Meanwhile, former President Donald Trump, who has already announced a 2024 comeback, had DeSantis complaining about his three-state swing to police for what could be a key base vote for him. On the same day, it announced a crime-fighting plan.Trump said it would call for “record investments in hiring, retaining and training police officers.”
After years of attacking Chicago, Trump will target the city again on Monday. He directed the Justice Department to “open civil rights investigations into radical left-wing prosecutors’ offices in Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and elsewhere to determine whether they are unlawfully involved in race-based law enforcement.” I will,’ he said.
https://chicago.suntimes.com/elections/2023/2/20/23607656/ron-desantis-elmhurst-visit-protest Protesters Crash Florida Governor Ron DeSantis’ Visit to Chicago Area