‘We’re funding the police and then some’: DeSantis praised for $1K bonuses for first responders

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What Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis did on Wednesday has some Republican voters convinced that he “is the future of the Republican Party.”

In a stunning move given the anti-cop climate permeating the country, the governor announced a $1,000 one-time bonus for every single one of the state’s law enforcement officers, paramedics, emergency medical technicians and firefighters.

He made the announcement outside the Satellite Beach Police Department in Brevard County while standing alongside several officers and police chiefs from the area.

Situated in front of them was a podium that read, “Fund the Police.”

In explaining why he’s chosen to bestow bonuses on the law enforcement community, the governor pointed to both what they’ve endured because of the coronavirus pandemic and also the disgraceful treatment they’ve suffered amid all the anti-cop riots in the country.

“When the coronavirus pandemic hit, you had some people … just work on Zoom from their bedroom or from their living room. A lot of them were not even out and about doing stuff. Well, the people that wear the uniform, they didn’t have that luxury, OK. They were out there every single day — our police, our fire, our EMTs. And they had to work more than they ever have,” he said.

“Not just to deal with protecting us when the pandemic hit, but then obviously how police were treated last year in many parts of the country was a total disgrace, and they had to put the uniform on. Yes, they knew that the state of Florida had their back … but if you look at what a lot of these police officers are dealing with now, it’s terrible,” he added.

And so because of all that, the governor continued, “I thought it was important to recognize the service, to recognize the sacrifice, and I asked the legislature in the legislative session we need to do bonuses for law enforcement.”

And since both the Florida House and Florida Senate are controlled by pro-police Republicans, he had no difficulty securing support.

Some want to defund the police; we’re funding the police and then some,” the governor pithily added.

Listen:

(Video: WTSP-TV)

The response to the governor’s announcement has been universally positive.

“A HUGE Thank you to Governor DeSantis for looking out for first responders!” the Florida Police Chiefs Association announced on Twitter.

Speaking alongside the governor at Wednesday’s presser, the association’s president, Satellite Beach Police Chief Jeffrey Pearson, thanked DeSantis for his “unwavering” support of law enforcement.

“With your strong and consistent leadership, law enforcement can count on you … and most importantly, the people of Florida can count on you,” he said.

Also speaking at the presser was Florida state Rep. Randy Fine.

None of the things that we’ve talked about today would have happened without Gov. DeSantis’s leadership. I think he’s proved yet again that he really is America’s best governor,” Fine said.

He further reminded the state’s law enforcement of how much they’re appreciated.

“While we are here to recognize all the first responders with a $1,000 check, I don’t want anyone to think we don’t appreciate every single day what it is you do to keep us safe. We may go and serve in politics from the legislature to do our work for the people, but you actually have our backs every single day, and we’re really grateful to have this small opportunity to repay it to you,” he said.

Listen:

According to Morning Consult, DeSantis is one of the top 10 ranked governors in America. He’s also the crowd favorite when it comes to running in 2024.

An Echelon Insights poll conducted last month found the governor leading the 2024 pack (sans former President Donald Trump) with 17 percent of votes.

Much of his appeal comes not only from his avid support for law enforcement, but also his willingness to stand up against unscientific coronavirus lockdown decrees.

“Over the past year, Mr. DeSantis rejected the advice of most public-health experts and reopened the state’s economy early, resisted mask mandates and other restrictions, and made Florida one of the most permissive settings in the U.S.,” The Wall Street Journal noted last month.

“He received praise from Republicans and scathing criticism from Democrats while sparring regularly with the media—a practice that endeared him to fans and allies of Mr. Trump. Some decisions, such as requiring schools to offer in-person instruction starting last fall, proved popular across a wide political spectrum,” the outlet added.

Many say that he’s a lot like Trump — he even uses the same hand gestures when speaking — except he’s more politically savvy and thus potentially better equipped to handle the obstacles put before him by Democrats.

It’s for this reason — and more — that some say he “is the future of the Republican Party.”

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Vivek Saxena

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