The Washington Examiner reports that Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R), over the weekend, decided not to attend the fundraiser for New York gubernatorial candidate Lee Zeldin (R).
The move initially led to a lot of speculation about why DeSantis pulled out of the event. Katie Vincentz, Zeldin’s spokeswoman, attempted to end the speculation with a statement to the New York Post.
“An unforeseen tragedy forced Governor DeSantis to reschedule his trip to New York,” Vincentz said. “While we’re rescheduling with Governor DeSantis for a later date, tonight’s fundraiser will proceed and is expected to raise almost a million dollars.”
This statement, however, only led to more speculation. That was until DeSantis explained the situation.
The real reason
On Monday, DeSantis’s office explained that DeSantis, instead of attending Zeldin’s fundraiser, decided to attend a service to honor Special Agent Jose Perez.
Zeldin’s fundraiser was on Sunday evening, whereas Perez’s service was on Monday morning. DeSantis couldn’t do both, so he chose the latter, which, as Breitbart News reports, “follows DeSantis’s model of prioritizing the state’s first responders, honoring their work ethic and sacrifice throughout his tenure as governor.”
Perez recently died as the result of a car crash that took place on Aug. 2. Perez managed to hold onto life for over two weeks, but, on the 18th day, Perez succumbed to his injuries.
DeSantis’s office provided more information about Perez’s background, writing:
Special Agent Perez joined the Florida Department of Law Enforcement after retiring as a major from the Miami Police Department in 2018, serving over 26 years. Before serving in law enforcement, Perez served in the United States Marine Corps, the United States Navy, and the United States Army over the course of 21 years. He will be remembered for his dedication to public service as well as his sacrifice for the people of Florida and the United States of America.
DeSantis’s wife, Casey DeSantis, put out a statement on Monday honoring Perez. It read:
Today we mourn the tragic loss of FDLE Special Agent Jose Perez, who died in the line of duty. With over 20 years in the U.S. armed forces & more than 30 years in law enforcement, he lived a valiant life serving our nation & state. The entire @fdlepio community is in our prayers.
DeSantis is expected to make it up to Zeldin in the future.
DeSantis is reportedly planning to return to New York at some point to be part of a future event.
But, it is not yet clear which that event will be.