Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is expected to visit a Chicago suburb next week to meet with police officers. The Chicago Fraternal Order of Police Lodge has been publicizing an event in Elmhurst on Monday at an unannounced location. Only law enforcement officers are permitted to attend the event.
According to WGN-TV, the local police union president is not planning the gathering but was urged by DeSantis’ representatives to share the invitation.
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The visit exacerbates DeSantis’s existing rivalry with Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker. DeSantis, according to Pritzker, is dangerous, and his program has no place in Illinois.
“Obviously, he doesn’t represent the ideals of Illinoisans,” Pritzker remarked. “In reality, he is the polar opposite of that. He’s shown that he’s homophobic and has a tendency to support racism.”
Pritzker also urged lawmakers and candidates to oppose DeSantis’ policies.
“Paul Vallas must criticize the FOP for inviting Ron DeSantis, a dangerous and xenophobic authoritarian, to our state,” Chicago Mayoral candidate Chuy Garcia said in a statement on Thursday. “In Florida, Ron DeSantis has banned books, pushed a homophobic and anti-trans agenda, and called our elections into question.”
On Friday, mayoral candidate Paul Vallas, who is sponsored by the Chicago FOP, said he is disappointed in FOP leadership and that a “right-wing extremist” like DeSantis has no place in Chicago.
“DeSantis’ record of attempting to erase the LGBTQ community, banning books on Black history, and much more is not in line with my values, the values of our community, or the values of rank and file police officers who, I believe, have no interest in becoming engulfed in culture wars and national Republican Party politics,” Vallas said in a statement. “I want to establish trust between all of Chicago’s communities and the police by holding everyone accountable, because that is the only way we can make our city safer. The FOP leadership’s action makes that job more difficult.”