PANAMA CITY, Fla.—Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis criticized Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg for pursuing his criminal investigation against former President Donald Trump for alleged hush money payments to adult performer Stormy Daniels.
He hasn’t received information about any indictment of Trump, who lives in Florida at Mar-a-Lago, he told reporters at a press conference on March 20 at Gulf Coast State College in Panama City, Florida. Rumors have circulated that Trump’s indictment is imminent.
But the governor expressed irritation at being distracted from running the nation’s third-largest state by what he regards as little more than a publicity stunt by a “Soros-funded prosecutor.”
“We are not involved in this. We won’t be involved in this,” DeSantis said. “I have no interest in getting involved in some kind of manufactured circus by a Soros-funded DA. He’s trying to do a political spectacle. He’s trying to virtue signal for his base. I’ve got real issues I’ve got to deal with here in Florida. With so many things in front of the legislature I got to spend my time on issues that actually matter to people. I can’t spend my time worrying about things of that nature. So we’re not going to be involved in it in any way.”
Billionaire financier George Soros, a major donor to progressive political causes, has backed the candidacies of prosecutors in large cities who, upon taking office, have enacted radical law enforcement agendas, often involving refusal to prosecute certain types of crimes or require bail from defendants. One of them, San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin, was recalled by voters after crime rates soared. Another, Los Angeles District Attorney George Gascon, survived a recall attempt.
“I’m just glad that I’m the only governor in the country that’s actually removed one from office.”
DeSantis removed Hillsborough County District Attorney Andrew Warren from office last year for stating he wouldn’t prosecute certain crimes. DeSantis’s action has so far survived a review by a federal judge.
“He is a Soros-funded prosecutor and, like other Soros-funded prosectors, they weaponize their office to impose a political agenda on society at the expense of the rule of law and public safety,” DeSantis said.
“He has downgraded over 50 percent of felonies to misdemeanors. He says he doesn’t want to even have jail time for the vast majority of crimes. And what we’ve seen in Manhattan is, we’ve seen the crime rate go up and we’ve seen citizens become less safe,” DeSantis said.
He ridiculed Bragg for prosecuting Trump over a relatively minor, albeit suggestive, matter.
“You’re paying hush money to a porn star to secure silence over some type of alleged affair—I can’t speak to that. What I can speak to is you have a prosecutor who is ignoring crimes happening every single day in your jurisdictions, and you’re choosing to go back many, many years ago to try to use something about porn star hush money payments. That’s an example of pursuing a political agenda and weaponizing the office. And I think that’s fundamentally wrong.”