Florida Gov. DeSantis cancels New York fundraising appearance over ‘unforeseen tragedy’ – funeral for fallen FDLE officer

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) was scheduled to appear at a fundraiser Sunday evening in New York in support of Rep. Lee Zeldin’s (R-NY) gubernatorial campaign, but had to cancel that appearance at the last moment due to an “unforeseen tragedy,” the Conservative Brief reported.

Subsequent reports have since revealed that the tragedy that compelled DeSantis to not attend the fundraiser for Zeldin was his decision to attend the funeral of a Florida Department of Law Enforcement officer who had died from injuries sustained earlier in the line of duty.

Fundraiser appearance canceled over “unforeseen tragedy”

The New York Post reported Sunday night that Gov. DeSantis had withdrawn from his scheduled appearance that evening at a $25,000-per plate fundraising dinner for Rep. Zeldin’s gubernatorial campaign against incumbent New York Gov. Kathy Hochul (D).

A spokeswoman for Zeldin, Katie Vincentz, told the Post without elaboration, “An unforeseen tragedy forced Governor DeSantis to reschedule his trip to New York.”

“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,” she added.

The appearance had been hyped in part due to DeSantis’ growing popularity among the GOP base as well as the likely fireworks that would erupt as the Florida governor responded to recent rhetorical attacks launched against him by Hochul.

Funeral more important than fundraising appearance

While the spokeswoman for Zeldin’s campaign had not elaborated on what, exactly, the “unforeseen tragedy” was that prompted DeSantis to cancel his scheduled appearance, Politico reported on Monday that it was due to the Florida governor’s decision to instead attend the funeral for FDLE Special Agent Jose Perez.

Perez had suffered grievous injuries in a car accident 18 days earlier while in pursuit of another driver who was also involved in that crash and was charged with DUI manslaughter after the fact.

The campaign for DeSantis declined to provide any further specifics but did confirm that the governor had decided to attend the funeral for Perez in Miami on Monday morning instead of traveling to New York for the fundraiser in support of Zeldin on Sunday night.

Casey DeSantis highlights fallen officer

The report was further confirmed by a tweet from Florida first lady Casey DeSantis on Monday, who wrote, “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.”

To be sure, New York’s Zeldin could certainly use the assistance that a campaign appearance by Florida’s DeSantis would bring, but he especially would understand his former congressional colleagues and potential future gubernatorial counterpart’s prioritizing of the funeral for a fallen officer over a campaign fundraising speech.

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