CHICAGO, Ill. (WTVO) — Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) is said to be coming to Illinois next week to speak with police, fueling a feud between DeSantis and Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker.
The Chicago Fraternal Order of Police Lodge has been promoting the event, which will take place in Elmhurst on Monday. The event is only open to law enforcement.
The Chicago Police Union president said he is not organizing the event, but was asked to share the invitation by DeSantis’ representatives.
On Friday, Pritzker called DeSantis “dangerous” and said his agenda has no place in Illinois.
“Well, he doesn’t represent the values of the people of Illinois,” Pritzker said. “In fact, he’s the antithesis of that. He’s demonstrated he’s homophobic and that he’s got tendencies to promote racism.”
Pritzker called on elected officials and candidates to condemn Monday’s event and denounce the values espoused by DeSantis.
DeSantis, a potential 2024 presidential candidate, has emerged as a fierce opponent of what he describes as “woke” policies on race, gender, and public health.
Last year, DeSantis signed a law that forbids instruction on sexual orientation and gender identity in kindergarten through third grade. It was dubbed by left-wing critics as the “Don’t Say Gay” law.
DeSantis and other Republicans have repeatedly said the measure is reasonable and that parents, not teachers, should be broaching subjects of sexual orientation and gender identity with their children. The law went into effect just days after DeSantis signed a separate bill that potentially restricts what books elementary schools can keep in their libraries or use for instruction.
The law states: “Classroom instruction by school personnel or third parties on sexual orientation or gender identity may not occur in kindergarten through grade 3 or in a manner that is not age appropriate or developmentally appropriate for students in accordance with state standards.” Parents would be able to sue districts over violations.
Throughout the debate in Florida’s GOP-controlled statehouse, Democrats have said the law’s language, particularly the phrases “classroom instruction” and “age-appropriate,” could be interpreted so broadly that discussion in any grade could trigger lawsuits and create a classroom atmosphere where teachers would avoid the subjects entirely.
The Walt Disney Company suspended its political donations in the state, and Florida responded by revoking the company’s right to self-governance of its theme park.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.