Governor Kathy Hochul looked like a bad Borscht-belt comedian while signing a bill related to Holocaust education in schools on Wednesday as she tried to prank the governor’s expense of Florida Ron DeSantis.
“I just want to say to the 1.77 million Jews who live in New York: thank you for calling New York home. Do not go anywhere or in another state. Florida is overrated. I shouldn’t say this, but look at the governor. It starts from the top down,” Hochul said.
“Getting in trouble – gotta stay on script,” the governor quickly added before being forced to abruptly cut to her presentation of Holocaust survivor Celia Kener at the Museum of Jewish Heritage in lower Manhattan.
The impromptu, out-of-left-field partisan attack on his Florida counterpart came as the governor spoke about the virtues of anti-hate initiatives that included enact legislation demanding that the state Department of Education investigate the extent to which schools taught students about the Nazi genocide of six million Jews in Europe between approximately 1939 and 1945.
“The lessons of the Holocaust must be at the heart of our minds today, as we see hatred rising to the surface, unfettered in a way we have never seen before in my life,” said Hochul to reporters while citing statistics showing hundreds of anti-Semitic incidents have occurred in New York this year.
“After a breakup, some people cling to hopes of reconciliation. It’s sad to see governors acting like desperate exes. Maybe they should spend more time relieving their people of oppressive taxes, useless mandates, closed businesses, and crime-infested cities. Florida’s freedom program works — they should try it,” DeSantis campaign spokesman Dave Abrams responded.
“Can Kathy Hochul really be so completely lunched and ignorant of why New York leads the entire nation in population loss? Representative Lee Zeldin (R-Suffolk), the GOP nominee for governor, said in a statement to the Post.
The Florida conservative has drawn the ire of Democrats in the Empire State by highlighting testimonies from former New Yorkers who moved to the Sunshine State in hopes of escaping high taxes and progressive policies inciting crime.
“Hochul’s flippant smugness aside, it’s no joke that people in his state run away from whoever DeSantis leads. Who will have the last laugh?” Peter Warren, research director at the Empire Center for Public Policy, from right, tweeted.
An exodus of New Yorkers to Florida has helped slow New York’s population growth in recent years, leading to the loss of a U.S. House seat after the 2020 census.
Meanwhile, a May 2022 appearance at DeSantis’ museum, organized by advocacy group Tikvah, was canceled following protests over his conservative record as governor.
The museum denied at the time that DeSantis had actually been banned from the premises.
In July, a Holocaust center in Florida condemned the presence of protesters holding Nazi flags and posters with anti-Semitic imagery outside a convention of young conservative activists where former President Donald Trump, DeSantis and several Republican U.S. senators were scheduled to speak.
Florida Holocaust Museum President Mike Igel said the protest posed “a direct threat” to the area’s Jewish community. The museum is based in St. Petersburg across from the Tampa Convention Center, where protesters showed up at the Turning Point USA Student Action Summit convention.
“Carrying the Nazi flag, or that of the SS, the unit responsible for some of the worst atrocities of the Holocaust, is an indefensible act of pure hatred,” Igel said in a statement. “It’s not about politics or religion. It is a question of humanity.
— Additional reporting by Selim Algar