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Associated Press

‘Refugees Welcome’ banner unfurled at Statue of Liberty

The National Park Service is trying to figure out who unfurled a giant banner at the Statue of Liberty saying “Refugees Welcome.”

Park Service spokesman Jerry Willis says the 3-by-20-foot banner was hung from the public observation deck at the top of the statue’s pedestal Tuesday afternoon. The banner was taken down more than an hour later.

Willis says regulations prohibit anything fixed to the statue.

The stunt happened the day the Department of Homeland Security announced expanded immigration enforcement policies.

Donald Trump denounces ‘horrible’ threats against Jewish centers

President Donald Trump on Tuesday denounced recent threats against Jewish community centers as “horrible” and “painful.” He said they are a “very sad reminder of the work that still must be done to root out hate and prejudice and evil.”

Trump made the remarks after touring the newly opened National Museum of African American History and Culture.

“This tour was a meaningful reminder of why we have to fight bigotry, intolerance and hatred in all of its very ugly forms,” Trump said.

His comments about recent threats at Jewish community centers across the country marked the first time he had directly addressed a wave of anti-Semitism and followed a more general White House denouncement of “hatred and hate-motivated violence.”

That statement, earlier Tuesday, did not mention the community center incidents or Jews. Trump “has made it abundantly clear that these actions are unacceptable,” that statement said.

The FBI said it is joining with the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division to investigate “possible civil rights violations in connection with threats” to the centers.

On Monday, Trump’s daughter, Ivanka Trump, wrote on Twitter, “We must protect our houses of worship & religious centers,” and used the hashtag #JCC. She converted to Judaism ahead of her 2009 marriage to Jared Kushner. She joined her father at the African American museum tour.

The White House was criticized by Jewish groups after issuing an International Holocaust Remembrance Day statement last month that did not mention Jews.

Republished with permission of The Associated Press.

Donald Trump Month Two: Talks on health care and on tax overhaul

As President Donald Trump begins his second month in office, his team is trying to move past the crush of controversies that overtook his first month and make progress on health care and tax overhauls long sought by Republicans.

Both issues thrust Trump, a real estate executive who has never held elected office, into the unfamiliar world of legislating. The president has thus far relied exclusively on executive powers to muscle through policy priorities and has offered few details about what he’ll require in any final legislative packages, like how the proposals should be paid for. The White House also sent conflicting signals about whether the president will send Congress his own legislative blueprints or let lawmakers drive the process.

White House chief of staff Reince Priebus told The Associated Press that he expects a health care plan to emerge in “the first few days of March.” Pressed on whether the plan would be coming from the White House, Priebus said, “We don’t work in a vacuum.”

On Sunday, White House advisers held a three-hour meeting on health care at Trump’s South Florida club, their third lengthy discussion on the topic in four days. Gary Cohn, the former Goldman Sachs banker now serving as Trump’s top economic adviser, and newly sworn in Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin have been leading talks with Republican lawmakers and business leaders on taxes. Neither man has prior government experience.

Republicans long blamed Democrats for blocking efforts to overhaul the nation’s complicated tax code and make changes to the sweeping 2010 health care law signed by President Barack Obama. But with the GOP now in control of both the White House and Congress, making good on those promises rests almost entirely with the president and his party.

To some Republicans’ chagrin, both issues were overshadowed during Trump’s first month. The president spent more time publicly fighting the media than selling Americans on his vision for a new health care law. Fresh questions emerged about Trump’s ties to Russia, particularly after national security adviser Michael Flynn was fired for misleading the White House about his conversations with a Russian envoy. The White House botched the rollout of a refugee and immigration executive order, Trump’s most substantive policy initiative to date, and the directive was quickly blocked by the courts.

Priebus said the distractions did not slow down work happening behind the scenes on the president’s legislative priorities.

“Obviously with the White House staff, you’re able to walk and chew gum at the same time,” Priebus said. “The economic team isn’t screwing around with the legal case and the lawyers aren’t screwing around with tax reform.”

One of the biggest questions on Capitol Hill is how involved Trump plans to be in legislative minutia. One GOP leadership aide whose office has been working with the White House described the president as a “big picture guy” and said he expected Trump to defer to Capitol Hill on health care in particular. The aide was not authorized to speak publicly and insisted on anonymity.

Priebus said he expects Congress to pass both a tax package and legislation repealing and replacing Obama’s health care law by the end of the year. But the White House’s outward confidence belies major roadblocks on both matters.

After spending years criticizing “Obamacare,” Republicans are grappling with how to replace it and pay for a new law. While some lawmakers worry about getting blamed for taking health insurance away from millions of people, others worry the party won’t go far enough in upending the current system.

“My worry now is that many people are talking about a partial repeal of Obamacare,” Rep. Rand Paul, R-Ky., said. “If you only repeal part of it and you leave it some sort of Obamacare light, which some are talking about, my fear is the situation actually gets worse.”

Trump has said he wants to keep popular provisions like guaranteeing coverage for people with pre-existing medical conditions and allowing young people to stay on their parents’ insurance plans until age 26. He’s also raised the prospect of allowing people to buy insurance across states lines, which is not part of the law.

On taxes, Republicans have a potentially more vexing impasse. House Republicans want to scrap the 35 percent tax on corporate profits, which is riddled with exemptions, deductions and credits, and replace it with a “border adjustment tax.” The system would tax all imports coming into the U.S., but exclude exports from taxation.

House Speaker Paul Ryan‘s office has been vigorously promoting the idea to Trump, who has called the system “too complicated.” Some House aides have privately voiced optimism that the White House is coming around, though Priebus would only say that border adjustment was “an option we’re all discussing and debating.”

The president has said he plans to release a “phenomenal” tax plan in the coming weeks.

Republished with permission of The Associated Press.

Florida looks to expand gun rights in wake of Pulse shooting

Florida Republicans are more determined than ever to pass bills expanding gun rights in the wake of the deadly Pulse nightclub and Fort Lauderdale airport shootings.

They say law-abiding gun owners should be allowed to take their weapons to airports, government meetings and state universities, and would be in a better position to protect themselves and others if a mass shooting should erupt in one of those places.

“Anytime you create a gun-free zone, you essentially are creating a safe haven for mass shooters and the criminal element and you put law-abiding people at a disadvantage,” said Marion Hammer, who has lobbied for the National Rifle Association for more than 42 years.

There are about two dozen gun-related bills filed ahead of next month’s 60-day legislative session and the vast majority would expand gun rights so they can be carried, as one opponent said, “pretty much everywhere.”

“If it’s a reaction to the Pulse shooting and Fort Lauderdale, it’s a very odd reaction,” said Patti Brigham, a vice president at the League of Women Voters of Florida and co-chair of the Florida Coalition to Prevent Gun Violence. “It’s like bad gun bills on steroids.”

While Democrats have responded to the mass shootings by proposing more restrictions, including a ban on assault-style rifles and large capacity ammunition clips, they have virtually no chance of passing while Republicans dominate both legislative chambers.

Democratic Rep. Carlos Guillermo Smith of Orlando, whose bill would ban assault-like rifles, said expanding areas where guns can be carried isn’t the right approach. “Their solution is, ‘We want guns everywhere, all the time, by every person,’ which is not going to address these problems. It’s going to make them worse,” he said.

Republican Rep. Jake Raburn of Valrico said many of this year’s Republican proposals were easily approved in the House last year and will likely pass the chamber again this year. And he sees a better chance that the Senate will pass gun-right expansions, especially since the chamber’s top advocate, Sen. Greg Steube, chairs the Judiciary Committee – the first stop for gun legislation.

Raburn is sponsoring the bill to allow guns at airports, an issue he proposed before the Fort Lauderdale shooting. He said hypothetical arguments against the idea just don’t hold weight, such as police not knowing which person holding a gun is an active shooter and which is a permit holder defending himself.

“Florida is one of only six states that doesn’t already allow that,” he said. “We haven’t seen any of these ‘what if?’ scenarios of law abiding permit holders being a problem in airports.”

The following is a look at gun-related legislation that has been filed by Republicans and Democrats.

Bills filed by Republicans would:

– Allow licensed handgun owners to openly carry their weapons.

– Allow concealed weapons permit holders to carry a gun in non-secure areas of airports.

– Allow concealed weapons permit holders to carry guns at any legislative meeting or committee meeting.

– Allow concealed weapons permit holders to carry guns on state university campuses.

– Allow concealed weapons permit holders to carry guns at county and municipal government meetings.

– Allow concealed weapons permit holders to carry guns at career centers.

– Allow members of the state Cabinet who have concealed weapons permits to carry guns anywhere not prohibited by federal law. Reduce the penalty the violating the current open carry ban from a second-degree misdemeanor punishable by up to 60 days in jail and a $500 fine to a non-criminal civil fine of $25.

– Holds business owners who ban guns from their property liable for injuries suffered by a concealed weapon permit holder who is attacked

– Allows concealed weapons permit holders to bring guns to courthouses and temporarily surrender them to security. The courts must keep the weapons in locked storage space.

– Expand the “stand your ground” to give more protection to people using the self-defense claim by placing the burden of proof on prosecutors to prove people charged with assaulting or killing someone else wasn’t acting in self-defense.

– Place on the November ballot a measure asking voters to exempt law enforcement officers from the 72-hour waiting period to buy personal handguns.

Bills filed by Democrats would:

– Ban semi-automatic assault-type rifles like AR-15s and AK-47 and detachable ammunition magazines that hold more than 7 rounds.

– Bans guns at performance arts centers and theaters.

– Removes exceptions to a law requiring guns in homes occupied by minors be stored in locked boxes or with trigger locks.

– Increases the penalties for displaying concealed weapons in a threatening manner on or near school properties or activities from a third-degree felony to a second-degree felony. Increases penalties for people who fail to store a gun in a way to prevent access by minors.

Republished with permission of The Associated Press.

Thousands of demonstrators across U.S. say ‘Not My President’

Thousands of demonstrators turned out Monday across the U.S. to challenge Donald Trump in a Presidents Day protest dubbed Not My President’s Day.

The events on the federal holiday didn’t draw nearly as many people as the million-plus who thronged the streets following the Republican president’s inauguration a month earlier, but the message was similar.

Thousands of flag-waving protesters lined up outside Central Park in Manhattan. Many in the crowd chanted “No ban, no wall. The Trump regime has got to fall.” They held aloft signs saying “Uphold the Constitution Now” and “Impeach the Liar.”

A rally in downtown Los Angeles also drew thousands. Demonstrators there called attention to Trump’s crackdown on immigration and his party’s response to climate change and the environment. Organizers said they chose to rally on the holiday as a way to honor past presidents by exercising their constitutional right to assemble and peacefully protest.

In Chicago, several hundred rallied across the river from the Trump Tower, shouting “Hey, hey, ho, ho, Donald Trump has got to go.”

Rebecca Wolfram of Chicago, who’s in her 60s, said concerns about climate change and immigrant rights under Trump prompted her to start attending rallies.

“I’m trying to demonstrate as much as possible until I figure out what else to do,” said Wolfram, who held a sign that said “Old white ladies are really displeased.”

Several hundred demonstrated in Washington, D.C. Dozens gathered around the fountain in Dupont Circle chanting “Dump Trump” and “Love, not hate: That’s what makes America great.”

Dozens marched through midtown Atlanta for a rally named with a Georgia flavor: “ImPEACH NOW! (Not My) President’s Day March.”

Hundreds of protesters chanting “This is what democracy looks like” marched through Salt Lake City.

The Salt Lake Tribune reports that the crowd marched to push back against Trump and his administration’s stance on such issues as the environment, immigration, free speech and Russia.

Some people raised signs that said “Not My President,” while others held up a large American flag. Protester Reg Brookings warned the crowd that Trump is trying to divide the country by making such groups as immigrants the enemy.

A small but unruly group of protesters faced off with police in downtown Portland, Oregon.

The Oregonian/OregonLive reports the police confronted the crowd in front of the Edith Green-Wendell Wyatt Federal Building. Police took some people into custody.

Hundreds of Trump opponents and supporters turned out in Rapid City, South Dakota.

A larger anti-Trump faction stood on a street corner as part of a “Not My President” protest, similar to other demonstrations being held across the country. A group supporting the president lined up on a different corner at the same intersection.

Republished with permission of The Associated Press.

Donald Trump taps military strategist as national security adviser

President Donald Trump has tapped Army Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster, a prominent military strategist known as a creative thinker, as his new national security adviser, replacing the ousted Michael Flynn.

Trump announced the pick Monday at his Palm Beach, Florida, club and said McMaster is “a man of tremendous talent and tremendous experience.”

The president’s choice further elevated the influence of military officers in the new administration. Trump, who has no military or foreign policy experience, has shown a strong preference for putting generals in top roles. In this case, he tapped an active-duty officer for a post that’s sometimes used as a counterweight to the Pentagon. McMaster, who wore his uniform for the announcement, joins Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly, both retired generals, in Trump’s inner circle of national security advisers. The White House said Monday McMaster plans to remain on active military duty.

He will take on the challenge of leading a National Security Council that has not adjusted smoothly to Trump’s leadership. The president suggested he does not trust holdovers from the Obama administration and complained about leaks to reporters. His decision to put his top political adviser on the senior committee of the National Security Council drew sharp criticism. On Friday, the head of the council’s Western Hemisphere division was fired after he criticized Trump’s policies and his inner circle of advisers.

Trump said Monday that retired Army Lt. Gen. Keith Kellogg, who had been his acting adviser, will now serve as the National Security Council chief of staff. He also said he would be asking John Bolton, a former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, to work with them in a “somewhat different capacity.”

McMaster is viewed as soldier-scholar and creative thinker. He has a doctoral degree in history from the University of North Carolina and has been heavily involved in the Army’s efforts to shape its future force and its way of preparing for war. He is currently the director of the Army Capabilities Integration Center, a sort of military think tank, at Fort Eustis, Virginia.

Outside of the Army, he may be best known for his 1997 book, “Dereliction of Duty,” a searing indictment of the U.S. government’s mishandling of the Vietnam War and an analysis of what he called the “lies that led to Vietnam.” The book earned him a reputation for being willing to speak truth to power.

McMaster commanded troops in both American wars in Iraq — in 1991, when he fought in a storied tank battle known as the Battle for 73 Easting, and again in 2005-2006 in one of the most violent periods of the insurgency that developed after the U.S.-led invasion in 2003. He is credited with using innovative approaches to countering the insurgency in the northern Iraqi city of Tal Afar when he commanded the 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment. He later served as a special adviser to the top U.S. commander in Iraq.

McMaster was Trump’s second choice to replace Flynn, who has been under FBI investigation for his contacts with Russian officials. Trump dismissed Flynn last week after revelations that the adviser had misled Vice President Mike Pence about the nature of his discussion with Russia’s ambassador to the U.S. during the presidential transition. Trump said in a news conference Thursday that he was disappointed by how Flynn had treated Pence, but did not believe Flynn had done anything wrong by having the conversations.

Trump’s first choice to replace Flynn, retired Vice Adm. Robert Harward, turned down the offer.

Trump announced his choice sitting between McMaster and Kellogg in a luxurious living room at the resort property. The president told reporters that Vice President Mike Pence had been involved in the process, but he did not elaborate.

Trump brought four candidates for the position to Mar-a-Lago over the weekend for in-person interviews, McMaster among them. McMaster called the appointment a “privilege.”

It was not clear how closely McMaster’s and Trump’s views align. On Russia, McMaster appears to hold a much dimmer view than Trump of Moscow’s military and political objectives in Europe.

In remarks at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in May 2016, McMaster said Russia managed to annex Crimea and intervene militarily in eastern Ukraine “at zero cost” from the international community.

McMaster said Moscow’s broader goal is to “collapse the post-Cold War security, economic and political order in Europe and replace that order with something that is more sympathetic to Russian interests.”

In his current role, McMaster has been studying the way Russia developed and executed its campaigns in Crimea and Ukraine, where it used what some call “hybrid warfare” — part political, part disinformation, part military.

Sen. John McCain, an increasingly vocal Trump critic, called McMaster an “outstanding” choice.

“He is a man of genuine intellect, character, and ability. He knows how to succeed,” he said in a statement. “I give President Trump great credit for this decision, as well as his national security cabinet choices.”

The position of national security adviser does not require Senate confirmation.

Republished with permission of The Associated Press.

 

Florida prosecutors can seek death penalty despite questions

Florida prosecutors can seek the death penalty in ongoing cases despite a state Supreme Court ruling that found a new death penalty law unconstitutional.

The court ruled Monday that the death penalty can be applied as long as there is a unanimous jury recommendation.

It ruled last October that a new state law requiring at least a 10-2 jury recommendation is unconstitutional.

But Monday justices said other aspects of the law are constitutional and prosecutors can proceed in capital punishment cases.

Prosecutors had been in limbo wondering whether the death penalty could be applied. Attorney General Pam Bondi asked the court to clarify.

The court released an opinion last month saying the death penalty couldn’t be applied in pending cases, but then withdrew the opinion hours later.

Mike Pence tries to reassure anxious Europeans on U.S. support

U.S. Vice President Mike Pence moved Monday to assuage European Union fears about the strength of Washington’s support for the union and its commitment to European security through the NATO military alliance.

During meetings in Brussels, Pence said he was acting on behalf of President Donald Trump “to express the strong commitment of the United States to continued cooperation and partnership with the European Union.”

“Whatever our differences, our two continents share the same heritage, the same values and above all the same purpose: to promote peace and prosperity through freedom, democracy and the rule of law,” he told reporters after talks with EU Council President Donald Tusk.

Trump’s benevolence toward Russian President Vladimir Putin and campaign rhetoric that included branding NATO obsolete and vowing to undo a series of multinational trade deals has sparked anxiety in Europe. Trump was also supportive of Britain’s vote last year to leave the 28-nation EU, a withdrawal known as Brexit. And he has suggested that the EU itself could soon fall apart.

Tusk, who chairs meetings of EU leaders, said he had been reassured after “open and frank talks” with Pence, but made clear that the bloc would watch closely to ensure the U.S. acts on its words of support.

“I heard words which are promising for the future, words which explain a lot about the new approach in Washington,” Tusk said.

He underlined that “too many new and sometimes surprising opinions have been voiced over this time about our relations — and our common security — for us to pretend that everything is as it used to be.”

“We are counting, as always in the past, on the United States’ wholehearted and unequivocal — let me repeat, unequivocal — support for the idea of a united Europe,” Tusk said. “The world would be a decidedly worse place if Europe were not united.”

He asserted: “The idea of NATO is not obsolete, just like the values which lie at its foundation are not obsolete.”

Tusk added, “Both Europeans and Americans must simply practice what they preach.”

After talks with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg across town, Pence reiterated the administration’s strong support for the alliance, but warned that Trump wants to see “real progress” by the end of the year on boosting defense spending.

NATO leaders agreed in 2014 that alliance members needed to start spending at least 2 percent of their gross domestic product by 2024. Only five nations currently do so: the United States, Britain, Poland, Estonia and Greece.

“The truth is many others, including some of our largest allies, still lack a clear and credible path to meet this minimum goal,” Pence said.

Asked what the administration would do if allies failed to meet the defense spending target, Pence said, “I don’t know what the answer is to ‘or else,’ but I know that the patience of the American people will not endure forever.”

Pence’s meetings in Brussels were aimed at assuring European leaders that his words reflected the views of Trump and would not easily be swept away at the whim of the U.S. president or undermined by statements issued on Twitter.

Pence, as he did in an address Saturday at the Munich Security Conference, also said Trump would demand that Russia honor its commitments to end the fighting in Ukraine.

“In the interest of peace and in the interest of innocent human lives, we hope and pray that this cease-fire takes hold,” he said.

The vice president also noted the “heartbreaking” suicide bombings at the Brussels airport and subway system in March 2016, and said the U.S. would continue to collaborate with EU partners to address safety and combat terrorism.

“The United States’ commitment to the European Union is steadfast and enduring,” he said.

Republished with permission of The Associated Press.

Donald Trump embraces legacy of Andrew Jackson

It was an ugly, highly personal presidential election.

An unvarnished celebrity outsider who pledged to represent the forgotten laborer took on an intellectual member of the Washington establishment looking to extend a political dynasty in the White House.

Andrew Jackson‘s triumph in 1828 over President John Quincy Adams bears striking similarities to Donald Trump‘s victory over Hillary Clinton last year, and some of those most eager to point that out are in the Trump White House.

Trump’s team has seized upon the parallels between the current president and the long-dead Tennessee war hero. Trump has hung a portrait of Jackson in the Oval Office and Trump’s chief strategist, Stephen Bannon, who has pushed the comparison, told reporters after Trump’s inaugural address that “I don’t think we’ve had a speech like that since Andrew Jackson came to the White House.”

Trump himself mused during his first days in Washington that “there hasn’t been anything like this since Andrew Jackson.”

It’s a remarkable moment of rehabilitation for a figure whose populist credentials and anti-establishment streak has been tempered by harsher elements of his legacy, chiefly his forced removal of Native Americans that caused disease and the death of thousands.

“Both were elected presidents as a national celebrity; Jackson due to prowess on battlefield and Trump from making billions in his business empire,” said Douglas Brinkley, a professor of history at Rice University. “And it’s a conscious move for Trump to embrace Jackson. In American political lore, Jackson represents the forgotten rural America while Trump won by bringing out that rural vote and the blue collar vote.”

The seventh president, known as “Old Hickory” for his toughness on the battlefield, gained fame when he led American forces to a victory in the Battle of New Orleans in the final throes of the War of 1812. He did serve a term representing Tennessee in the Senate, but he has long been imagined as a rough and tumble American folk hero, an anti-intellectual who believed in settling scores against political opponents and even killed a man in a duel for insulting the honor of Jackson’s wife.

Jackson also raged against what he deemed “a corrupt bargain” that prevented him from winning the 1824 election against Adams when the race was thrown to the House of Representatives after no candidate received a majority in the Electoral College. Even before the vote in November, Trump railed against a “rigged” election and has repeatedly asserted, without evidence, widespread voter fraud prevented his own popular vote triumph.

Jackson’s ascension came at a time when the right to vote was expanded to all white men — and not just property-owners — and he fashioned himself into a populist, bringing new groups of voters into the electoral system. Remarkably, the popular vote tripled between Jackson’s loss in 1824 and his victory four years later, and he used the nation’s growing newspaper industry — like Trump on social media — to spread his message.

Many of those new voters descended on Washington for Jackson’s 1829 inauguration and the crowd of thousands that mobbed the Capitol and the White House forced Jackson to spend his first night as president in a hotel.

Once in office, he continued his crusade as a champion for the common man by opposing the Second Bank of the United States, which he declared to be a symptom of a political system that favored the rich and ignored “the humble members of society — the farmers, mechanics, and laborers — who have neither the time nor the means of securing like favors to themselves.”

Jackson, as Trump hopes to do, expanded the powers of the presidency, and a new political party, the new Democratic party, coalesced around him in the 1820s. He was the first non-Virginia wealthy farmer or member of the Adams dynasty in Massachusetts to be elected president.

“The American public wanted a different kind of president. And there’s no question Donald Trump is a different kind of president,” Sen. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said this past week. “He’s now comparing himself to Andrew Jackson. I think it’s a pretty good, a pretty good comparison. That’s how big a change Jackson was from the Virginia and Massachusetts gentlemen who had been president of the United States for the first 40 years.”

But there are also limits to the comparison, historians say.

Unlike Jackson, who won in 1828 in a landslide, Trump lost the popular vote by nearly 3 million ballots. Jon Meacham, who wrote a 2008 biography of Jackson, “American Lion,” said Jackson was “an outsider in style but not in substance” and his outlandish public pronouncements would often be followed by hours of deep conversations and letter-writing hashing out political calculations.

“He was a wild man during the day but a careful diplomat at night,” said Meacham, who said it was too early to know whether Trump, like Jackson, “had a strategy behind his theatrics,” and whether Trump had the ability to harness the wave of populism that has swept the globe as it did in the 1820s.

“The moment is Jacksoninan but do we have a Jackson in the Oval Office?” Meacham asked.

Trump’s appropriation of Jackson came after his victory. Trump never mentioned Jackson during the campaign or discussed Jackson during a series of conversations with Meacham last spring

But it is hardly unique for a president to adopt a previous one as a historical role model.

Barack Obama frequently invoked Abraham Lincoln. Dwight Eisenhower venerated George Washington. Jackson himself had been claimed by Franklin Roosevelt and his successor, Harry Truman, both of whom — unlike Trump — interpreted Jackson’s populism as a call for expanded government, in part to help the working class.

There could be other comparisons for Trump. A favorable one would be Eisenhower, also a nonpolitician who governed like a hands-off CEO. A less favorable one would be Andrew Johnson, a tool of his party whose erratic behavior helped bring about his impeachment.

Trump’s embrace could signal an about-face for Jackson’s legacy. Historians have recently soured on the slave-owning president whose Indian Removal Act of 1830 commissioned the forced removal of Native Americans from their ancestral homelands in the southeastern United States. More than 4,000 died along their journey west, a brutal march that became known as the “Trail of Tears.”

Jackson’s standing had fallen so much that in 2015, when the U.S. Treasury announced plans to replace Alexander Hamilton on the $10 bill with Harriet S. Tubman, the outcry in defense of the Founding Father — in part due to the success of the Broadway musical that tells his story — was so loud that the government changed course and opted to remove Jackson from the $20 instead.

Republished with permission of The Associated Press.

Donald Trump’s Florida visits puts small airport in tailspin

President Donald Trump wants small businesses to thrive, but his frequent Mar-a-Lago visits have flight schools and other companies at a nearby airport in a financial nosedive.

The Secret Service closed Lantana Airport on Friday for the third straight weekend because of the president’s return to his Palm Beach resort, meaning its maintenance companies, a banner-flying business and another two dozen businesses are also shuttered, costing them thousands of dollars at the year’s busiest time. The banner-flying company says it has lost more than $40,000 in contracts already.

The airport, which handles only small, propeller-driven planes and helicopters, is about 6 miles southwest of Mar-a-Lago, well within the 10-mile circle around the resort that’s closed to most private planes when he’s in town. Trump flies into Palm Beach International Airport, which is 2.5 miles from Mar-a-Lago, and remains opens as it handles commercial flights. Small private planes can also use that airport during presidential visits if they meet certain stringent conditions.

The Lantana owners are pushing compromises they say will ensure Trump’s security while keeping their businesses open. They involve letting pilots fly in a closely monitored corridor headed away from the resort until they are outside a 10-mile ban around Mar-a-Lago and a 30-mile zone where flying lessons are restricted. Pilots, planes and cargo would undergo preflight screening by Transportation Security Administration agents.

“None of us are suggesting that we shouldn’t do everything to keep the president safe but we believe there are things that can be done to keep us in operation,” said Jonathan Miller, the contractor who operates the Palm Beach County-owned airport.

The airport and its 28 businesses have an economic impact of about $27 million annually and employ about 200 people full-time, many of them making about $30,000 a year. They don’t get paid when the airport is closed.

Miller is already losing a helicopter company, which is moving rather than deal with the closures. That will cost him $440,000 in annual rent and fuel sales.

White House spokeswoman Stephanie Grisham directed questions to the Secret Service. The agency also declined comment. Flight restrictions have long been standard around buildings where a president is staying to protect him from an airborne attack.

U.S. Rep. Lois Frankel, a Democrat who represents the area, met with the business owners this week. She said she will meet with the Secret Service next week to see if a compromise can be reached.

Lantana Airport opened in 1941 as a Civil Air Patrol station, with planes flying along the coast during World War II to spot German submarines attempting to sink cargo ships. Today, the 300-acre, three-runway facility handles an average of 350 arrivals and departures daily, peaking on winter weekends as tourists enjoy South Florida’s temperate weather. Summer, with its stifling, visitor-repelling heat and the constant threat of plane-grounding thunderstorms, is not nearly as lucrative.

Marian Smith, owner of Palm Beach Flight Training, said her 19-year-old business is losing 24 flights daily when closed and three students cancelled. She lost $28,000 combined the last two weekends and will lose $18,000 on this President’s Day weekend. She estimates her 19 instructors are each losing up to $750 a weekend.

“What’s frustrating is that we get little notice when this is going to happen,” she said.

This week, rumors began Monday. The closure notice arrived Wednesday.

David Johnson, owner of Palm Beach Aircraft Services, said his 27-year-old repair and maintenance business generates $2 million in sales annually, but has taken a hit over the last month and he fears it will cascade if flight schools like Smith’s close. He has written a letter he hopes gets delivered to Trump this weekend asking him, one businessman to another, to help resolve the conflict.

“Even if the TSA had to screen every pilot going out of here, we would be open to that,” Johnson said. “But so far, we’ve gotten nothing.”

Jorge Gonzalez, owner of SkyWords Advertising, a banner towing service, said his company lost four contracts totaling $42,500 because of Trump’s visits. He wants exceptions made for three pilots to fly within the restricted zone when the president visits because it is where thousands of residents live and tourists stay.

“We have spent 10 years building this business,” said Gonzalez’s wife, Hadley Doyle-Gonzalez. “We just can’t pick up and move.”

Republished with permission of The Associated Press.

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