Donald Trump – Page 8 – Florida Politics

Carlos Curbelo on Donald Trump travel ban: ‘Discontinue this misguided policy’

After the Supreme Court today upheld Donald Trump’s controversial travel ban targeting seven countries, South Florida Congressman Carlos Curbelo condemned the practice, urging the president to “discontinue this misguided policy.”

The version of the ban before the Supreme Court was the third of its kind after previous versions of the ban were struck down by lower courts. This latest variant restricted travel from Iran, Libya, North Korea, Somalia, Syria, Venezuela and Yemen.

Critics argued the ban was a form of religious discrimination, as most of the countries on the banned list were majority-Muslim nations.

Many also cited Trump’s statements throughout the 2016 campaign, signaling a desire for a “total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States.” They argued those statements showed that an animus toward Muslims was motivating the travel ban, rather than a desire for increased national security.

Chief Justice John Roberts addressed those concerns in his opinion, stating: “We must consider not only the statements of a particular president, but also the authority of the presidency itself.”

The 5-4 majority held that it is within the president’s power to restrict the flow of immigration from certain countries and that prior political statements do not negate that power when an Executive Order is neutral on its face.

The text of the order did not mention the words “Islam” or “Muslim.” Instead, it focused on the countries’ abilities to provide documentation that would allow proper vetting of those traveling to the U.S.

Importantly, what the Supreme Court was not doing was expressing any opinion on whether the ban was a good idea or not. “We express no view on the soundness of the policy,” Roberts said in the majority opinion.

Curbelo made clear that he finds the policy to be unsound.

“The United States is and has always been a generous nation when it comes to welcoming those who seek refuge and want to contribute to society,” Curbelo wrote in a statement following the ruling.

“While we should demand a strong vetting process and orderly, lawful entry, we must not summarily reject an entire region of the world, and we should never use any religious test. I urge the administration to discontinue this misguided policy and instead take action to continue our tradition of welcoming those who are persecuted.”

That is a sharp rebuke from a member of the president’s own party. But it appears unlikely that Trump will heed that message.


Last week, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that police generally need a search warrant if they want to track criminal suspects’ movements by collecting information about where they’ve used their cellphones.

Republican state Sen. Jeff Brandes may not have been the first Florida lawmaker to raise concerns about that issue, but he has probably been the loudest.

In 2013, in the face of staunch opposition from law enforcement, he sponsored legislation that would have prevented warrantless cellphone searches.

Privacy in an age of boundless technological innovation is one of a barrage of issues of which Brandes is on the forefront:

— He was talking about ride-sharing before many of his colleagues knew how to pronounce Uber.

— He’s the lawmaker who paved the way for autonomous vehicle testing in Florida.

— He’s been one of the leading proponents in the Senate for the expansion of medical marijuana and the reforming of the criminal justice system.

It’s on issues like those last two which have often left Brandes with fewer allies than he would like. Then again, PolitiFact in 2011 described him as the most independent member of the Florida Legislature, at least if you go by the voting records.

Because of his forward-thinking (among several other reasons), I’ve been proud – no, make that excited – to work for Brandes’ political operation. I broke with many other progressives to support his insurgent bid in 2010 against Democrat Bill Heller, himself a good man and thoughtful lawmaker.

This November, Brandes faces a challenge from a very intelligent, exceedingly friendly challenger, Carrie Pilon, whom I’ve known since she was the president of our high school’s student government. The voters of Senate District 24 are genuinely blessed to have two competent candidates.

In any other election cycle, Team Brandes would not be very worried by the threat posed by Pilon. She’s a first-time candidate with probably a tenth of the resources Brandes has to run his campaign.

Just as he did against another smart, capable Democrat (Judithanne McLaughlin), Brandes would simply overwhelm her in a district that leans ever so slightly to the right.

But this is no ordinary election cycle. In fact, it has the possibility to be the most extraordinary non-presidential election cycle of the last 30 years. That’s because it is, simply, the Cycle of Trump.

Since Trump was elected in 2016, there has been one election after another won by Florida Democrats. If you need evidence that a blue wave is forming in Florida politics, look no further than last week. That’s when a white Democrat defeated a Cuban Republican for the Miami-Dade County Commission seat that represents – wait for it – Little Havana.

Unfortunately, if a blue wave does sweep through Florida politics, it will wipe away sensible Republicans like Brandes, U.S. Rep. Carlos Curbelo, and/or state Sen. Dana Young.

What a blue wave is unlikely to do is take out the far-right, fire-breathing Republicans who have transformed the GOP into a party that looks nothing like ‘the party of Lincoln.’

Meanwhile, moderating forces of the Republican Party are heading for the hills.

Last week, the brilliant strategist Steve Schmidt announced he is becoming an independent and is urging others to vote Democrat.

Also conservative columnist George Will suggested that voters should punish Paul Ryan‘s colleagues in the U.S. House by giving control to the Democrats.

I am a registered Republican. Not because of philosophy but because, in Pinellas County, Florida, the only real action in the primaries has been on the GOP side. Democrats have been unable to slate an entire ballot much less recruit enough candidates to enjoy competitive primaries.

For the last ten years, I’ve waged war for Brandes and many, many others against the forces of the far-right. At some point or another, we all delude ourselves into believing we are Robert Jordan.

If there were any time to leave the Republican Party, now — in this era of Trump — now would be the time. Most people probably assume I’m a Democrat anyway.

But I ain’t leavin’.

If there ever were a time for common-sense Republicans to fight for the soul of their party, it’s now. Don’t just abandon it to the #MAGA crowd.

That’s why it’s critical to support Republicans who 1) genuinely believe in limited government, and 2) are running in vulnerable seats susceptible to the blue wave.

A vote for Curbelo or Mario Diaz-Balart or Brandes or Rob Bradley or dozens of other main street Republicans is not a vote for or against Donald Trump. It’s a vote to make sure there’s still a party left after he’s long gone.

New Matt Haggman ad features wife: ‘Trump is destroying families’

A new ad from Democratic congressional candidate Matt Haggman is once again going after the Donald Trump administration over its immigration policies.

This time, however, Haggman is using his wife Danet Linares, whose family migrated from Cuba through the Freedom Tower.

In the ad, which is set to air on English TV stations, Linares speaks in Spanish critiquing Trump’s now-reversed policy to separate migrant children from their families when the parents have been charged with entering the country illegally.

Linares says, “My parents arrived from Cuba on the Freedom Flights. My family is everything to me. Trump is destroying families. In Congress, my husband Matt will do everything possible to eliminate ICE.” The ad will run with English subtitles.

Haggman, who is running in Florida’s 27th Congressional District, recently called for the abolishment of ICE in light of Trump’s push for harsher immigration enforcement. He continued those calls in a statement on the ad’s release.

“ICE needs to be disbanded and Trump’s hateful rhetoric needs to be rejected,” said Haggman. “This bilingual ad drives home the point that every community in South Florida has a stake in this election.”

He argues abolishing ICE is just one piece of the puzzle in solving the country’s immigration problems.

“I believe in the need for comprehensive immigration reform — including a pathway to citizenship, permanent solutions for DACA and TPS recipients, and a streamlined visa process. Abolishing ICE must be a part of that larger picture. Our goal must be to create an immigration system that treats immigrants as human beings and renders ICE unnecessary.”

Haggman also highlighted his wife’s motivations for speaking out against Trump, noting her family’s history.

“My wife Danet’s family came from Cuba through the Freedom Tower in 1966, fleeing the tyranny of the Castros and looking for a better life. They found a country that welcomed them with open arms and gave them a shot.

“That’s the America we need to get back to being.”

Carlos Curbelo: Migrant children housed in Cutler Bay are ‘happy’

A trio of Florida congressmen toured a migrant housing facility in Cutler Bay Monday, with Rep. Carlos Curbelo noting the children appeared to be treated “exceptionally well” and “were smiling, they were happy.” That’s according to a report from The Associated Press.

Curbelo was joined by fellow Republican Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen. The visit to Catholic Charities Boystown was bipartisan, however, as Democratic Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz also attended.

About 70 children are being housed at the facility. Curbelo says 22 of those children have been separated from their parents.

According to the AP, Curbelo said the center is “doing a good job” of caring for those separated children.

But he also made clear in comments to CBSMiami that he opposes the overall practice, and is looking for a legislative fix to stop it in the future.

“We want to end this policy permanently,” said Curbelo. “For that, we need legislative action. We need changes in the law so that this situation never happens again in our country.”

President Donald Trump‘s administration instituted the policy but was forced to change course via an Executive Order last week after members of both parties harshly condemned the separation of children from their parents. Polls showed a majority of voters were also against the practice.

Trump administration officials were contradictory over the aim of the practice. Multiple officials said they hoped the separation of children would deter parents from trying to enter the country illegally. Others denied the policy even existed.

Though Trump’s new EO ostensibly stopped the separations in the future, his administration has received criticism over exactly how children already separated would be reunited with their families.

Speaking on the children housed in Cutler Bay, Curbelo said, “We received confirmation from the administrators here at this facility that already, some of the children that were housed here are on their way to being reunited with their parents, and that is good news.”

Ros-Lehtinen joined Curbelo’s assessment in calling the facility “well run.” She also added, “Congress must act swiftly to correct this wrong so that these innocent kids can be reunited with their families.”

Legislation could permanently solve the issue by mandating families be kept together and allocating resources to house them.

A law would help take the issue out of the president’s hands, which would be a welcome answer for Ros-Lehtinen. She had strong words for Trump in comments made last week on Twitter, saying he “has heard wailing of children in its centers and president is set to take action weeks after controversy erupts. We must govern with brains and heart. Families must never be separated at the border. @potus broke it + he owns this mess. Don’t pass the buck.”

Ron DeSantis ad touts Donald Trump endorsement

Republican gubernatorial candidate Ron DeSantis is out with a new ad this week as part of a $12 million ad buy through the primary election, and as expected Donald Trump’s endorsement takes center stage.

The ad, titled “Only DeSantis,” goes through the Northeast Florida Congressman’s background and a handful of policy positions at a breakneck pace.

“Iraq War veteran. JAG officer who dealt with terrorists in Guantanamo Bay” … “The guts to fight establishment politicians in both parties to drain the swamp. 100 percent pro-life. Leading the charge against illegal immigration. Taxpayer superhero,” the ad narrator says.

The final third of the 30-second spot is devoted to President Donald Trump’s endorsement of DeSantis, which was recently clarified and reiterated via a second endorsement tweet from Trump himself.

“Backed by the big man himself, President Trump says Ron DeSantis is a quote ‘brilliant leader’ and an ‘absolute warrior,’” the ad says in closing.

DeSantis faces Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam in the Republican primary to succeed term-limited Gov. Rick Scott. Recent polling shows Putnam far ahead of DeSantis among likely Republican primary voters, though more than half are undecided.

Putnam also leads in fundraising. As of May 31, Putnam had raised more than $30 million between his campaign and committee accounts, while DeSantis had raised $10.8 million, including $1.1 million in old money transferred in from his now-defunct Congressional re-election campaign.

The ad is below.

CBS News poll: Rick Scott 46%, Bill Nelson 41%

Republican Gov. Rick Scott leads incumbent Democrat Bill Nelson in the 2018 U.S. Senate race according to a new poll from CBS News.

The poll found Scott with 46 percent support among likely voters and Nelson with 41 percent support. That 5-point margin is Scott’s largest among recent polls. Earlier this month, a Florida Chamber poll showed the two-term Governor with a 48-45 percent lead. Last month, an FAU poll showed Scott ahead 44-40 percent.

Another recent poll, conducted by Public Policy Polling, showed Nelson ahead 48-46 percent.

The CBS News results, as summarized by Anthony Salvanto, Jennifer De Pinto, Kabir Khanna and Fred Backus: “Scott has a five-point edge among Florida likely voters. Most Florida voters like the job Scott is doing as governor, he has a 61 percent approval rating among registered voters. In addition to strong support from his own party, most independents approve of the job he’s doing (as do about a third of Democrats). Scott currently leads Nelson among independents. The two are effectively tied among Hispanics.”

Further down, CBS News says the race tightens when it includes responses from registered voters, who unlike “likely voters” aren’t as committed to showing up in November. More of those voters were Democrats and independents than Republicans.

The horserace between Nelson and Scott was among several issues tracked in the poll, which also found that about half of Florida voters won’t change the way they vote based on the controversial family separation policy the Trump Administration has been enforcing at the US-Mexico border.

The poll also found that President Donald Trump has a 52 percent approval rating in the Sunshine State, which is higher than most other recent polls show. That makes Florida voters more supportive of Trump than voters in the traditionally more Republican-leaning states in the CBS poll, which found Trump with 50 percent support in Texas and 47 percent support in Arizona.

The Florida poll was conducted June 19—22 and interviewed 1,002 registered voters. The margin of error is plus or minus 3.5 percentage points.

Pam Bondi confronted at Mr. Rogers movie

Protesters confronted Attorney General Pam Bondi at a showing of a documentary about children’s TV host Fred Rogers, and they questioned the Republican’s stands on immigration and health care.

The Tampa Bay Times reports Bondi received a police escort Friday when several members of Organize Florida confronted her as she left a Tampa theater after seeing “Won’t You Be My Neighbor” about Mr. Rogers. The demonstrators questioned Florida joining a lawsuit against the Affordable Care Act and Bondi’s general support of President Donald Trump’s immigration policies.

This is at least the third time a Republican official has been confronted at a public place in recent days over the president’s immigration policy that separated parents entering the country illegally at the Mexican border from their children. Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen and Trump spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders left restaurants in the Washington, D.C., area after facing friction there.

Bondi protester Maria Jose Chapa said was an impromptu demonstration after someone spotted the attorney general, who has a national following as a contributor on Fox News and as a friend of Trump. As Bondi and her companion left the theater surrounded by officers, the video shows Chapa followed her yelling.

“What would Mr. Rogers think about you and your legacy in Florida? Taking away health insurance from people with pre-existing conditions, Pam Bondi!” Chapa hollered. Another person shouted at Bondi, “You’re a horrible person!” Onlookers stared agape as the procession moved past.

Bondi told the paper in a phone interview Saturday that the demonstrators’ actions didn’t comport with the lessons taught by Mr. Rogers.

“We were in a movie about anti-bullying and practicing peace and love and tolerance and accepting of people for their differences,” Bondi said in an interview. “That’s what Mr. Rogers is all about. We all believe in free speech, but there’s a big difference there.”

When the Times asked Chapa if the documentary’s star would have handled the situation the same, she replied, “I’m not Mr. Rogers. I don’t have the poise or temperament of Mr. Rogers.”


Material from The Associated Press was used in this post.

Ron DeSantis unleashes on Adam Putnam ahead of $12M ad buy

On Saturday morning, U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis made his pitch for the GOP nomination for Governor in a familiar place: Sawgrass in Ponte Vedra.

With him, serving as hypeman: regular Fox News collaborator and Congressional colleague Rep. Matt Gaetz.

The bad news for the campaign: a 15-point deficit (32 to 17 percent) in recent polls from Fox News and the Florida Chamber.

The good news: a silver bullet, in the form of the Pres. Donald Trump endorsement tweet. DeSantis’ team expects that the co-branding with Trump will erase that lead quickly

DeSantis’ visit to Sawgrass, the first of three stops Saturday, was very much the kickoff of a new, active phase of the campaign, one in which the candidate will spend $12 million on an ad buy starting Monday. He will also have the support on the ground of Fox News endorsers, such as Sean HannityMark LevinJudge Jeanine, as well as President Donald Trump and his namesake son.

Will this push be enough? DeSantis, whose strategy thus far has been less headline-grabbing than Putnam’s, short on in-state endorsements, believes that it will — and that he will be vindicated in choosing to ramp up the campaign comparatively later than Putnam did.

“I appreciate that people spent a lot of money in April and May, which my opponents did attacking me,” DeSantis said in a media availability after his remarks.

“We have a liftoff from the President, we have a debate [next week],” DeSantis added. “You’re going to see a very aggressive campaign when people are paying attention, and I think a couple of weeks from now you’re going to see a very different thing.”

“I’ve been building for the moment. I have not been out wasting money,” DeSantis said, a “deliberate strategy that will pay off.”

From there, DeSantis addressed Putnam’s contentions that he’s just looking for a better job (rooted in this being the second time in two years DeSantis abandoned the House seat to pursue higher office).

DeSantis doesn’t believe Putnam, a child of privilege (in his telling), has room to talk.

“Adam Putnam has been running for office since he was 22,” he thundered.

“[Putnam] has not had a career outside of politics, he inherited his money, he was born on third base and thinks he hit a triple. I’m somebody who was a blue-collar kid. I started making six dollars an hour. I worked myself. I got nothing handed to me,” DeSantis said.

“I had one of the best resumes in the country when I came out of school. I could have made a lot of money. Instead, I volunteered to serve in the Navy. Deployed to Iraq, served in Guantanamo, served in some of our bases here in Florida,” DeSantis said.

“This guy is the consummate career politician, and he’s exactly what’s wrong with modern politics,” DeSantis added.

“Adam says he knows so much. He’s never served in uniform,” DeSantis said, “and the decisions he’s made — if you know so much about Florida, why do you oppose E-Verify?”

“The lack of judgment, time and time again, shows me that he really doesn’t know what taxpayers and voters want. He knows Florida from the perspective of a career politician and what the power brokers in Tallahassee want, not what the actual voters want,” DeSantis said.

“Adam is the toast of Tallahassee, the insider class,”  DeSantis added. “On Duval Street, he will beat me in the vote. But the ones the insiders want aren’t always the ones the voters want.”

“If you want proof of that, look at Rick Scott in 2010. To a man, they opposed him,” he concluded. “And look at the good job Gov. Scott has done.”

Donald Trump makes clear his endorsement of Ron DeSantis

No more speculation about whether President Donald Trump‘s kind words Ron DeSantis were just praise for the moment: Trump Friday morning tweeted out a full-throated endorsement of the Republican congressman’s bid in Florida’s gubernatorial election.

“Congressman Ron DeSantis, a top student at Yale and Harvard Law School, is running for Governor of the Great State of Florida. Ron is strong on Borders, tough on Crime & big on Cutting Taxes – Loves our Military & our Vets. He will be a Great Governor & has my full Endorsement!” the president tweeted.

DeSantis, who’s been campaigning largely on FOX News, has been trailing Florida Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam in most polls, including a FOX News poll Thursday that gave Putnam a 15-point lead. Heading toward the August 28 primary, the Trump factor is expected to be significant, as polls have shown overwhelming support from the party. Weekly tracking polls from Gallum has put Republican approval of Trump at 90 percent for the second week of June.

Yet while Putnam, too, has sought to offer support for Trump, DeSantis always portrayed a close and supportive two-way relationship with Trump, and has been one of the most reliable and hardest-hitting members of Congress pushing back on the Russia probes and arguing that the Democrats, not Trump, have done wrong.

Earlier this week DeSantis posted on Facebook that he was “proud to have President Donald Trump’s endorsement.” But until Friday that was a little unclear, as Trump hadn’t actually spoken or written the word endorsement.

Until now.

“We’re proud to have the full support of President Trump.” DeSantis campaign spokesman David Vasquez stated Friday morning. “As a top conservative leader in Florida, taxpayer superhero and an Iraq veteran, Ron DeSantis will make a Great Governor of Florida.”

Putnam’s campaign responded with this:

“Floridians know that Adam Putnam will always put Florida First. As the FOX News poll indicates, grassroots momentum behind Adam Putnam’s Florida First vision continues to grow. Adam looks forward to working with President Trump as Florida’s next governor to keep our economy thriving, taxes low and our borders secure.”

Fresh poll: Bill Nelson holds slim lead over Rick Scott, 48%-46%

Democratic U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson is back on top in his 2018 re-election bid against Republican Gov. Rick Scott according to a new survey from Public Policy Polling.

The poll found 48 percent of Florida voters want the longtime Senator to get a fourth term, while 46 percent of voters said they wanted to send Scott from Tallahassee to Washington. The remainder of those polled said they were unsure who they would vote for come November.

The PPP results show a change-up from the last several rounds of polling in the high-profile U.S. Senate race. Earlier this month, a poll from the pro-Scott Florida Chamber of Commerce put the two-term Governor in the lead, 48-45 percent. Last month, a poll out of Florida Atlantic University produced similar results, showing Scott with a 44-40 percent lead.

Part of the shift in the new poll could be due to who it says will show up on Election Day — 40 percent of those polled were Democrats, 39 percent were Republicans and the remaining 21 percent were unaffiliated or third-party voters.

By race, the sample was 70 percent white, 12 percent Hispanic and 12 percent black. Nearly half of those polled were between 45 and 65 years of age, while voters over 65 made up a third and younger voters accounted for 20 percent.

The survey also measured voters’ views of Nelson and Scott, finding Nelson slightly above water on favorability, 42-41 percent, and Scott a tad beneath, 44-46 percent.

When it comes to President Donald Trump, whose presence is expected to loom large over the U.S. Senate contest and others, respondents narrowly voted for him over Hillary Clinton two years ago but now say they find him unfavorable by a 4-point margin, 45-49 percent, with 5 percent unsure.

The automated phone poll was commissioned by Democratic consultant Christian Ulvert of EDGE Communications. It was conducted June 18-19 and took 1,308 responses from Florida voters across the state’s 10 media markets.

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