Donald Trump Archives - Page 8 of 285 - Florida Politics

Gwen Graham to Adam Putnam: ‘Defend’ Florida oranges

Steel and citrus brought us to this:

Gwen Graham is calling on Florida Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam to defend Florida orange juice if President Donald Trump triggers a trade war with our European allies,” Graham’s campaign said in a Friday email.

Um, what?

Here’s what happened: “News broke this morning that the European Union is considering banning imports of American orange juice if Trump moves forward with plans to start a steel trade war.”

(Not mentioned by the Graham camp: That same story said EU officials also “are considering tariffs on other agricultural products,” including whiskey and dairy, “if Trump follows through with a steel tariff.” That whiskey is considered an “agricultural product” is a story for another day.)

“Orange juice is  … absolutely vital to Florida’s agriculture industry and our state’s economy,” Graham said in a statement. “Adam Putnam needs to put Florida first, pick up the phone, call his friend Donald Trump and defend our state’s jobs.”

If you need your memory jogged, former congresswoman Graham is a Democratic candidate for governor in 2018; Putnam is a Republican candidate.

Putnam campaign spokeswoman Amanda Bevis did not respond to Florida Politics’ request for comment, but told the Tampa Bay Times: “If you can’t grow it, you can’t export it. Even a half day pretending to work in citrus would teach Gwen Graham that the number one issue in Florida citrus is greening, not the EU.”

The state’s citrus industry has been decimated by the citrus greening epidemic. The so-far incurable disease is attacking fruit, causing it to turn green and bitter, and eventually killing the tree.

Meantime, we await defenders for Florida whiskey (yes, it exists) and dairy.

Florida will hand over some voting information to commission

The administration of Florida Gov. Rick Scott announced Thursday that it would hand over some voter information being sought by President Donald Trump‘s commission investigating allegations of voter fraud in the 2016 election.

But Secretary of State Ken Detzner, who was appointed by the Republican governor, wrote a letter to the vice chair of the commission saying that the state will only hand over information that is already considered a public record. This would include the names of voters, as well as information on whether they had voted in recent elections.

Detzner said in his letter that Florida law prohibits the state from turning over driver license information or Social Security numbers. He also said they would not turn over the names of voters whose information is currently confidential, such as judges, prosecutors or police officers.

“We are glad to continue following Florida’s public records law by providing the requested information to you that is publicly available,” Detzner wrote to Kris Kobach, the current Secretary of State from Kansas who is on the commission.

Detzner did add, however, that “the responsibility for the accuracy and fairness of our election process in Florida lies on us, not with the federal government in Washington.”

The Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity asked election officials across the country last week for voter information, including names, political party affiliation and voter history. The request included asking for the last four digits of voters’ Social Security numbers and any information on voters convicted of felony crimes.

The effort has triggered pushback across the country, including lawsuits, by critics who contend that the commission was created based on false claims of fraud. Trump, who created the commission through executive order in May, lost the popular vote to Democrat Hillary Clinton but has alleged without evidence that up to 5 million people voted illegally.

Fourteen states and the District of Columbia are refusing to comply, while many others plan to provide the limited information that is public under their laws.

Democratic politicians in Florida had called on Scott – who has been a strong supporter of fellow Republican Trump – to reject the request from the commission.

Sen. Oscar Braynon, the leader of the Senate Democrats, said in a letter to Scott that turning over the voter information was a “blatant invasion of privacy and federal overreach.”

“It also begs the question of why this data is being sought in the first place, and whether voter suppression may be the ultimate goal,” wrote Braynon, whose letter was signed by other Senate Democrats.

Florida maintains a statewide voter database where a good deal of information is already public such as the names and addresses of most voters and their voter history, which shows when they voted, but not who they voted for. News organizations, political consultants and political parties routinely make public records requests for the information.

Detzner said in his letter to Kobach that the public portion of the database does not capture information on felonies.

But the state does routinely search to see if someone who is registered to vote has been convicted of a crime. That information is sent to local election officials, who have the ultimate decision on whether to remove someone from the voter rolls. Florida is one of a handful of states that does not allow former convicts to vote unless their rights have been restored by the state.

During his first term as governor, Scott came under fire for his push to trim the voter rolls of non-U.S. citizens. An initial voter purge initiated ahead of the 2012 elections found some ineligible voters, but it also wrongly identified U.S. citizens.

Seminole elections supervisor says people are calling to get off voter rolls

Someone doesn’t trust President Donald Trump with voter roll information.

Seminole County Supervisor of Elections Mike Ertel said Thursday he’s been fielding calls from nervous voters wanting to get their names and data off of voter rolls because they worry that information might be sent to Trump’s Advisory Commission on Election Integrity. Ertel has been talking the voters into staying on the rolls, but he’s getting nervous about voters getting nervous.

Last week that Commission asked every state’s elections authority to send complete voter rolls to Washington to be examined for evidence of voter fraud. While much of the information is already public, especially in Florida, the committee asked for such things as social security numbers, driver’s license numbers, and signatures, which are not public records.

More than 40 states have said no. Florida Gov. Rick Scott and Secretary of State Ken Detzner have not said what they want to do. In Florida a backlash led mainly by Democrats, and including nearly every significant Democratic election holder and candidate, has urged Scott and Detzner to also refuse the request.

Ertel said he’s personally dealt with 15 voters on the matter in the past week. A Republican like Trump, Scott and Detzner, Ertel said he’s trying to address Seminole voters in a non-partisan way, just giving them facts, and trying to avoid any partisan spin. He’s posted a frequently-asked-questions item on the Seminole supervisor’s website, and he’s been pushing the information on social media.

“For a myriad of reasons, I would ask you not to cancel your voter registration. Stay registered,” he advised voters, in the FAQ, if they were wondering about canceling their registration. “So many before us fought, in the fields of battle, politics, government and beyond, to ensure this far into our nation’s future that you would still have the privilege of casting your vote. Don’t let an action you disagree with have the effect of silencing your most powerful tool to change it: your vote.”

And he’s been trying to dissuade voters from false assumptions or unlikely prospects.

He noted, in his FAQ, that some voters are concerned that Trump might initiate a national voter registration database, or that hackers might be able to obtain the information. He called the first unlikely and the second not possible.

And, “I think some voters are scared the commission would know how you voted, and who you voted for, but that’s not possible,” Ertel said.

What is possible, however, is to link voter participation histories with social security and driver’s license numbers. And the ballot signatures have often been a concern.

Ertel noted that Florida is legally obligated to turn over the rest of the state’s voter data, which includes full names, dates of birth, party affiliations, addresses, phone numbers, email addresses, and participation histories. That data is public, and it’s been turned over to numerous groups, agencies, and individuals through routine state records requests. The committee’s records request can be considered no different. Besides, the information already is widely disseminated, he noted.

“This isn’t something the state can really say no to, as it relates to the public data,” he said. “Now the other data, on the social security data, the driver’s license data, I don’t know what they will do.”

If it was his call, he said, “I would just do the publicly available data.”

Jeremy Ring joins Dems’ calls that Rick Scott not release voter rolls to Donald Trump

Democratic state financial officer candidate Jeremy Ring has joined the call from most other Florida Democrats in urging the administration of Gov. Rick Scott to refuse the request from the administration of President Donald Trump to release state voter rolls to a federal commission.

Ring contended that the governor’s “number one job is to protect Floridians” and that the privacy of millions of Floridians is at risk.

“As a candidate for chief financial officer, as a Floridian, and — above all — as an American, I am strongly opposed to the Administration’s request, and frankly downright offended at Gov. Scott’s refusal to immediately reject and condemn it,” Ring stated in a news release.

In the week since the Trump administration made its request for detailed information on all voters from all 50 states and the District of Columbia to be shared with his Presidential Advisory Committee on Election Integrity, the backlash has come from Republicans and Democrats alike nationwide. In Florida, however, the objections have come chiefly from Democrats, including all three gubernatorial candidates, the Florida Democratic Party, U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson and top Democrats in the Florida Legislature urging Scott and Florida Secretary of State Ken Detzner to reject the request. Scott and Detzner have yet to respond.

Ring is a former state senator from Broward County. As such, he helped establish the Florida Agency for State Technology, which handles sensitive data on Florida residents.

“The governor’s number one job is to protect Floridians and yet he sits idly by while the Trump Administration seeks to breach the privacy of millions of Floridians and potentially shatter one of the foundations of our democracy — the privacy of the vote,” Ring stated. “Where is Rick Scott to protect Floridians? Instead of leading, Gov. Scott has sat back while 41 other states — led by both Republicans and Democrats — have outright rejected the Administration’s request. I join these states in their opposition to the Administration’s request.”

David Jolly to congressional Republicans: Ignore Trump’s tweets, isolate him

David Jolly offers some advice for his former GOP colleagues when called upon to comment on President Donald Trump‘s more egregious tweets: Just ignore him.

“No more trips to the White House. No more flights on Air Force One. No more accepting his gratuitous offers of signing ceremonies, White House cocktails, or meetings with his children. No more asking the White House for permission, for policy advice, or for the President’s priorities,” the former Pinellas County congressman writes in an op-ed on CNN’s website.

“Honor your oath as a fiduciary of Article I, who holds the public trust. Strike out with your own bold agenda that wins the hearts and minds of the American people. And leave this President behind. Leave him to his Twitter account and to placating his base with disgusting tweets.”

New polling suggests that it’s not just media elite and/or Democrats who have grown weary of some of Trump’s outlandish Twitter comments, such as his broadside against MSNBC “Morning Joe” co-host Mika Brzezinski, who he said last week was “bleeding badly from a face-lift” when he saw her a few months ago.

According to a poll conducted by Morning Consult in partnership with POLITICO published Wednesday, 65 percent of those surveyed said it was “unacceptable” for Trump to attack Brzezinski as he did.

Even among Republicans, more people called it unacceptable (46 percent) than acceptable (28 percent) for the president to say such things. Both men and women agreed the tweets were unacceptable, though more men (22 percent) than women (12 percent) found the comments acceptable.

As a prolific commentator on CNN and MSNBC since Trump’s inauguration in January, Jolly has been mostly critical of the president’s policies and performance in office. While that makes him an outlier among Republicans currently in office, he’s hardly the only conservative on cable airwaves taking issue with Trump, joining Ana Navarro, Jennifer Rubin, George Will and others on the right to criticize the president.

“You see, when members of Congress condemn a tweet and then fall in line with the President’s awkward leadership of domestic and foreign policy — such as when they race to be his guest at a South Lawn ceremony celebrating passage of a flawed health care bill that even the President himself now disowns — all their condemnation, and congressional resolve itself, is exposed as meritless,” Jolly writes.

Trump’s tweet against Brzezinski was certainly one of the most flagrant comments since using Twitter as president, earning a flood criticism from Democrats and even some Republicans in the immediate aftermath last week.

“President is a poor role model for America’s children, all of us,” Tampa Congresswoman Kathy Castor tweeted last week. “His tweets, actions are far beneath the dignity required of the office.”

One Democrat deciding not to comment on the latest social media messages from the president: Florida Sen. Bill Nelson.

Speaking with reporters in Tampa earlier this week, Nelson was asked (by this reporter) if he was bothered by Trump’s tweets on Brzezinski, as well as another featuring a mock video showing him body-slamming WWE promoter Vince McMahonwhose face was covered by a CNN logo.

“The essence of your question is — you’d like me to jump all over the president, and I’ll tell you what my answer is — I can’t do anything about how he conducts himself, but I can do something about how I conduct myself,” Nelson responded. “And it is my responsibility to conduct myself as a gentleman, to respect others, to try to be bipartisan, to try to bring people together and build bipartisan consensus.”

“That is my responsibility and my obligation, and I tried to do that, and I will continue to try to do that,” he concluded.

Suit slams Donald Trump-influenced immigrant detentions in Florida

The American Civil Liberties Union says in a federal lawsuit that Miami-Dade County is violating the Constitution by detaining people without a warrant to comply with Trump administration immigration policies.

ACLU and other attorneys filed the lawsuit Wednesday on behalf of a Honduran-born U.S. citizen who was held in jail without charges because an immigration officer had requested deportation proceedings.

Garland Creedle was arrested March 12 in a case of alleged domestic violence and was due to be released March 13 on bail. The 18-year-old was held an additional night on the “detainer” request before being released March 14 – apparently, after immigration authorities confirmed his citizenship.

The lawsuit names Mayor Carlos Gimenez as a defendant and seeks to reverse the county’s policy.

Republished with permission of The Associated Press.

Florida Democrats to Ken Detzner: Reject Trump administration’s request for private information of Florida voters

Florida is one of less than a handful of states that has yet to respond to the Trump administration’s election integrity commission’s request to provide extensive amounts of voter information. But before it can, several Florida Democrat lawmakers are calling on Secretary of State Ken Detzner to reject the request.

Kris Kobach, the vice chairman of the Presidential Advisory Committee on Election Integrity, sent a letter to all 50 states last Wednesday requesting extensive voter data files, including registrants’ full names, addresses, dates of birth, political parties, the last four digits of their social security numbers, a list of the elections they voted in since 2006, information on any felony convictions, information on whether they were registered to vote in other states, their military status, and whether they lived overseas.

The request came months after President Donald Trump claimed, without evidence, that millions of people have voted illegally in the 2016 presidential election. While some states have complied, many others, especially those with Democratic governors, have vehemently objected.

In their letter, the Florida Democrat leaders call the commission “a total sham,” and say the whole exercise is “fearmongering at its worst and a direct attack on the integrity of our electoral process by our nation’s highest officeholder.”

“The false claim of widespread voter fraud has been universally debunked countless times,” writes Florida Democratic Party Chair Stephen Bittel, Senate Leader Oscar Braynon, Senate Leader-Designate Jeff Clemens, House Leader Janet Cruz and House Leader-Designate Kionne McGhee. “It is outrageous for the President to abuse his bully pulpit to spread such an egregious lie. By propagating this absurd claim, Donald Trump is severely undercutting the credibility of our democracy—to the citizens of this nation and to the members of the international community.

In addition, the Florida League of Women Voters sent a letter to Detzner Wednesday night, also calling on him to reject Kobach’s request. The Florida LWV contends that some of the information being request is shielded under Florida law, specifically listing the statute regarding social security numbers.

Earlier this week, Florida’s senior Democrat, Senator Bill Nelson, chimed in as well, dismissing the request as “ridiculous,”and saying, “give us your personally identifiable voters information that is not public, and we’re going to put it in a centrally registered point that is unsecured? It’s just an open invitation to North Korea, the Russians, China and non-state actors to come in and get that information.”

The Rick Scott administration has said little in the past week about the request. A spokesperson for the state department said earlier this week that they had received Kobach’s letter, and were “reviewing it.”

Read the letter in full below:

Dear Mr. Secretary,

Over the past week, top election officials from around the country—Democrat and Republican—have rejected requests for sensitive voter data from Donald Trump’s “election integrity” commission.

This commission is a total sham. Donald Trump’s assertion that 3 to 5 million votes were cast illegally is an outright lie. This is fearmongering at its worst and a direct attack on the integrity of our electoral process by our nation’s highest officeholder.

The false claim of widespread voter fraud has been universally debunked countless times.  For making this claim, Donald Trump is either massively ignorant and ill-advised, or this is a thinly-veiled attempt at justifying national voter suppression tactics—we believe it is likely a combination of the two.

This request is voluntary and many states have already refused to turn over their citizens’ data. We remind you that complying with this request may put voters at risk of identity theft, encroach federal rights to privacy, and violate the Federal Voting Rights Act in addition to the Florida Constitution.

There are certainly issues in our electoral system that should be addressed—foreign attempts to influence our elections come to mind most immediately.

It is outrageous for the President to abuse his bully pulpit to spread such an egregious lie. By propagating this absurd claim, Donald Trump is severely undercutting the credibility of our democracy—to the citizens of this nation and to the members of the international community.

We strongly urge our state government to show good judgement and reject Donald Trump’s request for the private information of Florida voters. To entertain the notion of massive voter fraud—where there is none— is to put our democracy in jeopardy. We trust that the administration will put politics aside in this instance and do the right thing.

Andrew Gillum doubles down on opposition to voter rolls request, files records request with state

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Andrew Gillum is keeping the heat on Florida Secretary of State Ken Detzner to not cooperate with the federal request for voter rolls, filing a records request Wednesday for any evidence of the voter fraud President Donald Trump has alleged.

Last week Detzner and fellow Democratic gubernatorial candidates Chris King of Orlando and Gwen Graham of Tallahassee all urged Detzner, Gov. Rick Scott and other state officials to not comply with the request from the president’s voter fraud commission, but have not received any response.

“Florida has still not responded to this invasive demand,” Gillum stated in an announcement released by his campaign. “That’s why I sent a Freedom of Information Act request demanding that the Florida Secretary of State turn over any evidence of voter fraud in the 2016 election.”

Last week Gillum charged that the federal request violated the privacy and security of Floridians, and that it was founded on baseless claims of widespread voter fraud. He repeated that charge Wednesday, and sought to put the onus on Detzner.

“If he fails to produce any evidence – which I suspect he will – then he should break his public silence and formally deny the Trump Commission’s request for Floridians’ personal data.

“I’ve also asked for any communications his office has had with the commission, since the secretary’s office has refused to publicly respond to their demand. We should call the commission what it is: a sham based on unsubstantiated claims that our elections are rife with widespread voter fraud. There is simply no evidence to support these claims, and we must put this insidious and false rumor to rest once and for all,” Gillum stated.

He concluded by calling the claim of widespread voter fraud a “dangerous and unfounded lie,” saying, “Floridians deserve truth and confidence in the electoral process, so my demand is simple – if there’s widespread voter fraud, then prove it by releasing evidence of it.”

Tourism officials cautious about what federal rhetoric might do to international visitors’ interests

Tourism officials are keeping a cautious eye on the horizon, beyond the coast, beyond the sea, to see if the harsh isolationist international rhetoric and tough policies of President Donald Trump could sour foreign tourists on Florida.

University of Central Florida economist Sean Snaith and Visit Orlando President George Aguel both warned Orange County officials at a recent meeting of the Orange County Tourist Development Commission that while international visitation remains strong at the moment, the industry is growing nervous that could change.

While they did not explicitly name the American president, both referred to American administration policies and statements that are making American tourism leaders nervous. And other factors international factors, from the United Kingdom’s Brexit move to currency valuations may not bode well either.

The same topic came up at another recent meeting, that of the statewide tourism development organization, VISIT FLORIDA. And while the concerns were more dismissed there, they were noted as possible concerns.

“Right now the overall prediction for international travel to the U.S. will be declining,” Aguel told the Orange County board. “However, fortunately for us, I think we’ll be able to hold our own, especially with three core international markets (United Kingdom, Canada and Brazil) we’re all familiar with.

“The tourism industry is deeply concerned about some of the rhetoric that is taking place and is in fact having an impact on people considering visitation to the U.S.,” Aguel added. “U.S. Travel, the World Tourism Association, even one of our leading convention organizations… If only because, for some of these conventions, they’re international delegations are very important part. And many international delegates have said we’re just not sure we should come.”

Typically there is a lag of six months to a year between economic forces and reactions within the tourism industry, because of advance bookings. The lag time is longer with conventions, which typically are booked years in advance.

However, incoming VISIT FLORIDA Chair Maryann Ferenc, who owns the Mise en Place restaurant in Tampa, said she and others already are hearing anecdotally about attendance being down at Florida meetings of international groups, and wondered what that foretold.

“The only thing that gives us pause right now is the international market. Even there, I just don’t know how much of the international evaluation is anecdotal, or how much of it is real. We’ve heard ‘Trump slump.’ We’ve heard ‘Trump bump,’” VISIT FLORIDA Interim Chief Marketing Officer Nelson Mongiovi responded to the board. “I’ll tell you the only true data I’ve seen to date in April was U.S. visitation was actually up 12 percent.”

Both the VISIT FLORIDA and the Orange County Touristy Development Commission received a bevy of such good-news reports at the same time as the international concerns. Visitor numbers are at record levels. Hotel occupancy is up, and so are room prices. Tourist tax dollars are running well ahead of projections.

In Orlando, convention business is running ahead of last year, tax subsidies to the convention center are falling, and cash is building there.

And Florida’s, particularly Orlando’s economy, is solid.

But there are those clouds way out on the horizon.

Aguel pointed out that Orlando is the nation’s fourth-busiest visitors market for international travelers, behind New York, Los Angeles and Miami. And he said New York’s tourism officials are predicting a decline in visitation this year, while those in Los Angeles is projecting a very slight increase.

“They say its because of these [federal] policies. I”m not sure we agree,” Aguel said. “There are other factors, such as currency.”

The potential impact is bigger than the share of the market international visitors have, because international visitors typically stay far longer and spend far more on trips to Florida than domestic travelers, he said.

“We’re keeping a close eye on what’s happening internationally,” he said.

Bill Nelson calls Kris Kobach’s voter roll data request ‘ridiculous’

Add Bill Nelson to the growing list of Democratic and Republican Party officials who don’t think much of the request from President Donald Trump‘s Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity to hand over “publicly available voter roll data.”

“This is the most ridiculous mandate back on the states that I’ve ever heard,” the Florida Democrat told reporters Monday afternoon.

Nelson had just concluded a meeting with residents urging him to continue to fight to preserve the Affordable Care Act.

“Give us your personally identifiable voters information that is not public, and we’re going to put it in a centrally registered point that is unsecured?” Nelson said in disgust. “It’s just an open invitation to North Korea, the Russians, China and non-state actors to come in and get that information.”

Democratic governors and elected officials nationwide pushed back hard last week, saying they wouldn’t comply with the commission’s request, asking each state for its set of voter data: Names, addresses, dates of birth, voting history, party registration, military service and the last four digits of Social Security numbers.

Neither Florida Gov. Rick Scott nor Secretary of State Ken Detzner has publicly commented on the request.

Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, who serves as vice chair of Trump’s new voter integrity commission, says the information he seeks is basic, publicly available information.

“It’s idiotic,” Kobach recently told The Washington Times. “These states make the information available to the public, but they don’t want a presidential commission to take a serious look at it? That makes no sense at all.”

Charles Stewart III, an MIT political scientist, wrote Monday in POLITICO that the commission’s requests have opened up a whole series of questions: How will the database be housed and protected? Will the resulting national voter file be subject to federal FOIA requests? Will those requests be granted based on state or federal laws? Will the match lists that are produced be public documents?

Nelson said that the U.S. and the rest of the world already have enough to contend with concerning the integrity of the vote, particularly when it comes to Russian interference.

“We’ve got enough trouble with the Russians for what they did to us, what they’re planning to do to us in ’18 and again in 2020 in a presidential election, what they did in France, what they’ve done in Ukraine, what they are now doing to do in the German election,” he said.

Three Democrats running for Florida governor in 2018 — Gwen Graham, Andrew Gillum and Chris King — have each condemned the request.

“While states certainly should not tolerate voter fraud, Kobach’s request for voters’ personal information isn’t based on any confirmed reports of such fraud,” King said in a statement. “Of the more than 130 million votes cast during the 2016 presidential election, there were only four documented cases of voter fraud. Kobach’s request for voter information is a waste of taxpayer money and an attempt to purge voter rolls and suppress voter turnout where no problem of vote fraud exists.”

“Kobach’s request for voter information is a waste of taxpayer money and an attempt to purge voter rolls and suppress voter turnout where no problem of vote fraud exists.”

An official with the Scott administration said on Monday that they are still considering the proposal.

“We have received the letter. We are reviewing it,” Director of Communications Sarah Revell told CNN.

Nelson also answered questions about Scott, the Republican he may face next year when he runs for another six-year Senate term, his fourth since being elected in 2000.

“I like the contrast because there’s a lot of contrast between his positions and mine and even our styles,” Nelson said.

Scott has yet to formally announce his candidacy, and said he’s in no hurry to make an announcement about his future. With seemingly unlimited financial resources and solid name recognition, Scott is probably one politician who can afford to wait.

While Nelson conceded he won’t be able to match Scott in fundraising, he is eliciting more campaign contributions from social media and online requests than ever before. Nelson also sounded extremely confident in his chances.

“The American people and especially Floridians are very smart, and they can usually sniff out who is the one who is really dedicated and has a heart for public service. and that’s why they have rewarded me election after election for many years,” he said. “And I’m very grateful for that.”

“And I suspect in November of 2018 it’s going to turn out that same way.”

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