Jeb Bush Archives - Page 6 of 147 - Florida Politics

Sally Bradshaw’s bolt from GOP a sign of Donald Trump’s impact on party

Less than four years ago, the Republican Party tapped a few respected party officials to help the GOP find its way forward. This week, one of them says she’s leaving the party — driven out by Donald Trump.

While not a household name, Sally Bradshaw‘s decision to leave the GOP rocked those who make politics their profession. The longtime aide to former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush was one of the five senior Republican strategists tasked with identifying the party’s shortcomings and recommending ways it could win the White House after its losing 2012 presidential campaign.

Now, she says, she’ll vote for Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton if the race in her home state of Florida appears close come Election Day.

“Sally is representative of an important segment of our party, and that is college-educated women, where Donald Trump is losing by disastrous margins,” said Ari Fleischer, who worked with Bradshaw on the GOP project and was a senior adviser to President George W. Bush. “Trump has moved in exactly the opposite direction from our recommendations on how to make the party more inclusive.”

Fleischer still supports Trump over Clinton. But Bradshaw is among a group of top Republican operatives, messengers, national committee members and donors who continue to decry Trump’s tactics, highlighting almost daily — with three months until Election Day — the rifts created by the billionaire and his takeover of the party.

This past weekend, the billionaire industrialist Charles Koch (coke) told hundreds of donors that make up his political network that Trump does not embrace, nor will he fight for, free market principles.

That’s one reason Koch‘s network, which has the deepest pockets in conservative politics, is ignoring the presidential contest this year and focusing its fundraising wealth on races for Congress. Donors and elected officials gathering at a Koch event in Colorado said they accepted the Koch brothers’ decision, even if it hurts the GOP’s White House chances.

Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin, among the high-profile Republicans on hand, refused to endorse Trump and referenced now defunct political parties, such as the Whigs, when asked about the health of the modern-day GOP.

“The party is not really what matters. It’s the principles,” Bevin told The Associated Press.

Another of those in attendance, House Speaker Paul Ryan, didn’t even mention his party’s presidential nominee during his speech to the group. Yet he referenced an election he called “personality contest” devoid of specific goals or principles.

Liberals and those on the political left are hardly fully united around Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, whose convention was interrupted on occasion by supporters of Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders.

But after beating Sanders in the primaries, Clinton took steps to win over Sanders and his supporters — including agreeing to changes to the party’s platform. Trump has shown little such inclination, pushing ahead instead with the approach and policy proposals that proved successful in the GOP primary.

Among the key recommendations of the post-2014 report that Bradshaw helped write was for the party to be more inclusive to racial and ethnic minorities, specifically Latino voters. One of Trump’s defining policies is his call to build a wall on the U.S. border with Mexico, and forcibly deport the millions of people — many of whom are Hispanic — living in the country illegally.

Bradshaw told The Associated Press her decision to change her voter registration in her home state of Florida was “a personal decision,” with the tipping point being Trump’s criticism of the Muslim mother of a U.S. soldier killed in Iraq in 2004. In an email to CNN, Bradshaw wrote that the GOP was “at a crossroads and have nominated a total narcissist — a misogynist — a bigot.”

Her decision to leave the party isn’t “a good sign, given the role she’s played at the national level with the RNC and the high esteem in which she’s held,” said Virginia Republican Chris Jankowski, among the nation’s leading GOP legislative campaign strategists.

Another member of the panel that examined Mitt Romney‘s 2012 loss is Henry Barbour, a Republican National Committee member from Mississippi.

In a message to the AP, he joined the many Republicans who called on Trump to apologize to the family of the late Capt. Humayun Khan, a suggestion the billionaire has rejected to date.

Like Fleischer, he does not plan to follow Bradshaw out of the party, but insisted that Trump must work harder to unify it.

“If we are to gain anything by this, Donald Trump must show he wants to unite Americans so he can win in November and the best way to do this would be to apologize,” Barbour said. “There’s no excuse, particularly for his comments about Mrs. Khan.”

Republished with permission of the Associated Press.

Report: Sally Bradshaw says she may vote for Hillary Clinton

A prominent Jeb Bush aide has said she might vote for Hillary Clinton come November.

Sally Bradshaw told CNN Monday she has left the Republican Party to become an independent. Bradshaw, a close adviser to Bush, also said if the presidential race in Florida is close, she will vote for Clinton come Election Day.

“This election cycle is a test,” she told CNN. “As much as I don’t want another four years of (President Barack) Obama‘s policies, I can’t look my children in the eye and tell them I voted for Donald Trump. I can’t tell them to love their neighbor and treat others the way they wanted to be treated, and then vote for Donald Trump. I won’t do it.”

Bradshaw is a longtime Bush family supporter, working first on George H.W. Bush’s 1988 presidential campaign. She remained close with the family, and has served Jeb Bush in several capacities over the years, including a significant role in his 2016 presidential bid.

Her comments come as Trump criticizes the family of a Muslim soldier killed in action in Iraq in 2004. Bradshaw told CNN that Trump’s remarks were despicable.

Bradshaw told CNN she had been considering switching her voter registration for a while, but Trump’s recent comments solidified her decision. She said she had worked hard to make the party “a place where all would feel welcome,” but Trump has taken the GOP in a different direction.

While she told CNN she wasn’t sure who she would vote for in November, she said if the race in Florida is close she “will vote for Hillary Clinton.” She said she disagrees with her on several issues, but the country is at a crossroads and “this is a time when country has to take priority over political parties.”

Mitch Perry Report for 7.21.16 — Ted Cruz’s courage

One of the biggest surprises of how the Republican primary season played out to this reporter was how successful Ted Cruz was. When you looked at the panoply of candidates who had serious potential to go all the way in 2016, he was never at the front of my list (neither, of course, was Donald Trump).

But Cruz emerged over the much more hyped Marco Rubio, Scott Walker, Jeb Bush, et al. He’s a true believer, what Paul Ryan likes to call a “movement conservative.”

Trump is definitely not, which is one reason why the Republican Party as a whole has never, and will never, completely embrace the NYC business mogul.

Cruz is very conservative — too conservative to lead the country, some might suspect. Trump is not as conservative, which is why he could very well defeat Hillary Clinton this fall.

So while I suppose I sort of guess I understand the anger expressed by Republicans toward Cruz last night at the RNC for failing to endorse Trump, I sort of don’t. There was not one report from anyone beforehand that Cruz was going to endorse. Not one. Trump certainly knew that when he allowed Cruz to speak at his convention.

I actually think it was courageous of the Texas Senator to stick to his principles, and have the audacity to do so in front of thousands in the Q and millions worldwide.

Rubio has been all over the place in terms of whether he’d support Trump or not. He ended going halfway, sending an incredibly brief video saying Republicans should back Trump (Interesting, by the way, that Rubio is conducting a statewide campaign tour this week — a tour that could have been planned for next week, but gives him the cover that he’s too busy campaigning to actually travel to Cleveland).

True, Bush and John Kasich, two other major Republicans who don’t support Trump, have made sure to far, far war from the convention hall. But this is Ted Cruz, folks. There’s a reason he’s the most loathed member of the senate.

They say he (and Rubio) are already running for 2020. Some say he’s thrown that all away after last night. I’m not so sure.

It was Florida night on the stage Wednesday, with Rubio, Rick Scott and Pam Bondi getting airtime. Actually, Bondi’s speech wasn’t carried by any of the cable networks, but was captured in its entirety on C-SPAN. Including the part where she seemed to enjoy the refrain of the week regarding Hillary: “Lock her up.”

Meanwhile, if you want to watch the final night of the RNC with a group of Republicans, the Hillsborough County REC hosts a gathering at a South Tampa craft brewery.

In other news …

Hillary Clinton speaks at 4:30 p.m. tomorrow at the Florida State Fairgrounds in Tampa in the second of three Florida appearances before heading to Philadelphia to receive the presidential nomination for the Democratic Party.

The Hillsborough County Commission actually hung the Gay Pride flag from their building in tribute to the fallen victims of the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando last month, but don’t expect them to ever do that again.

We finally heard back from the head of the Tampa Firefighters Union regarding their endorsement of Luis Veira. Steve Suarez says Veira received their endorsement because he was the only one who asked, and he had no interest in the other candidates running.

Mark Kelly & Gabby Giffords‘ super PAC on gun safety is backing Patrick Murphy for senate. Neither Kelly or Murphy had much to say positive about Rubio’s record on guns.

Eric Lynn & Ben Diamond announce more endorsements in their HD 68 race.

Joe Henderson: With Donald Trump, perhaps the beginning of a movement

When Donald Trump formally announced his intention to run for president, comedians everywhere fell to their knees in praise for the heaven-sent gift of a nonstop laugh track.

That was one year, one month and two days ago when no one seriously entertained the notion of Trump heading to the Republican National Convention in Cleveland as the presumptive nominee. But here he is, about to formally accept the GOP nomination.

He accomplished this by defying everything anyone thought they knew about big-time politics. At times it seemed he was running for president of his middle-school class instead of the most powerful office in the world.

He ran on a platform of insults, bullying and name-calling. He ignored fact-checkers. Bad manners didn’t stop him. Condemnation from some world leaders bounced off his hide like BB’s against a battleship. He could not be shamed.

Trump did it without a super PAC and without the support of most mainline Republican leaders. He wouldn’t even release his income tax records, which raises questions whether he is as “really rich” as he claims to be.

The GOP establishment didn’t realize until it was too late that its disgust toward Trump helped propel him. Millions of his supporters don’t give a hoot about any of the traditional things that are supposed to be the bedrock for national campaigns.

This is a populist revolution, and its champion is a twice-divorced, often-sued tycoon with four bankruptcies.

Many Republican members of Congress will skip the festivities in Cleveland, but his supporters won’t care.

Several large corporations have either backed out completely or greatly reduced their commitment to the convention, now that Trump will be the nominee. It forced organizers to plead with billionaire conservative Sheldon Adelson for a $6 million check to cover Cleveland’s expected shortfall for expenses.

These conventions are supposed to be heavily scripted celebratory rollouts with an eye toward the White House. Instead, the stage is set for the formal collapse of the Republican Party as we know it.

Perhaps we are even seeing a movement that will lead to the creation of a viable third party going forward. If Trump loses in November, it’s hard to see his most fervent supporters willingly returning to a party they no longer believe cares about them.

The reverse is true if Trump wins, though. Those who have been the mainstay of the GOP now look with dismay at what has been wrought by the barbarians at the gate. It’s unsure how many would want to be part of that going forward.

In an op-ed in The Washington Post, former Florida governor and failed presidential candidate Jeb Bush wrote, “Call it a tipping point, a time of choosing or testing. Whatever you call it, it is clear that this election will have far-reaching consequences for both the Republican Party and our exceptional country.

“While he has no doubt tapped into the anxiety so prevalent in the United States today, I do not believe Donald Trump reflects the principles or inclusive legacy of the Republican Party. And I sincerely hope he doesn’t represent its future.”

Trump represents the immediate future; that much is sure. Whether enough Americans buy into his malarkey to make him president is uncertain, but win or lose, Trump gave voice to those who see politics as benefiting everyone but them.

Whatever happens with Trump in charge, they figure, would have to be an improvement.

Mitch Perry Report for 7.13.16 — Conservatism is still running strong, Jeb Bush insists

Jeb Bush says whatever you want to call Donald Trump, don’t call him a conservative.

“Conservatism is temporarily dead,” the former Florida governor told Nicolle Wallace on an MSNBC special that aired Monday night. “I mean, if you look at it, we have two candidates. Donald Trump is barely a Republican. He’s certainly not a conservative.”

Bush makes the point, however, that while that might not matter much in the presidential sweepstakes, conservatism is still powerful across the country.

“I mean, the — the conservative cause isn’t just about the, you know, a presidential race. It’s about core beliefs that, if implemented properly, will lead people to a better life. And so I think outside of the hot presidential campaign, this message still resonates and it’s still important. It certainly resonates around the country.”

As has been well documented, Republicans have won a ton of elections since President Obama won office in 2008, with Democrats in control of the House and Senate. In the states, Republicans have won 900 legislative seats since ’08, and there more governors with an “R” next to their name than a “D.”

Let’s look at Florida, for example, where Republicans have dominated in the Legislature for two decades now (I had to laugh at loud when Mr. Conventional Wisdom, Mark Halperin, in trying to explain why Donald Trump is now leading Hillary Clinton in a new poll out this morning, said Florida “has been trending red RECENTLY.” Say What??)

Bush says he now understands where the GOP primary electorate is at: they’re pissed off, essentially.

“I think the difference is people don’t believe anything anybody says anymore … in politics. I don’t know if they even heard what I said. That’s the point. They — they— they didn’t — they wanted their voice heard. They still do. They’re angry for legitimate reasons. They latched onto the big horse. All of which is logical to me in retrospect. In the midst of it, it wasn’t very logical. I mean,” he said.

Nearly five months after dropping out after finishing a disappointing fourth in South Carolina, Bush now says he’s not sure he could have done anything to change the outcome. “There is some weird solace in that, I guess that I don’t have to think about it that much. … Looking back on it, I’m not sure what I could’ve done. Having a conservative record, offering conservative solutions, hopefully giving people a sense that I could’ve done the job wasn’t — wasn’t enough. And it may not have ever been enough, given the circumstances.”

Bush says he can’t vote for Trump, nor Clinton. What about the Libertarian ticket of former GOP governors Gary Johnson and William Weld? “Well, I don’t know, ” he said. “They don’t get a lot of airtime yet.”

That ticket is getting in the high single digits in some polls, though Johnson won’t be invited into the presidential debates until he hits 15 percent in the polls, which seems doubtful, but who knows?

In other news…

Elected officials, religious figures and law enforcement officers attended a press conference at City Hall in Tampa yesterday to discuss the tensions that exist between the police and the black community. No fewer than three of the public speakers all spoke about getting pulled over by local law enforcement recently.

Manatee County lawyer and activist C.J. Czaia is among the candidates vying to win the House District 70 seat being vacated this fall by Darryl Rouson.

And Brian Willis won an important endorsement in his bid to win the Hillsborough County Commission District 6 seat.

Denise Grimsley: Health care top issue for 2017 Legislature

Health care — and expanded Medicaid funds offered by the federal government — are still on the minds of many Floridians if a barrage of questions from Tuesday’s Tiger Bay of Polk County luncheon is any indication.

State Sen. Denise Grimsley, a Sebring Republican, came to the lunch prepared to discuss the accomplishments of the 2016 Florida Legislature. But as one of the key experts on health care and nursing in the Senate, she fielded many health legislation questions by the audience, made up largely of middle-aged and older voters.

They hungrily asked what the Legislature will do on health care matters in 2017.

Grimsley is well qualified to answer. As a veteran nurse, and now administrator of two hospitals in her 26th Senate District, she has fought the Florida Medical Association’s attempts to restrict services of nurse practitioners and physician assistants that have been allowed in other states.

Asked for the top issues the Legislature can expect to deal with, Grimsley — who will be there since she drew no opponent during qualifying — said health care. The second issue, she said, would be water issues dealing most notably with the need for dike repairs on Lake Okeechobee, Indian River’s continued problems and the demand by some in South Florida that the state buy up all of the sugar-growing lands.

She had candid and succinct remarks on Republican Gov. Rick Scott’s method of vetoing bills approved by both House and Senate.

“Under Jeb Bush, you knew why he was going to veto a bill, whether you liked it or not,” she said.

Grimsley said Bush laid down specific criteria that had to be met by a piece of legislation for him to sign it into law.

“Under Gov. Scott’s administration, there is no going to explain the bill or a definite system it seems to use. At times a bill is vetoed and (his) staff comes to us and says ‘Oh, we really didn’t understand,’” she said,

Asked for details on a series of bills from the past, Grimsley quipped, “Every legislative session is like having a baby. It is painful, and I just want to forget about it.”

Grimsley was asked about the attempts by her and others that finally passed legislation allowing nurse practitioners and physician assistants to prescribe narcotic drugs to patients under controlled situations. Florida was one of the very last states to allow it because of decades of pressure against from the Florida Medical Association.

“(The FMA) has lobbyists as do all special interests. And lobbyists try to justify their work to their members,” she said.

But it is really about the quality of medical care, Grimsley said, during a brief interview after her address. Many of the small towns in her district have no doctor, and the elderly often can’t travel to a city to get a medical prescription for an illness that could be cured over the weekend or a few days. Nurse practitioners working in clinics can now do that.

She also said the federal and state monies “need to follow the patient” and never really have, going to state agencies or other medical disbursement systems. A former House Budget Chair, Grimsley said expanded Medicaid money offered by the federal government would help patients and cut health care costs.

Mitch Perry Report for 7.12.16 — Will the FBI open another investigation into Hillary Clinton?

While there should be smiles in Portsmouth, New Hampshire later today when Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton have their unity rally, some things to contemplate about Clinton, a week after the FBI announced they will not indict her in the investigation of her email server while serving as secretary of state.

A majority of Americans think FBI Director James Comey let her off easily. Fifty-six percent of Americans disapprove of Comey’s decision to exonerate her, according to a Washington Post survey released Monday, while 35 percent approve.

This poll includes liberals who think that Clinton’s behavior here was a bit shady. Over three in 10 Democrats disapprove of Director Comey’s recommendation against charges for Clinton (31 percent), and the same percentage says the issue makes them worry about Clinton’s presidential responsibility. Over four in 10 liberals say the issue raises concerns about how Clinton might handle responsibilities as president, as do 36 percent of non-white Americans and 56 percent of those under age 40.

If you watched Comey’s four-and-a-half hour performance in front of the House Oversight Committee last Thursday, you saw how chairman Jason Chaffetz asked Comey if he had investigated whether Mrs. Clinton had lied under oath regarding her emails when she gave her 10-hour performance before a committee investigating her actions in the Benghazi tragedy last fall. Come said he needed a referral — Chaffetz immediately responded, “You’ll get one in a few hours.”

Well, it took a few days, but in fact, the Oversight Committee last night referred the matter formally to the FBI to investigate. The New York Times reports this morning that while legal analysts think it’s unlikely the bureau would ultimately find enough evidence to prosecute her for lying to Congress, “there might be enough to warrant opening an investigation. That alone could prove damaging to her campaign.”

To say the least. While supporters of Mrs. Clinton will maintain the Republicans should just let go of their obsession to go after her, another investigation will not help her out, folks. It won’t. This isn’t like the Republicans when they impeached Bill Clinton, and clearly overreached. The public knew the facts there, and saw the Republicans were being bullies. Here? The fact is she’s got serious trust issues.

In other news…

SD 19 candidate Augie Ribeiro pours in $300,000 of his own cash to kick-start his very late entrance into that race.

Jeb Bush emerged from exile last night to condemn Donald Trump once again, telling voters that they’ll only be disappointed if he actually gets elected in November.

Bush says he’ll “actively campaign for Pinellas County CD 13 Congressman David Jolly this fall.

House District 61 Democratic candidate Sean Shaw talks about working with the GOP if elected, guns in the Legislature, and getting “the talk” about how to handle issues with the police from his father, the late Leander Shaw, the first African-American named to the Florida Supreme Court.

The Hillsborough County Public Transportation Commission is poised to raise the fines incurred by Uber and Lyft drivers in the county, much to the distress of state Senator Jeff Brandes, a leading PTC critic.

Jeb Bush says voters will be betrayed if they support Donald Trump

We’re one week out from the Republican National Convention, but that doesn’t mean there’s unity within the GOP ranks.

In an interview to be broadcast Monday night on MSNBC, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush says Donald Trump‘s supporters will “feel betrayed” when his promises go unfulfilled if he’s elected in November.

Speaking to GOP strategist Nicolle Wallace from Kennebunkport, Maine, the vanquished presidential candidate says Trump, “To his credit, was very smart at exploiting these kind of opportunities. He’s a master at understanding how the media works — more than anybody I’ve ever seen in politics. Kudos to him, for kind of creating the environment and then manipulating the environment to his effect.”

Bush added that the “tragedy” of his nomination is that “there isn’t going to be a wall built. And Mexico’s not going to pay for it. And there’s not going to be a ban on Muslims. … This is all like a alternative universe that he created. The reality is, that’s not going to happen. And people are going to be deeply frustrated and the divides will grow in our country. And this extraordinary country, still the greatest country on the face of the Earth, will continue to stagger instead of soar. And that’s the heartbreaking part of this, is I think people are really going to feel betrayed.”

Despite the fact that he and his super PAC raised more than $150 million in his presidential campaign in 2015-2016, Bush dropped out of the race on February 20, after finishing a disappointing fourth in South Carolina, his last stand to right his struggling campaign.

A clip of the interview is shown below. You can watch the entire interview at 10 p.m. ET on MSNBC as part of a special hour anchored by Rachel Maddow and Brian Williams.

Jeb Bush says he’ll campaign for David Jolly in CD 13

Jeb Bush has formally endorsed David Jolly in his race for reelection to his seat in Florida’s 13th Congressional District in Pinellas County, and says he’ll campaign for him this fall.

“I’m excited David Jolly decided to run for his congressional seat and I plan on actively campaigning for his re-election,” said Bush in a statement sent out by the Jolly campaign. “Representative Jolly has done what any congressman should do and that’s do the job that he was elected to do. I am proud to support him in this race.”

Jolly backed Bush in his unsuccessful bid for president that ended earlier this year. He said it was an honor to receive such “enthusiastic support” from the former Florida Governor.

“Jeb worked tirelessly for all Floridians as Governor and especially for children throughout Pinellas and the entire nation as an advocate for education reform,” Jolly said in the statement. “We share this commitment to education, particularly when it comes to improving early childhood education and student readiness. I look forward to working with Governor Bush and families throughout Pinellas on these and other important priorities.”

Despite raising more than $100 million during his campaign for president over the last year, Bush had trouble breaking through with the Republican electorate during the race, and dropped out after finishing a disappointing fourth in the South Carolina primary in February. However, he remains a superstar in GOP politics in Florida, and it shouldn’t be much of a problem for him to campaign against Crist, who succeeded him in the governor’s mansion in Tallahassee back in 2006.

Crist left the GOP to run and lose as an independent to Marco Rubio in the race for U.S. Senate in 2010. After that election, Bush said Crist had “abandoned” the Republican Party and was “not welcome” to return.

In fact, Crist never did return to the GOP. He officially switched to become a Democrat in late 2012, and became the Florida Democratic Party’s gubernatorial nominee in 2014, where he narrowly lost to Rick Scott.

8 Reasons Rick Scott is the perfect veep for Donald Trump

Rick Scott is basically as awful as Donald Trump in so many ways. But before Floridians start petitioning Trump to introduce Scott to a presidential election turnout and an embarrassing loss before Scott runs for U.S. Senate in 2018, read all eight reasons.

8) Cons. Scott didn’t build his $300-some million fortune with a fraudulent university, but he did help build a company that defrauded Medicare and Medicaid by way more, paying a record $1.7 billion fine.

7) Muslims. Scott was offending Muslims and Hispanics long before Trump descended down the escalator at Trump Tower. Scott put some of his first campaign dollars into fearmongering about Muslims in “Obama’s Mosque” near Ground Zero in 2010. Also, mic cut.

6) Hispanics. Similar to Trump, and despite all evidence, Hispanics love Scott, according to … only Rick Scott. Scott claims he “won” the Hispanic vote in 2014, despite actually losing it by 20 percent.

5) Little Marco. While Trump’s insults are infamous, Scott is doing his part in Florida. He backed Trump over Rubio (and Jeb!) and is now working against Rubio in his U.S. Senate race, supporting mini-Trump Carlos Beruff, best known for unapologetically calling President Obama an “animal.”

4) Smarts. Trump could own Anderson Cooper‘s “RedicuList” segment, but Scott once got on it for insulting “everybody’s intelligence” trying to defend himself for using on-duty cops at campaign events.

3) Votes. Trump needs turnout to be as depressed as Jeb! after South Carolina. Scott has been hard at work, rolling back civil rights reforms that allowed nonviolent ex-felons to vote.

2) Money. Scott won in 2014 by outspending his opponent on TV by $33 millionRomney lost Florida by less than 1 percent in 2012, but only outspent Obama by $17 million. An extra $16 million might have bought 29 electoral votes.

1) Florida. Trump can’t win without Florida, and Rick Scott knows how to win here.

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Kevin Cate owns CATECOMM, a public relations, digital, and advertising firm based in Florida.

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