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Lenny Curry, Rick Scott sidestep questions about Donald Trump’s critique of ‘devastated’ Jax economy

At a job creation event Tuesday at Jacksonville’s Deutsche Bank, where 300 new financial services jobs were promised, had questions for Gov. Rick Scott and Mayor Lenny Curry about their endorsed presidential candidate’s description of Jacksonville being economically “devastated.”

Among Donald Trump’s assertions: “This area has been devastated by the loss of industrial jobs …. As you stand here thinking you have a good job, many of the companies in this area are negotiating to move their jobs out of the United States …. We’re going to make things in this country again, folks. We’re going to make things in Jacksonville.”

As Curry looked on, Gov. Scott said “we are doing well” economically, noting that Florida is ahead of the curve in metrics like GDP growth and labor force participation.

However, “I need a partner in the White House,” Scott said, as Florida’s performance is the “opposite” of that in Washington D.C.

When noted Scott didn’t answer the question regarding Trump’s claims of economic devastation, Scott — who runs a super PAC for Trump — invited any company with “concerns” to call him at 850-488-5063.

Curry didn’t comment either way on the economic “devastation” his city is facing, which can only be remedied by Trump, if the GOP nominee’s remarks in Jacksonville last week were reliable.

However, the mayor did speak on his appearance at a Trump rally, where he was master of ceremonies, at a time when he has repeatedly claimed he’s marshaling all his “political capital” in support of getting the pension-tax referendum over the hump Aug. 30.

“I’m a Republican. I went to a Republican rally. There’s nothing to see here,” Curry said.

“I would remind people that volunteer military people bled and died for freedom,” Curry said, pivoting to a rhetorical line that had little to do with the question asked.

Curry noted Tommy Hazouri, a former mayor and current city councilman, offered political cover for the partisan appearance.

“Hazouri said as much,” Curry said, that if a Democratic nominee came to town, any Democratic office holder would be at the rally.

Notable: a number of current Republican officeholders were elsewhere when the Trump show came to town.

The intersection of local, state, and national politics, already perilous given the marketing of a bipartisan initiative during primary season, may have been complicated further by Trump.

Time — and polling — will tell.

Written By

A.G. Gancarski has been a correspondent for since 2014. In 2018, he was a finalist for an Association of Alternative Newsweeklies "best political column." He can be reached at

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