U.S. Rep. John Rutherford was in Jacksonville Monday, supporting Vice President Mike Pence in his push to get Congress to ratify the USMCA trade agreement.
Rutherford has been a strong supporter of President Donald Trump from the 2016 campaign forward, and he sees the president as having been fruitful for Florida priorities.
That support isn’t going to waver anytime soon if the second-term Republican’s thoughts on impeachment are any indication.
“I heard the Leader Kevin McCarthy say yesterday that Rep. Justin Amash is about as Republican as Bernie Sanders,” Rutherford said about the Michigan libertarian who over the weekend said the President should be impeached.
“That gives you an idea of what they think about him,” Rutherford said.
Rutherford also addressed the recent announcement that the Panhandle would get 90 percent reimbursement of post-Michael recovery expenses.
“Relationships matter,” Rutherford said. “Particularly in politics.”
“I think having a strong relationship with the President is important,” the Jacksonville Republican said.
“The challenge we have is getting the supplemental through Congress,” Rutherford said about the aid bill stalled in Congress.
Rutherford noted that he was going to talk to VP Pence about that matter.
“The supplemental that the Democrats drew up has nothing for timber,” noting that people in the Panhandle need to be made whole.
Rutherford noted progress also on ensuring that Trump does not allow seismic testing for offshore drilling.
“The President has backed off that,” Rutherford said, “through the 2020 election.”
Rutherford, who has a bill to save the right whale, notes that a ban on seismic testing will help endangered species like that as they try to replenish stock and ward off extinction.
The congressman was also able to celebrate the White House moving away from thoughts of rescinding the Jones Act, which would be a brutal hit for Jacksonville’s shipping sector.
JAXPORT has a robust trade with Puerto Rico, handling 90 percent of goods going to the island.
“I wrote some op-eds on this,” Rutherford noted. “I think the administration heard us.”
Rutherford, despite the rhetoric of some local critics, has not walked in lockstep with the President.
The former Sheriff thought the President should push for allowing concealed carry in gun-free zones, during a discussion of gun law reforms last year.
Rutherford also defended the late Sen. John McCain against attacks by the President.
However, these clearly are bumps in the road more than dealbreakers.