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Sunburn — The morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics — 6.3.20

Your morning review of the issues and players behind Florida politics.

The day after President Donald Trump threatened to mobilize the military to keep the peace if Governors did not use the National Guard to shut down protests, Gov. Ron DeSantis says demonstrations have remained peaceful the past 24 hours.

Outcry over George Floyd’s death erupted across the country last week and into the weekend. Protests in Miami, Tampa and elsewhere across Florida and the country turned to looting and vandalism.

But after mobilizing 700 members of the Florida National Guard over the weekend and 1,300 Florida Highway Patrol troopers to support local law enforcement, DeSantis reported a peaceful day.

Ron DeSantis mobilized nearly 700 Florida National Guard troops to help control protests around the state.

“Over the past 24 hours, demonstrations have remained largely peaceful thanks to these collaborative efforts,” he said. “We will remain vigilant and stand ready in the event something changes.”

The cool-down was in large part due to curfews put in place to help law enforcement. Tampa, which deployed 100 guardsmen over the weekend, implemented a 7:30 p.m. curfew Sunday and Monday. Jacksonville had a curfew in place for just Sunday. Curfews were also in place in South Florida. 

Other areas might have seen a de-escalation due to a softer approach. St. Petersburg, Tampa’s neighbor to the west, saw relatively few issues with protesters over the weekend and into Monday. The city worked with groups to organize protests and afford ample opportunity for concerned citizens to express their outrage. 

By Tuesday, the city had gone farther, promoting Black Out Tuesday in solidarity with black civil rights, and a “shine a light” on injustice event encouraging residents to stand on their porches or in driveways every evening for nine days for eight minutes and 46 seconds, the amount of time Floyd was restrained by a knee to the neck, which ultimately took his life.

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Florida Democrats are launching a new digital ad revisiting calls by Rep. Javier Fernández for fellow Rep. Ana Maria Rodriguez to disclose ties between her campaign and former Congressman David Rivera.

Democrat Fernández and Republican Rodriguez are in a heated battle for Senate District 39. Term-limited Republican Sen. Anitere Flores currently represents SD 39, which covers all of Monroe and part of Miami-Dade counties.

Last month, the Miami Herald reported that Rivera, a Miami Republican, signed a $50 million contract to lobby the federal government on behalf of Venezuelan dictator Nicolás Maduro’s oil company.

Dime con Quién Andas,” points out the friendships Rivera shares with both Rodriguez and Maduro, adding the Spanish proverb: “Tell me who your friends are and I’ll tell you who you are.”

The new ad will run in English and Spanish on the FDP digital platforms, as well as Vamos Demócratas, the Party’s new Spanish-language platform.

To view the ad, click on the image below:

— AMERICA IN CRISIS — 

Minnesota files civil rights charge vs police in George Floyd death” via Steve Karnowski and Amy Forliti of The Associated Press — The state of Minnesota filed a human rights complaint against the Minneapolis Police Department in the death of Floyd who died after an officer pressed his knee into Floyd’s neck for minutes, even after he stopped moving. Gov. Tim Walz and the Minnesota Department of Human Rights announced the filing. “We know that deeply seated issues exist,” the Governor said. “I know it because we saw the casual nature of the erasing of George Floyd’s life and humanity.” Walz said the investigation into the police department’s policies, procedures and practices over the past 10 years will determine if the force has engaged in systemic discrimination toward people of color, and work out how to stop it.

Protesters gather at a memorial for George Floyd where he died outside Cup Foods on East 38th Street and Chicago Avenue in Minneapolis. Image via AP.

Despite Kayleigh McEnany’s pushback, Donald Trump makes it abundantly clear what he means by ‘dominate’” via Aaron Blake of The Washington Post — Yet again, the White House says, Trump is being taken out of context. After audio leaked of his phone call with Governors Monday, the media played up Trump repeatedly urging the police and military to “dominate” in response to the unrest nationwide. But White House press secretary McEnany said the President’s words were being twisted. Except that doesn’t totally fit with what Trump said. Nor does it accord with what would happen outside the White House a few hours later. The President did talk broadly on the call about dominating the streets and legal prosecutions, and he didn’t explicitly advocate cracking skulls. But throughout the call were allusions to heavy-handed policing tactics, the word “fight” and war metaphors.

GOP Senators scold Trump over St. John’s photo op” via Ursula Perano of Axios — Republican lawmakers are weighing in on Trump‘s decision to tear gas and physically clear peaceful protesters from outside the White House in order to stand in front of the historic St. John’s Episcopal Church for a photo. While some Republicans are backing the President’s actions and condemning protesters, others have criticized the decision and called for improvement. Sen. Tim Scott, the only black Republican in the Senate, said sternly on Tuesday, “If your question is, ‘Should you use tear gas to clear a path so the President can go have a photo op,’ the answer is no.”

Mitch McConnell blocks resolution condemning Trump over clearing of peaceful protesters” via The Washington Post — McConnell blocked a resolution offered by Senate Democrats that would have condemned Trump for “ordering Federal officers to use gas and rubber bullets against the Americans who were peaceably protesting” near the White House on Monday night. The resolution also would have expressed the sense of Congress “that the constitutional rights of Americans to peaceably assemble, exercise freedom of speech, and petition the government for redress of grievances must be respected” and that “that violence and looting are unlawful, unacceptable and contrary to the purpose of peaceful protests.”

George W. Bush breaks silence on Floyd” via Ursula Perano of Axios — Former President Bush wrote in a statement that he and his wife, Laura Bush, are “anguished” by the death of Floyd, and said that “it is time for America to examine our tragic failures.” It’s a stark juxtaposition when compared to fellow Republican Trump‘s response to current civil unrest. While Trump has called for justice in Floyd’s death, he’s also condemned protesters and threatened to deploy military personnel if demonstrations continue. The former President, however, made no mention of the current administration in his statement. Bush argued Americans best serve their neighbors when they “try to understand their experience.”

‘I won’t fan the flames of hate’: Joe Biden blasts Trump in Philly” via Marc Caputo of POLITICO — Biden’s speech, delivered from Philadelphia City Hall, highlighted Trump’s rhetoric and actions against the backdrop of an ongoing pandemic and a wave of protests and violence sparked by the death of Floyd. “Look where we are now and think anew: Is this who we are? Is this who we want to be? Is this who we want to pass on to our children and our grandchildren? Fear. Anger. Finger-pointing rather than the pursuit of happiness? Or do we want to be the America we know we could be?” Biden asked, echoing his campaign theme of “restoring the soul of this nation.”

From the Philadelphia City Hall, Joe Biden gave a hopeful, positive speech promising to restore the ‘soul of the nation.’ Image via AP.

USDA announces first confirmed U.S. case of a dog testing positive for coronavirus” via The Washington Post — The United States Department of Agriculture’s National Veterinary Services Laboratories announced the first confirmed case of a dog in the U.S. testing positive for the novel coronavirus. The pet dog was a German shepherd in New York state. Samples from the dog were taken after it showed signs of respiratory illness, and the dog is expected to make a full recovery. One of the dog’s owners had tested positive for the coronavirus and the other had developed symptoms. “We are still learning about SARS-CoV-2 in animals, but there is currently no evidence that animals play a significant role in spreading the virus,” the USDA statement said.

—“Governor says Texas won’t seek military support for protests” via Jamie Stengle and Paul Weber of The Associated Press

—“NJ to overhaul police use-of-force guidelines, AG says” via Mike Catalini and Wayne Parry of The Associated Press

Mayor’s office says federal officials floated idea of taking over D.C. police” via Dana Hedgpeth of The Washington Post — Attorney General William Barr personally ordered law enforcement officials on the ground to extend the perimeter around Lafayette Square just before Trump spoke Monday. According to two federal law enforcement officials, the decision had been made late Sunday night or early Monday morning to extend the perimeter around Lafayette Square by one block. John Falcicchio, the chief of staff for D.C. Mayor Muriel E. Bowser, confirmed that federal officials, including at the White House, inquired about their powers to take control of the city’s police department. He said city officials objected and would mount a legal challenge if federal officials tried to do so.

White instigators to blame for mayhem in some protests, local officials say” via Isaac Stanley-Becker — “What did I tell you?” a voice cried out as the camera recording mayhem in downtown Pittsburgh settled on a white man, clad in all black, smashing the windows of a police vehicle. “It is not black people,” the onlooker called to the crowd before addressing the vandal directly: “What are you doing?” What he was doing, authorities later alleged, was inciting riots on Saturday as the city — like dozens of others across America — was swept up in sustained unrest over the death of a black man in police custody.

Gun stocks rally on after background checks surge 75% in May” via Janet Freund and Felice Maranz of Bloomberg — Background checks for gun buyers have risen for 13 straight months, with more recent levels showing “unprecedented” strength and demand-drivers in place to continue the trend through fall. The checks for repeat buyers or first-time gun owners jumped 75% in May on an adjusted basis compared with a year earlier. It was the third straight month to see a growth of that magnitude. The latest surge is probably driven by unfilled demand from COVID, recent buying due to civil unrest and continued and perhaps heightened buying due to the upcoming election and potential for increased regulation following the election.

White nationalist group posing as antifa called for violence on Twitter” via Ben Collins, Brandy Zadrozny and Emmanuelle Saliba of NBC News — A Twitter account claiming to belong to a national “antifa” organization and pushing violent rhetoric related to ongoing protests has been linked to the white nationalist group Identity Evropa. A Twitter spokesperson said the account violated the company’s platform manipulation and spam policy, specifically the creation of fake accounts. Twitter suspended the account after a tweet that incited violence. This isn’t the first time Twitter has taken action against fake accounts engaged in hateful conduct linked to Identity Evropa.

‘The terror of wearing both a press badge and black skin’: Black journalists are carrying unique burdens” via Elahe Izadi and Paul Farhi of The Washington Post — For black journalists, the civil unrest in cities across America isn’t just a big story. It’s personal. This was underscored for Branden Hunter in Detroit Saturday night. A rifle-toting police officer walked up to a group of reporters covering demonstrations. It was Hunter, one of the few black news reporters at the Detroit Free Press and the only one on that sidewalk, who drew the officer’s attention, though he also showed his press badge. “He’s with us!” a white colleague shouted, panic in her voice. And only then did the officer walk away.

Instagram flooded with black squares to support protesters” via Alyza Sebenius of Bloomberg — Facebook Inc.’s Instagram was flooded with images of black squares on Tuesday, when users, influencers and celebrities took to the platform to express support for the protests raging across the country to oppose police brutality. The images, accompanied with hashtags including #blacktuesday, #blackouttuesday and #theshowmustbepaused, originated with a music industry display of support for the protesters, with calls for a pause in operations and blacking out stations on Tuesday.

— SITUATIONAL AWARENESS —

@JamesFallows: US history contains moments of providential good fortune: What if Washington had been a tyrant? Or if there were no Lincoln? Or FDR? And cataclysmic misfortune. Why couldn’t Booth have missed? Or Oswald? Or JERay? We’re in the latter category now. A man like this, at this time

@RepValDemings: When we impeached this president, we warned that he was a dictator in waiting. I believe now what I believed then: this president is a threat to our democracy, our families, and to us.

Tweet, tweet:

@RepDMP: We on @HouseJudiciary will protect the integrity of the Department of Justice & hold Barr accountable for his actions. We will protect the rule of law in our country. It starts with cutting his funding by $50 million.

@RepMichaelWaltz: “[The Congress shall have Power] To provide for calling forth the Militia to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions.” If what we’re seeing with Antifa & looters isn’t an insurrection as understood by the US Constitution, I don’t know what is.

@TimothyDSnyder: The Nazis transformed the regular uniformed police into racial warriors. Never again.

@ChrisLHayes: It seems almost weird to say this, but the coronavirus hasn’t changed, and hasn’t gone anywhere. Very hopeful outdoor activity + warmer weather + mask-wearing can avoid huge clusters, but real worried.

@MarcACaputo: The sudden absence of grave concern and incessant cable/national news coverage of coronavirus is hard to fathom amid all these televised images of thousands of protesters who don’t seem to be doing much social distancing

@LennyCurry: We welcome the opportunity to host the @GOPconvention in Jacksonville. A $100 million local impact event would be important for our city as an event/convention destination. The City is ready for world-class events & ready show the world we are open for business.

@JKennedyReport: As usual, @GovRonDeSantis releases history, not schedule.

@ChrisLatvala: You go to City Hall to protest and make your voice heard. Mayor comes outside to listen to you and you tell her to go home and drown her out when she tries to speak to you. Makes sense. #Tampa

@ClaireMPLS: A cool thing major labels could do today instead of posting empty social media graphics is giving black artists from the 60s/70s the ownership of their master recordings

— DAYS UNTIL —

Universal Orlando begins phased reopening — 2; PGA Tour resumes with Charles Schwab Challenge in Fort Worth — 8; Last day of state candidate qualifying — 9; “Devolution: A Firsthand Account of the Rainier Sasquatch Massacre” by Max Brooks release — 13; Belmont Stakes rescheduled — 17; Father’s Day — 18; Apple to hold Developer Conference — 19; “The Outpost” with Orlando Bloom and Scott Eastwood premieres — 30; Disney World Magic Kingdom & Animal Kingdom to reopen — 38; Disney World Epcot and Hollywood Studios to reopen — 42; Federal taxes due — 42; Christopher Nolan’s “Tenet” premieres — 44; “Mulan” premieres — 51; TED conference rescheduled — 43; Democratic National Convention in Milwaukee begins — 75; Florida primaries for 2020 state legislative/congressional races — 79; Indy 500 rescheduled — 89; Republican National Convention begins in Charlotte — 82; “A Quiet Place Part II” premieres — 93; Rescheduled running of the Kentucky Derby — 94; Rescheduled date for French Open — 108; First presidential debate in Indiana — 119; Preakness Stakes rescheduled — 122; First vice presidential debate at the University of Utah — 129; Second presidential debate scheduled at the University of Michigan — 134; Wes Anderson’s “The French Dispatch” premieres — 135; Third presidential debate at Belmont — 142; 2020 General Election — 153; “Black Widow” premieres — 155; Florida Automated Vehicles Summit — 167; “No Time to Die” premieres — 174; “Top Gun: Maverick” premieres — 223; Super Bowl LV in Tampa — 249; New start date for 2021 Olympics — 415; “Jungle Cruise” premieres — 424; “Spider-Man Far From Home” sequel premieres — 520; “Thor: Love and Thunder” premieres — 618; “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness” premieres — 650; “Black Panther 2” premieres — 703; “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” sequel premieres — 856.

— FLORIDA REAX —

Trump’s Florida allies unfazed after church photo op” via Matt Dixon of POLITICO Florida — Florida’s elected Republicans refused to join widespread condemnation of the President on Tuesday after protesters near the White House were violently moved to make way for a photo op. The stunt ignited national furor and drew shock from faith leaders. After law enforcement officers used tear gas to open a path for Trump through a crowd of peaceful protesters, the President held up a Bible at St. John’s Episcopal Church. His quick trip was to produce a campaign-style video posted on the White House Twitter account. In the presidential battleground of Florida, however, the reaction was muted among Republicans. Some sided with the President’s decision to make the one-block walk to St. John’s. Others didn’t address the issue.

Donald Trump’s photo op at the St. John’s Episcopal Church left Florida Republicans unfazed. Image via AP.

Board of Governors seek to end racism, inequality ‘wherever they exist’” via Jason Delgado of Florida Politics — As riots and protests continue to flood the streets of cities across America, the Florida Board of Governors called upon the State University System in a letter to eliminate racism, discrimination and systemic inequalities “wherever they exist.” The letter stopped short of offering any solutions toward healing the nation’s long and complex history of racial tension. It did, however, commit to drawing “upon the wisdom and leadership” within the system’s 12 institutions. “Together, we must move forward with greater resolve to battle racism and systemic inequities wherever they exist.”

Florida Speaker says Anthony Sabatini’s AR-15 tweet was ‘hypothetical,’ so it doesn’t violate House rules” via Steven Lemongello of the Orlando Sentinel — Florida House Speaker José Oliva said Republican state Rep. Sabatini’s controversial tweet of an AR-15 rifle directed at protesters did not violate House rules because any implied threat was “hypothetical.” Sabatini on Sunday tweeted a picture of a semi-automatic rifle, writing, “Attention potential ‘protesters’ coming near Lake County, FL. This is an AR-15 — this will be a very common sight upon illegal entry at any Lake County business — FYI!” Florida Democrats called for Sabatini’s Twitter account to be removed for inciting violence and Rep. Cindy Polo filed a letter of complaint against Sabatini. On Tuesday, Oliva wrote on Twitter that he concluded it was “not in my authority” to act on Sabatini’s tweet.

Cindy Polo says José Oliva should have sanctioned Sabatini — Democratic Rep. Polo issued a statement Tuesday saying Oliva should have sanctioned Sabatini over the AR-15 tweet. “I agree with the Speaker when he says that it ‘is especially important to prevent the abuse of power that could result when the majority is offended by the views of the minority.’ However, I witness power being abused all the time. It is disheartening that power is only used when convenient and not to stand up to injustices,” she said, further noting “swift action to defend a colleague who has peddled conspiracy theories, incited violence and let’s not forget, is a member of the National Guard that may be called to ‘restore peace’ among the very protesters he threatened.”

‘They came prepared to beat people up’: Jacksonville protest organizer blames cops for violence” via Drew Dixon of Florida Politics — A demonstration organizer is stunned the Saturday protest ended in violent clashes between protesters and Sheriff’s deputies. “We were home by then,” said Monique Sampson, one of the organizers of Saturday’s protest in Jacksonville. “We turned on the news and we saw tear gas canisters being deployed. We saw people being beaten up.” The Jacksonville Community Action Committee originally organized the demonstration Saturday in the wake of Floyd’s death while being detained by police in Minneapolis May 25. While the civil rights and police watchdog group acknowledged many protests turned violent Friday evening in cities across the U.S., Sampson was determined to have a peaceful march.

“‘Justice for George’: Thousands march through downtown Orlando after rally at City Hall” via Ryan Gillespie, Lisa Maria Garza and Kevin Spear of the Orlando Sentinel — Thousands of protesters marched through downtown Orlando after a Tuesday rally at City Hall in response to the death of Floyd in Minneapolis. A crowd that was in the hundreds well before a planned rally began at 3 p.m. ballooned. It stretched across the entire intersection at Orange Avenue and South Street during the rally. As speeches wrapped up around 4:30 p.m., the group began walking, chanting as they went. They soon arrived at Orlando Police Department Headquarters at South Street and Orange Blossom Trail, before pausing for about 20 minutes. “OPD, take a knee,” they chanted.

Curfews remain in effect across South Florida as protests spread” via Lisa J. Huriash of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel — Curfews will remain in place across South Florida, likely lasting through the weekend in some cases, amid the national civil unrest. Thousands of people in Fort Lauderdale, Miami and West Palm Beach have taken to the streets this week, joining the national movement to protest. Demonstrators wore masks and held signs as they marched from the Town Center mall in Boca Raton, one of several malls that closed early ahead of possible protests. A curfew for as long as seven days began Sunday in Broward County, mandating that residents stay indoors from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. and that businesses close up shop.

Demonstrators in Miami cross over a barricade as they march protesting the death of George Floyd in police custody. Image via AP.

Miami-Dade curfew could stretch into weekend, meaning a delay in beaches reopening” via Douglas Hanks of the Miami Herald — The head of Miami-Dade’s police department said he wanted a curfew to remain in place through the weekend because of the risk of civil unrest. “Around the country, things are very heated,” Freddy Ramirez told county commissioners. “That’s why I feel we should continue with the curfew through the weekend so we can have consistency. In case any of these splinter groups try to start something in our community.” Extending the curfew may further delay the reopening of beaches closed since March.

‘Key West is different.’ Hundreds march for Floyd, and sheriff calls death ‘despicable’” via Gwen Filosa of the Miami Herald — Several hundred people in Key West peacefully and somberly marched through the island’s downtown in memory of Floyd. Key West Mayor Teri Johnston denounced the police officers involved in the fatal incident and said the Southernmost City is different from other cities, with different morals and values. “Let’s show the world what a community looks like and how a community acts and how we take care of each other,” Johnston said. A crowd gathered at the park before walking through downtown, including down touristy Duval Street, with signs that read, “Black lives matter,” “I can’t breathe,” and other similar sentiments.

Tampa lifts nightly curfew” via Janelle Irwin Taylor of Florida Politics — The city of Tampa is lifting its nightly curfew effective Tuesday. The curfew went into effect Sunday night and remained in effect Monday night. No curfew will be implemented Tuesday. It had been in effect from 7:30 p.m. until 6 a.m. Tampa Mayor Jane Castor implemented the curfew Sunday after a day of peaceful protests Saturday turned to chaos as day entered the night. Problems subsided after the curfew went into effect.

Pandemic, protests pack brutal punch for Tampa’s University area” via Sue Calton and C.T. Bowen of the Tampa Bay Times — The University area has seen some improvements: a community center, a much-needed library. Restaurants Portillo’s and Miller’s Ale House have popped up along Fowler, and a Studio Movie Grill opened. “There was so much promise for the area,’’ said Commission Chairman Les Miller about the planned innovation district that could create close-to-home jobs for people in the surrounding neighborhoods. “Then all of a sudden Saturday night occurred, and it set us back,’’ he said. “It does seem like we take one step forward and then two steps backward.”

Andrew Warren condemns Floyd killing, urges peaceful protest” via Janelle Irwin Taylor of Florida Politics — Warren is speaking out about police brutality and the subsequent rioting in the wake of Floyd’s death. “George Floyd’s murder is a profound tragedy and a despicable injustice. I am struggling to make sense of Floyd’s murder, as are so many around the country,” Warren said. “We mourn for him and our thoughts and prayers are with Floyd’s family as they cope with his loss. Make no mistake, murder is murder, and if this happened in our community, I would prosecute this ex-officer.” Warren spoke out against protests that turn to violence and destruction, which he said: “Put the safety of our citizens, their homes, their businesses, and their jobs, at risk.”

Giant Confederate flag lowered after threats to set it on fire” via Anastasia Dawson of the Tampa Bay Times — The local chapter of the Sons of Confederate Veterans took down the giant Confederate flag waving above Interstate 4 after people on social media threatened to set it on fire. The call to remove the 30-foot by 60-foot battle flag came from the local chapter’s higher-ups in the Sons of Confederate Veterans, including Florida Division Commander Kelly Crocker. The state division claims ownership of Confederate Memorial Park, the small parcel of land on U.S. 92 where a 139-foot flagpole was erected in 2008 — in time to raise the flag for the 200th birthday of Confederate President Jefferson Davis. The group has rarely removed the infamous roadside attraction, like when hurricanes threatened. But never because of threats.

Three arrested at St. Pete protest had materials for Molotov cocktail, police say” via Kathryn Varn of the Tampa Bay Times — The three people arrested early Tuesday amid ongoing protests had materials to make an explosive device known as a Molotov cocktail, according to police. St. Petersburg police found a container of gasoline, bricks and “materials used to assemble crude incendiary devices commonly known as a ‘Molotov cocktail’” inside a red Mitsubishi Outlander parked near the police department at 1301 First Ave N, a detective wrote in arrest reports. Police arrested three people inside the SUV. Arrest reports indicate there may be one or more co-defendants. St. Petersburg police learned of the explosive device materials after a man — who is identified in the arrest reports as a “co-defendant” — told an undercover officer he had “bricks and cocktails” in the vehicle.

SPC President Tonjua Williams condemns police brutality, encourages empathy and education” via Janelle Irwin Taylor of Florida Politics — Williams is the latest local leader to weigh in on the Floyd death and subsequent nationwide protests. Williams expressed heartache over the May 25 killing in which a Minneapolis Police officer put his knee over Floyd’s neck, causing his death. “My heart is heavy over the act of brutality that occurred in Minneapolis, Minnesota last week, and the subsequent protests that began peacefully, but have in some cases turned violent in recent days,” Williams wrote in an open letter about the civil unrest continuing throughout the nation. Williams offered her institution as a safe haven for values that promote equality.

SPC’s Dr. Tonjua Williams condemned police brutality, offering her institution as a safe haven to promote equality. Image via TonjuaWilliams.com.

Photos: Protesters rally in downtown Sarasota” via the Sarasota Herald-Tribune — Protesters march down Main Street in downtown Sarasota in another show of support for racial justice. Demonstrations have been going on across the nation for about a week in response to the May 25 death of Floyd, who died after a white Minneapolis officer, Derek Chauvin, pressed his knee on the handcuffed black man’s neck for several minutes

Florida troopers kneel with Boca Raton demonstrators” via Hannah Winston of The Palm Beach Post — More than 200 people who marched and chanted in solidarity Monday evening in Boca Raton to protest the death of Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police. The protest began at the corner of Butts and Glades roads, near the mall’s northeast entrance. People chanted some of the last words spoken by Floyd. Boca Raton police closed roads and slowed traffic as protesters made their way into the street. First heading west and then back east, demonstrators made their way to the Interstate 95 overpass on Glades Road where they were met by dozens of Florida Highway Patrol officers.

Marchers take to the north side as protests continue in Tallahassee” via Ryan Dailey of WFSU — Holding signs and chanting “Black Lives Matter,” protesters marched up Thomasville Road from Midtown Tallahassee, past I-10. Marchers were escorted by a caravan of cars, as Tallahassee Police Department slowed traffic behind the marchers, and Florida Highway Patrol sealed off the on- and offramps at I-10 and Thomasville Road to clear the roadway. They were sparked by a week that saw the fatal police shooting of Tony McDade locally and in Minneapolis. The Tallahassee Police Department has yet to release body camera footage of McDade’s shooting.

Tallahassee city commission to meet as protesters demand police chief’s ouster” via Karl Etters of the Tallahassee Democrat — As city commissioners work through their regular meeting agenda, protesters plan to be outside City Hall, demanding the police’s chief’s firing. The Tallahassee Community Action Committee opposed Police Chief Lawrence Revell’s hiring last year because of his 1996 fatal shooting of George Williams. Now, with fatal shootings of three people in Tallahassee, the group is demanding City Manager Reese Goad remove Revell if he does not step down voluntarily. In response to the shooting of Tony McDade last week, the group plans to hold a car caravan and traditional protest outside City Hall starting at 3 p.m.

Floyd death stirs familiar pain for Corey Jones’ family” via Liz Balmaseda of The Palm Beach Post — The heartache surrounding the death of a black man at the hands of police is all too familiar to restaurant owner Rahein Jones. His cousin, beloved local musician Jones, was shot to death by a plainclothes Palm Beach Gardens police officer after his car broke down on the side of an I-95 exit ramp. Jones cautions the public to keep one detail in mind: “It takes a long time to get justice, real justice.” The peaceful protests sparked across the country in the past week are rightful demonstrations of anger and frustration, says Jones.

Marchers call for justice, police accountability” via Cindy Swirko of the Gainesville Sun — A vocal but peaceful mass of more than 1,000 protesters marched from Depot Park to Bo Diddley Plaza Saturday morning to call for justice and accountability for the deaths of African Americans at the hands of police. While the event itself happened without incident, a man was later arrested for allegedly trying to drive through a group of people who had been at the rally and pulling a gun on them. Gainesville police estimated the crowd at Depot Park to be more than 1,000 before the march started. More joined in as it went north on South Main Street, which was blocked to traffic. Once they turned east on University Avenue, drivers stopped in the westbound lane and laid on their horns in apparent support.

Interfaith leaders call for peace, justice for Floyd’” via Amanda Batchelor and Madeleine Wright of Local10.com — An interfaith news conference was held Tuesday morning in Miami Gardens as religious and community leaders called for justice, peace and unity following the death of Floyd. The news conference, which included leaders from the Christian and Islamic communities, as well as leaders from the city of Miami Gardens and Broward County Public Schools, was held outside the Antioch Missionary Baptist Church. Religious leaders are calling for protesters to remain peaceful while demanding justice for not only Floyd, but countless others.

Peaceful black lives matter protest held at Riverside Park in Bonita Springs” via Maryann Batlle of the Naples Daily News — A cardboard sign in Claudia Nieto’s hands carried the names of black people killed in police custody or who were gunned down by suspecting strangers during moments of everyday banality. The Bonita Springs resident led a peaceful racial justice protest in her city’s downtown. The group, which grew to around 30 people, also demanded immediate policing reform that would ensure the safety of black people in the United States. Protesters in Bonita Springs met at Riverside Park and moved to the public sidewalks along Old 41 Road. Passing drivers at times honked in support or shouted encouragement from open windows.

Son of former Republican Rep. Tom Rooney arrested, accused of spray-painting ‘B.L.M.’ at Trump National Golf Club” via Michael Buczyner and Erik Altmann of WPTV — Jupiter police have arrested the 18-year old son of Rooney after they said he spray-painted “B.L.M.” on the sign at Trump National Golf Club. The disappointed former Republican congressman said his son “made a mistake” and “would pay the price for it.” Thomas Joseph J. Rooney was booked into the county jail. He faces one misdemeanor count of criminal mischief causing property damage of $200 or less, according to court records. Rooney told Jupiter police he did it “because of unequal treatment in the justice system,” according to the arrest report.

Thomas Joseph J. Rooney, son of former Congressman Tom Rooney, was arrested for allegedly spray-painting ‘BLM’ at Trump National Golf Club.

FMA condemns Floyd killing — The Florida Medical Association issued a statement Tuesday on the killing of George Floyd at the hands of a Minneapolis police officer. “The Florida Medical Association is greatly saddened by George Floyd’s death and we condemn the acts of violence that, with chilling similarity, have cost human beings their lives and sense of safety. While it is tempting to describe these tragedies as ‘unthinkable,’ their effects are very real. They have taken a devastating toll on colleagues, patients, neighbors and friends,” the trade association said. FMA also pledged “to work toward a better society — by affirming our commitment to fairness and justice for all people, by recognizing that diversity is not just a worthy goal but an essential strength, and by understanding that true humanity and decency cannot coexist with racism.”

‘If you loot, we’ll shoot’: Santa Rosa Commission candidate calls out looters in video” via Jake Newby of the Pensacola News Journal — One week after the death of Floyd sparked protests around the country, a candidate for the Santa Rosa County Commission released a video saying looters aren’t welcome in the county and delivered the message: “if you loot, we’ll shoot.” James Calkins, who is running for the District 3 commission seat, posted the 25-second video to his campaign Facebook account. “One thing I believe in is property rights and protecting property rights. That is one of the foundations of our country,” said Calkins, a Republican, in a phone interview.

— CORONA FLORIDA —

After lull in coronavirus deaths, state adds 70 on Tuesday” via Romy Ellenbogen of the Tampa Bay Times — After a two-day stretch where only nine new statewide coronavirus deaths were recorded, on Tuesday the state announced 70 new deaths from COVID-19, the respiratory illness caused by the virus. Three months after the first coronavirus case was announced in Florida, 2,613 people have died in the pandemic. In Tampa Bay, there have been 367 deaths. The state also announced 617 additional positive cases, bringing the state total of positive infections to 57,447, according to data from the Florida Department of Health. That rising figure comes as people continue to protest in the streets of Tampa, St. Petersburg, and around the country over Floyd, who died at the hands of police last week.

As second month of reopening begins, Florida coronavirus testing still falls short” via the NWF Daily News — With Florida moving into its second month of an economic reopening, state testing for the coronavirus remains far below levels public health experts say is needed. With beaches getting more crowded, backyard barbecues increasingly taking place and back-to-school planning being pondered, DeSantis is acknowledging that many of Florida’s hastily established testing sites aren’t drawing sufficient people. Florida averaged 29,952 daily tests the past two weeks, a rate helped by four days where results spiked — reaching almost 78,000 one day, and more than 53,000, 41,000 and 33,000 on others.

Despite the push to reopen Florida, the state is falling short in coronavirus testing and the deaths are still coming. Image via AP.

Juvenile justice system sees more COVID-19 cases” via the News Service of Florida — New numbers showing 47 youths and 50 workers have been infected — an increase from 31 youths and 43 workers a week earlier, according to information from the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice. Seven of the youths were no longer in medical isolation Tuesday, while 20 of the workers had been cleared to return to work, the department said. Okeechobee Youth Development Center has had the most cases, with 16 youths and five workers infected. The second-highest number of infected youths was at Oak Grove Academy in Hamilton County, with nine cases. It was followed by the Volusia Regional Juvenile Detention Center, which has had seven youth cases.

‘Gargantuan effort’ to test all Florida nursing homes for COVID-19 slowed by logistical, communication challenges” via Ryan Mills and Melanie Payne of the Pensacola News Journal — The rollout of a state plan to send coronavirus tests to many of Florida’s nursing homes and assisted living facilities has been marred by logistical and communication challenges, delaying long-desired testing at eldercare centers statewide. Many facilities that were supposed to have already received testing supplies are still waiting for them. For others, they arrived with little warning on Friday of Memorial Day weekend. Some providers that did not request tests got them anyway.

Rebekah Jones, former DOH data curator, resurfaces to deny allegations, detail COVID-19 data mismatches” via Renzo Downey of Florida Politics — The woman who raised questions about Florida’s COVID-19 data after being ousted emailed reporters after a week of silence. Jones sought to flag discrepancies in the Department of Health’s (DOH) data for people tested for the novel coronavirus, but not before describing the last two weeks as “some strange sort of hell.” DeSantis‘ spokeswoman emailed reporters to say Jones was fired for a “repeated course of insubordination” and her public remarks. However, Jones claims she was wrongfully terminated for refusing to manipulate data to validate the state’s case for reopening.

— FLORIDA REOPENING —

Before schools reopen, teachers union says major changes needed” via John Kennedy of the Tallahassee Democrat — Social distancing on school buses, some classes taught remotely, personal protection gear for teaching and support staff and hand-sanitizer everywhere are just some of the recommendations from the state’s largest teachers union for the restart of school for the fall term. While state officials haven’t yet laid out plans, the Florida Education Association unveiled a sweeping, 10-page list of measures which leaders said should be in place when schools begin again in August. The union recommendations stem from a 25-member task force FEA organized to look at the reopening, which is just a little over two months away.

Assignment editors — The United Faculty of Florida (UFF) President Karen Morian and Florida Education Association (FEA) President Fedrick Ingram, Vice President Andrew Spar and Secretary-Treasurer Carole Gauronskas will release final recommendations for reopening state college and university campuses in a virtual news conference, 1 p.m. Eastern time. Media registration link: floridaea.zoom.us/webinar/register.

Florida Education Association President Fedrick Ingram says a lot must happen before schools can reopen. Image via FEA.

Is it possible? College sophomores and juniors might be squeezed out of campus dorms and traditional instruction” via Issac Morgan of Florida Phoenix — On-campus housing at Florida’s public universities could undergo a drastic face-lift in the fall, with residence halls limited to certain classes of students, according to draft recommendations. Committee members are exploring the idea of reserving on-campus housing for freshmen, seniors, and graduate students. They also suggested that on-campus living be placed off-limits to sophomores and juniors as universities begin to reopen. It’s possible that sophomores and juniors would need to use remote learning rather than regular classroom instruction.

UF releases plan for reopening” via Douglas Ray of the Gainesville Sun — The University of Florida released the draft of a reopening plan on Monday that anticipates students and faculty returning to classrooms in the fall wearing masks, keeping some distance from each other, and getting regular tests for coronavirus infection. The “UF Reopening Plan” was clearly marked as a draft that is subject to continued revision. “We have decided that we must learn to live, study, and work in the midst of COVID-19,” UF’s plan states. It requires student organizations, such as sororities and fraternities, to submit plans for maintaining health and safety to UF administrators before they can resume activities. Representatives will present their plans to the Board of Governors on June 23.

69% of St. Johns County parents support return to schools” via Travis Gibson and Joe McLean of News4Jax — Preliminary results released Monday by the St. Johns County School District show that 69% of parents support a return to school campuses this fall. So far, the district said it has received more than 16,500 responses, about 30% of families, to the survey that was sent out last week. Superintendent Tim Forson and members of the St. Johns County School Board met virtually and talked about how the district will likely move forward when the new school year begins. Forson pointed to possible capacity issues that schools may have if they are forced to follow social distancing guidelines upon reopening.

Leon Schools Superintendent Rocky Hanna withdraws from task force for reopening schools” via Casey Chapter of the Tallahassee Democrat — Leon County Schools Superintendent Hanna has withdrawn from the Florida Education Association’s task force on reopening public schools, saying he would feel uncomfortable supporting its recommendations without further study. The FEA finalized its plan for reopening Florida’s public schools. Later that day, in a meeting between the School Board and superintendent, Hanna, the only superintendent on the task force, announced his withdrawal from the task force. He did not say which recommendations, if any, he disagreed with.

Bars, lounges anxious to reopen” via the News Service of Florida — DeSantis is under increasing pressure to let bar owners again pour spirits and ring the bell for last call. Local elected officials are telling the Governor that bar and nightclub owners whose businesses rely on alcohol for 50% of revenue are getting desperate watching from the sidelines, a month into the first phase of the state’s reopening from the coronavirus pandemic. Bunnell Mayor Catherine Robinson wrote the Governor over the weekend that many of these businesses in the small Flagler County community are struggling to stay afloat. Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry last week said he was optimistic Phase II was on the near horizon, after talking with DeSantis about reopening bars that have been closed statewide since March 17.

Florida bars are anxiously waiting to reopen.

“‘The heartbeat … is gone’: Orlando restaurants report frustrations, success as they reopen amid coronavirus” via Austin Fuller of the Orlando Sentinel — As the state allows dining rooms to operate at 50% capacity after their closures because of the pandemic, Central Florida restaurants have faced mixed results. Even as taxpayer-backed loans have helped some restaurants survive, the businesses still face the challenges of keeping employees safe from the virus and luring back wary customers. But some have reported noticeable improvement. Hollerbach’s Willow Tree Café in downtown Sanford saw business plummet during the shutdown, but owner Christina Hollerbach said for the week ending May 24 it was only down about 2% compared with last year.

112-plus restaurants requiring staff to wear face masks in Fort Myers, Naples, Cape Coral” via Annabelle Tometiche of the Naples Daily News — To mask, or not to mask, that is the question. Florida restaurant workers aren’t required to wear face masks. Masks, even homemade cloth ones, are effective at reducing the number of viral particles spread through the air. To double-down on that effectiveness, diners should wear masks, too. Wear the mask into the restaurant, keeping it over your mouth and nose. When drinks or food arrive, remove the mask by touching only its ear loops or headbands. Place the mask into the baggie and leave it open to allow for airflow. When you’ve finished the food or drink, replace your mask.

With face coverings becoming a new normal, specialty mask store opens in Fort Lauderdale” via Jeff Weinsier of Local10.com — One local business owner is capitalizing on this new mask mania. He is selling all kinds of face coverings, from your basic plain face mask to one that gives you six layers of protection. George Colony owns a medical supply company but opened the doors of Masks + More at 911 N Federal Highway in Fort Lauderdale. “Our masks have five and six layers, and two melt blown layers,” Colony said. “Melt blown is a fabric they spray with fire. It melts together and it gives you proper material to give you 95 percent filtration.”

— CORONA LOCAL —

Lot J COVID-19 testing site to reopen at 10 a.m. Tuesday” via Clayton Freeman of The Florida Times-Union — The City of Jacksonville Emergency Preparedness Division announced on Twitter that the COVID-19 testing sites at Lot J and the Legends Center will open at 10 a.m. and will remain open through 5 p.m. The statement came after several contradictory statements from authorities. After saying Monday night that Lot J would reopen Tuesday morning for coronavirus testing, the city of Jacksonville announced early Tuesday that Lot J near TIAA Bank Field would remain closed for the day. The drive-thru testing site initially opened in March in response to the coronavirus pandemic and has been closed since 12:30 p.m. Saturday. The city cited public safety in announcing the earlier closure.

The COVID-19 testing site in Lot J of the city of Jacksonville’s Legends Center has reopened.

Duval Schools sets graduation ceremony dates” via Emily Bloch of The Florida Times-Union — Duval County Public Schools continues to nail down in-person graduation ceremony dates amid the coronavirus pandemic. On Tuesday, the school district announced ceremony dates school-by-school. In April, the district said it would push ceremonies to July in lieu of canceling or hosting a virtual ceremony like other Florida school districts. While July will mark the first in-person graduation ceremonies for Duval public schools, Jacksonville-based private schools already hosted in-person ceremonies. The schools opted to spread students and their families 6 feet apart in large, outdoor settings.

South Florida’s pandemic heroes saluted with new cars” via Brett Shweky of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel — The National Salute to America’s Heroes has been on the lookout for four local heroes who have helped make an impact in battling the COVID-19 pandemic. Following the cancellation of this year’s Hyundai Air and Sea Show that takes place on Miami Beach over Memorial Day Weekend, the annual event went on a mission to recognize health care workers, first responders and other individuals who have made a difference during the crisis. Out of 1,859 nominations, nurses Berkens Jean-Baptise, Lauren Ashley Green, Aubrey Talton and Dr. Makendall Saint Eloi were named winners of the Salute 365 initiatives.

Tiger Woods designates $83,333 from Match Play earnings to Palm Beach County charity” via Jodie Wagner of The Palm Beach Post — Woods, a Jupiter Island resident, designated $83,333 to Meals on Wheels of the Palm Beaches as part of his role in The Match: Champions for Charity event held May 24 at The Medalist Golf Club in Hobe Sound, the organization said. With the help of hundreds of individual donors, local foundations and a legendary golfer, Meals on Wheels of the Palm Beaches has raised more than $300,000 to provide nutritious meals to homebound seniors during the novel coronavirus pandemic. The event, which also featured PGA Tour golf champion Phil Mickelson, retired NFL quarterback Peyton Manning and Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady, raised $20 million for COVID-19 relief efforts.

Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson were featured in ‘The Match: Champions for Charity.’ Woods designated more than $83,000 to Meals on Wheels.

Despite the pandemic, real estate values are up in 2020. Here’s why” via Rebecca San Juan of the Miami Herald — Despite the pandemic, estimated taxable real estate values rose for most Miami-Dade municipalities and for all in Broward. It’s a matter of timing. Under Florida law, property appraisals are conducted in January, before the pandemic first appeared in South Florida. New construction in both counties drove pre-COVID prices higher, according to county property appraisers. In Miami-Dade, the preliminary estimated taxable value rose by 4.6% from $307.2 billion in 2019 to $322.783 billion in 2020. In Broward, it grew by 6.14%, from $199.042 billion in 2019 to $211.264 billion in 2020.

— MORE LOCAL —

Health director concerned by rise in coronavirus cases, but says hospitals are ready” via Jane Musgrave of The Palm Beach Post — With coronavirus hot spots cropping up in the region’s farming communities, youngsters being hospitalized with COVID-19 and some restaurants flagrantly violating social distancing rules, Palm Beach County’s top health official warned Tuesday that the deadly pandemic is far from over. Speaking to the county commission, Dr. Alina Alonso noted that the number of COVID-19 cases had been averaging 68 a day but in the last seven days jumped to an average of about 115 a day. Further, the county’s health director said areas in the Glades and in and around Lake Worth Beach have seen disturbing upticks in cases in the past month.

Vero Beach cancels annual July Fourth fireworks celebration over coronavirus concerns” via Max Chesnes of TCPalm — The City of Vero Beach announced the annual July Fourth celebration has been canceled over safety concerns stemming from the novel coronavirus pandemic. The event, which takes place each year at Riverside Park and includes food trucks, vendors and children’s games, was canceled for the safety of Vero Beach residents, City Manager Monte Falls said. The city is currently looking for alternative dates to host a fireworks celebration. One possible idea is to host an event that coincides with the city’s third annual beach bonfire festival in November.

Vero Beach is canceling its July 4 festivities.

— CORONA NATION —

Monster or machine? A profile of the coronavirus at 6 months” via Alan Burdick of The New York Times — The toll has been devastating. Officially, more than six million people worldwide have been infected so far, and 370,000 have died. (The actual numbers are certainly higher.) The United States, which has seen the largest share of cases and casualties, recently surpassed 100,000 deaths, one-fourth the number of all Americans who died in World War II. Businesses are shuttered — in 10 weeks, some 40 million Americans have lost their jobs — and food banks are overrun. The virus has fueled widespread frustration and exposed our deepest faults: of color, class and privilege, between the deliverers and the delivered to. Health officials fear another major wave of infections in the fall, and a possible wave train beyond.

Where the virus is growing most: Countries with ‘illiberal populist’ leaders” via David Leonhardt and Lauren Leatherby of The New York Times — The four large countries where coronavirus cases have recently been increasing fastest are Brazil, the United States, Russia and Britain. And they have something in common. They are all run by populist male leaders who cast themselves as anti-elite and anti-establishment. The four leaders, Jair Bolsonaro, Trump, Vladimir Putin and Boris Johnson, also have a lot of differences, of course, as do their countries. Yet all four subscribe to versions of what Daniel Ziblatt, a government professor at Harvard calls “radical right illiberal populism.” Illiberal populists tend to reject the opinions of scientists and promote conspiracy theories.

Coincidentally, the places where COVID-19 is spreading the fastest have leaders that are very much like Donald Trump. Image via AP.

Looting devastates businesses already shaken by virus” via Joyce M. Rosenberg of The Associated Press — Looting and vandalism in cities across the country have dealt another blow to small businesses that were already reeling from the coronavirus outbreak. Many businesses had been closed by state and local government orders as officials tried to contain the spread of the coronavirus, leaving owners with little or no revenue since March. Now, already facing an uncertain future amid ongoing restrictions related to the virus, owners must figure out how to rebuild or relocate their companies.

‘A national disgrace’: 40,600 deaths tied to U.S. nursing homes” via Marisa Kwiatkowski, Tricia L. Nadolny, Jessica Priest Mike Stucka of the USA Today — Over the last three months, more than 40,600 long-term care residents and workers have died of COVID-19 — about 40% of the nation’s death toll attributed to the coronavirus. That number eclipses a count released Monday by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the federal government’s first attempt at a comprehensive tally. CMS said 25,923 residents had died, but its number only includes federally regulated nursing homes, not assisted living facilities. Seven states did not provide the number of deaths in long-term care. And New York, the state with the most resident deaths, doesn’t include those who had been transferred to hospitals in its count of long-term care fatalities.

7 in 10 Americans would be likely to get a coronavirus vaccine” via Amy Goldstein and Scott Clement of The Washington Post — About 7 in 10 Americans say they would get a vaccine to protect against the novel coronavirus if immunizations were free and available to everyone. The nationwide survey finds that a majority of people of all political affiliations are interested in receiving such a vaccine. But the extent of that interest varies along partisan lines, with slightly more than 8 in 10 Democrats saying they would definitely or probably get vaccinated, compared with slightly fewer than 6 in 10 Republicans.

Mass protests could undo hard-won progress in pandemic” via Alice Miranda Ollstein, Brianna Ehley, Dan Goldberg and David Lim of POLITICO — Mass protests over police brutality have shuttered coronavirus testing sites, complicated efforts to track people who have been exposed and set off fears among local officials that the unrest could spark fresh waves of virus infection. Public health officials are already worried about caseloads rising and hospitals filling as states reopen and people venture out, sometimes in defiance of ongoing social distancing guidelines. And many of the neighborhoods affected by the violence are already bearing a disproportionate burden of the epidemic.

White House coronavirus testing czar to stand down” via Selena Simmons-Duffin of NPR — Adm. Brett Giroir told a meeting of the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS that he will be “demobilized” from his role overseeing coronavirus testing at FEMA in a few weeks and going back to his regular post at the Department of Health and Human Services. An HHS spokesperson confirmed the plan for Giroir to stand down from his role and indicated that there are no plans to appoint a new “head of efforts” for coronavirus testing. Giroir was appointed to the testing position in March at a time when the U.S. was struggling to ramp up testing capacity as coronavirus was spreading. When Giroir took charge, on March 12, there were only 5,247 tests done per day nationally.

White House coronavirus czar Brett Giroir is standing down. Image via AP.

‘You could see the train wreck coming’: Inexperienced, dubious companies among many aiming to cash in on coronavirus antibody tests” via David Heath, Donovan Slack, and Kevin McCoy of the USA Today — Paul Edalat’s company, Vivera Pharmaceuticals, is one of more than 150 with the FDA’s blessing to sell coronavirus antibody tests, tests that could become vital gatekeepers to reopening America. Before the pandemic, the Food and Drug Administration barred him from selling dietary supplements after his company failed a string of inspections. The FDA’s list of tests has included those from companies with little to no background in medical testing, including one that sells vape pens and one headed by a self-proclaimed technology evangelist.

— CORONA ECONOMICS —

Your next stimulus check could be higher, if the HEROES Act gets signed as House Democrats want” via Matthew Frankel of the USA Today — Democrats in the House of Representatives recently announced a new “round four” stimulus package designed to help the United States economy weather the storm of the COVID-19 pandemic. The legislation would provide another round of economic impact payments, better known as stimulus checks, to individual Americans. The direct payments proposed in the new legislation would be of the same $1,200 size as the Economic Impact Payments included in the CARES Act.

Nancy Pelosi is pushing the fourth round of coronavirus stimulus — the HEROES Act. Image via AP.

My boss wants me to return to work now. So, what should I do with my child?” via C. Isaiah Smalls II of the Miami Herald — When parents get the call to return to the office, they’ll have a difficult decision to make: What to do with their kids. Some camps have gone virtual, but a computer won’t watch your 5-year-old. That raises the question of whether camps that are open are safe and, if not, what about babysitters or even grandparents? Hiring a babysitter is all about weighing the cost versus the benefit. When having grandparents watch children, the biggest threat will be to the grandparent as people 65 and older are considered to be in the high-risk group for contacting COVID-19.

One-third of America’s record unemployment payout hasn’t arrived” via Shawn Donnan and Catarina Saraiva of Bloomberg — Almost one-third of unemployment benefits estimated to be owed to the millions of Americans who lost their jobs as a result of the coronavirus slump haven’t been paid yet, as flagship policies struggle to cope with the unprecedented wave of layoffs. The Treasury disbursed $146 billion in unemployment benefits in the three months through May. Even that historic figure falls short of a total bill that should have reached about $214 billion for the period. The bill is still mounting. Economists estimate that another 1.8 million people filed for unemployment last week.

Port Canaveral CEO says government is unfairly singling out cruise industry on coronavirus” via Dave Berman of Florida Today — Port Canaveral Chief Executive Officer John Murray says the cruise industry is taking an “unfair hit” from the federal government’s coronavirus-related no-sail order that now extends to July 24. Murray contends that the order from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has the effect of unjustly earmarking the cruise industry “as the folks that brought to the United States, and that’s far from the truth.” Four cruise lines sail from Port Canaveral. They make Port Canaveral the world’s second-busiest cruise port, behind PortMiami, based on passenger volume.

— MORE CORONA —

Experts dispute reports that coronavirus is becoming less lethal” via Joel Achenbach, Ariana Eunjung Cha, Ben Guarino and Chelsea Janes of The Washington Post — Alberto Zangrillo, head of San Raffaele Hospital in Milan, said “the virus clinically no longer exists in Italy,” with patients showing minute amounts of virus in nasal swabs. The statement prompted vigorous pushback from Michael Ryan, a top official with the World Health Organization, who said “we need to be exceptionally careful not to create a sense that all of a sudden the virus by its own volition has now decided to be less pathogenic. That is not the case at all.” The consensus among other experts interviewed Monday is that the clinical findings in Italy likely do not reflect any change in the virus itself.

Experts are debating the true lethality of coronavirus.

U.S. cases rise 1.2%; NYC keeps Monday reopening” via Bloomberg News — New York City still plans to begin reopening Monday, while Gov. Andrew Cuomo warned that mass protests against police violence could accelerate the spread of coronavirus and undo weeks of social-distancing efforts. Coronavirus cases in the U.S. increased by 1.2% as compared with the same time Monday, to 1.82 million. That’s higher than Monday’s 1% rate, and in line with the average over the past seven days. Deaths rose 0.9% to 105,644.

Americans are delaying medical care, and it’s devastating health care providers” via Ted Melnick, Laris Karklis and Andrew Ba Tran of The Washington Post — As coronavirus infections spread and sickened more people in March, visits to hospitals around the country actually began to drop off. As in many other industries, those lost visits represented a widespread financial crisis for hospitals and other health care providers, even in places the novel coronavirus hardly touched. Many of the nation’s hospitals can ill afford these losses. A third were already losing money on patient care before the virus hit. More than 1,200 hospitals operated in the red in two or more of the last five years.

Airport fever screenings for coronavirus raise racial discrimination, privacy concerns” via Letitia Stein and Brett Murphy of the USA Today — A federal plan to screen air travelers for a fever to detect the coronavirus is drawing scrutiny from a government watchdog officer worried about risking privacy intrusions and racial discrimination without evidence that such checks will keep Americans safer. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has been investigating the use of body measurement calculations, such as facial recognition and fingerprinting technology, in airport security.

Famed European museums begin to reopen from the coronavirus shutdown: ‘A day to celebrate’” via Raf Casert and Peter Dejong of the USA Today — As Europe slowly emerges from the coronavirus pandemic, Monday let a brilliant ray shine through the gloom as several of the top museums globally reopened to flaunt their riches. Across the continent, museum officials rejoiced as visitors were let in again. Some 1,600 people reserved tickets in advance to see the Sistine Chapel and its sublime walls and ceilings on the first day the Vatican Museums opened to the public after a three-month coronavirus shutdown. During peak summer months, the Vatican Museums routinely would have an hourslong line of tourists waiting to enter since there was no advance reservation system to schedule visit times.

A limited number of visitors admire Rembrandt’s Night Watch at the reopened Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, Netherlands. Image via AP.

Parisians savor more than the coffee as cafés reopen” via Adam Nossiter of The New York Times — Parisians could once again sit down with one another, separately. They could be convivial without getting too close to one another, a French ideal. They could be in roughly the same space together, without ever having to talk to one another (only tourists talk across neighboring tables to strangers, a strict Parisian no-no). They could linger for hours if they needed to: the essential difference between the French cafe and its trans-Atlantic cousin. On a brilliant spring day, the moment could be savored, even if with reserve, restraint and logic. “It’s obviously the most important turning point for returning to true Parisian life,” said Michel Wattebault.

Latin America, Caribbean reopening economies. But COVID-19 still sharply rising.” via Jacqueline Charles, Jimena Tavel and Nora Gámez Torres of the Miami Herald — With Latin America and the Caribbean registering more than 250,000 new infections of COVID-19 over the past week, the entire region of the Americas now account for more than half of new cases reported globally and should serve as a wake-up call to redouble efforts to deal with the pandemic. The region is now nearing 3 million confirmed cases and the epidemiological curve is still rising sharply in many countries.

USDA announces first confirmed U.S. case of a dog testing positive for coronavirus” via The Washington Post — The United States Department of Agriculture’s National Veterinary Services Laboratories announced the first confirmed case of a dog in the U.S. testing positive for the novel coronavirus. The pet dog was a German shepherd in New York state. Samples from the dog were taken after it showed signs of respiratory illness, and the dog is expected to make a full recovery. One of the dog’s owners had tested positive for the coronavirus and the other had developed symptoms. “We are still learning about SARS-CoV-2 in animals, but there is currently no evidence that animals play a significant role in spreading the virus,” the USDA statement said.

— D.C. MATTERS —

Trump uses Russia as a shield, or weapon, in fight with European leaders over future of Group of Seven” via Anne Gearan of The Washington Post — The on-again, off-again saga of this year’s Group of Seven economic meeting has had several plotlines. Trump first announced he would host it himself at his Doral golf resort in Florida. Then, after criticism over his decision to use his private business as the site of a government event, the annual meeting was relocated to the woodsy Camp David retreat in Maryland. The coronavirus pandemic then led to it being rescheduled as a virtual event. It wasn’t until that last plot twist that Trump raised what seemed the dormant, and fraught, question of whether Russia should again be included in the clubby annual meetings.

Trump’s unexpected ally in the fight against tech” via John Hendel of POLITICO — Brendan Carr, the junior Republican on the Federal Communications Commission, who is embracing a flavor of distinctly Trumpian rhetoric that could help him leapfrog his way to the chairmanship of the five-member regulatory agency. The FCC, though it has no direct authority over social media, could play a key role in assisting Trump‘s efforts to rein in the power of Twitter and other online companies. Carr has caught Trump’s attention in the past week with a series of appearances on conservative and business-oriented television shows, in which the commissioner backed the President’s fight against platforms like Twitter.

Brendan Carr, the junior Republican on the Federal Communications Commission, is using Trumpian rhetoric that could propel him to chair.

Veterans Affairs backs down, agrees to remove gravestones with swastikas, praise for Adolf Hitler” via Anthony Man of the Orlando Sentinel — The federal government is taking steps to remove headstones that bear swastikas and praise for Hitler from veterans cemeteries. The Department of Veterans Affairs run by Trump had resisted taking action, but reversed itself Monday evening after pressure from Democratic and Republican lawmakers who are in charge of the agency’s spending. “VA’s initial decision to leave the gravestones in place was callous and irresponsible, but [Monday’s] decision is an honorable move in the right direction,” U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz.

Florida judge confirmed to serve on federal bench” via the News Service of Florida — John Badalamenti, a judge on Florida’s 2nd District Court of Appeal, was confirmed by the U.S. Senate to become a federal district judge. The Senate voted 55-22 to confirm Badalamenti to serve as a judge in the Middle District of Florida, an area that stretches from Fort Myers to Jacksonville and includes Orlando and Tampa. Former Gov. Rick Scott appointed Badalamenti to the state appeals court, which hears cases from the Tampa Bay area, Lakeland and Southwest Florida. Scott and U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio voted to confirm. Badalamenti’s background includes serving as a law clerk for two federal appellate judges and working for the law firm Carlton Fields and in the federal public defender’s office in Tampa.

— STATEWIDE —

Cristobal forms as third storm of year” via the News Service of Florida — Tropical Storm Cristobal formed in the Gulf of Mexico, the third named storm of 2020. The National Hurricane Center said the slow-moving system, with 35 mph sustained winds, was located about 140 miles west of Campeche, Mexico. The initial forecast put the system traveling north toward the Gulf Coast this weekend. “Newly named Tropical Storm Cristobal is strengthening in the Gulf,” a tweet on the feed of the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles and Florida Highway Patrol said. “It could go anywhere from Texas to Florida. Don’t wait to get prepared for a hurricane.”

Tropical Storm Cristobal is forming in the Gulf of Mexico, the third named storm of the newly begun hurricane season.

Medicaid enrollment proposal spurs questions” via Christine Sexton of the News Service of Florida — Florida Medicaid officials may have overstepped their authority when they asked the federal government to waive for the next four years a requirement that frail and elderly Medicaid beneficiaries have 90 days to enroll in the program. DeSantis’ administration made the request as it sought broader approval to keep intact the state’s use of private health plans as part of a mandatory Medicaid managed-care program. The issue stems from a federal law that directs state Medicaid programs to provide 90 days of retroactive coverage to give people time to apply for Medicaid following traumatic incidents or diagnoses of illnesses. But Medicaid officials are now asking — without legislative direction — for the federal government to approve extending the change through 2024.

Supreme Court weighs reinstating death sentences” via Jim Saunders of the News Service of Florida — Some justices appeared skeptical of arguments by lawyers in Attorney General Ashley Moody’s office, who said the January ruling should lead to reinstating death sentences for Bessman Okafor, who was convicted in a 2012 murder in Orange County, and Michael James Jackson, who was convicted in two 2005 murders in Duval County. Both men were initially sentenced to death but had those sentences set aside because of a 2016 Supreme Court ruling that, in part, required unanimous jury recommendations before defendants could receive the death penalty. Okafor and Jackson have been awaiting new sentencing hearings in lower courts since 2017.

All 570 Daytona racing greyhounds find new homes” via the NWF Daily News — On March 20 the Daytona Beach Racing & Card Club suspended dog racing and immediately set about the task of finding 570 greyhounds new homes. Mission accomplished, according to Fred Guzman, who is president of the gambling facility. The last Daytona greyhound was adopted on May 15 thanks to a group effort by Guzman’s team, led by operations director Michael Stringer, and several dog placement agencies, including the local chapter of Box to the Wire Greyhound Adoption Inc.

— 2020 —

Trump’s reelection chances are dwindling” via Jonathan Bernstein of Bloomberg Opinion — After a month of bad news, Trump’s approval ratings have taken another hit. He’s in serious trouble for reelection. Most of the damage is on the disapproval side. On May 1, Trump was at 43.3% approval and 50.7% disapproval. Although his approval is down just a bit, to 42.9%, his disapproval is up another three percentage points and sits at 53.6%. Two months ago, Trump was getting his best approval numbers since his brief honeymoon; now, he’s lost all of that and is back to where he’s been for most of the past two years.

North Carolina Governor rejects GOP’s demand for full-fledged convention” via Maya King and Alex Isenstadt of POLITICO — North Carolina’s Democratic Governor, Roy Cooper, rejected the GOP’s plans for a full-fledged convention in Charlotte, telling Republican officials the only way the convention would move forward is with proper health protocols in place. “The people of North Carolina do not know what the status of COVID-19 will be in August, so planning for a scaled-down convention with fewer people, social distancing and face coverings is a necessity,” Cooper wrote in a letter to the Republican National Committee. The letter is a rebuke of the fully-attended convention that the RNC and Trump have been pushing for despite concerns about the spread of the coronavirus.

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper Is dismissing a full-fledged Republican National Convention.

Republicans to tour Nashville as potential convention site” via Alex Isenstadt of POLITICO — Republican National Committee officials are considering Nashville and other locations as potential sites for the GOP convention amid a standoff with North Carolina over whether it will allow the party to hold it in Charlotte as planned. Party officials are expected to make a trip to Nashville later this week, likely Thursday or Friday. Nashville is one of several locations in which Republicans are expressing interest. Others include Las Vegas; Orlando, Fla.; Jacksonville, Fla.; and Georgia.

As Trump attacks voting by mail, GOP builds 2020 strategy around limiting its expansion” via Amy Gardner, Shawn Boburg and Josh Dawsey of The Washington Post — Trump’s persistent attacks on mail-in voting have fueled an unprecedented effort by conservatives to limit the expansion of the practice before the November election, with tens of millions of dollars planned for lawsuits and advertising aimed at restricting who receives ballots and who remains on the voter rolls. The strategy reflects the recognition by both parties that voting rules could decide the outcome of the 2020 White House race amid the electoral challenges posed by the coronavirus pandemic.

Republicans fear Trump’s criticism of mail-in ballots will hurt them” via Trip Gabriel of The New York Times — Trump has relentlessly attacked mail voting, calling it a free-for-all for cheating and a Democratic scheme to rig elections. None of the charges are true. Republican officials and strategists warned that if a wide partisan gap over mail voting continues in November, Republicans could be at a disadvantage, an unintended repercussion of the President’s fearmongering. The President’s baseless claims that mail voting leads to widespread fraud are working at cross-purposes to the Pennsylvania Republican Party’s efforts to increase mail voting.

Lincoln Project pins Trump with Confederate ‘flag of treason’” via Jacob Ogles of Florida Politics — A new ad from The Lincoln Project ties Trump to the Confederate flag. And the group isn’t afraid to take the message on the air in a couple of Southern states. The anti-Trump Republican group purchased airtime in six swing states, including Florida and North Carolina, to run “Flag of Treason.” “The men who followed this flag 150 years ago knew what it meant,” the ad begins. But Trump has refused to decry the flag. Worse, the ad notes, he’s rushed to the defense of neo-Confederates in the past.

Does Joe Biden have an enthusiasm problem?” via Aaron Blake of The Washington Post — A poll this week from The Washington Post and ABC News had some rough findings for Trump — chief among them being his 10-point deficit to Biden. But Trump, ever the optimist, found something he liked quite a bit in the poll. “Biggest ‘enthusiasm’ lead ever!” he declared. That may be characteristically overstated, but Trump does have a point. The Post-ABC poll does show a major enthusiasm gap between him and Biden. While 69% of Trump supporters said they were “very enthusiastic” about supporting him, just half that number — 34% — said the same in Biden’s case. To the extent that enthusiasm matters in presidential elections, Trump has an unusually large lead.

While America struggles for its soul, Biden struggles for relevance” via John F. Harris of POLITICO — The condemnations of Trump and his policies assign the President an undeniable agency. There is a clear link between ideas and consequences. People excoriate Trump, and in so doing ratify his relevance. Relevance is the quality needed most urgently now by Biden. This is a moment that challenges more than his limited stylistic range. Biden, wearing a mask and taking notes, met with African American religious leaders in his hometown of Wilmington, Del. It was his most extended in-person event in weeks.

Val Demings on Floyd, protests, police, and ‘the ghost in the room’” via Scott Powers of Florida Politics — Demings, now a top prospect to be the Democrats vice presidential candidate on Biden‘s ticket, gave her perspective on centuries of racism in America; how that affects police efforts to be one with the communities they serve; why Floyd’s death under the knee of a Minneapolis police officer stirs powerful responses; and why political leaders fail or succeed to address the growing anger in the demonstrations. “We have got to acknowledge, sometimes painfully, that racism is still the ghost in the room,” Demings said. “This is not a black problem, although black people are at the fore of it. It’s about disparate treatment of African Americans in this country. But that is an American problem.”

Val Demings speaks candidly about George Floyd and the persistent racism in America. Image via AP.

First on #FlaPol Personnel note: Max Steele joins American Bridgevia Drew Wilson of Florida Politics — American Bridge PAC welcomed Steele to its “Trump War Room” this week. “Excited to announce that this week I started at American Bridge as Senior Adviser for Communications for the Trump War Room,” Steele said in an email. “I’m sure I’ll be bugging some of you in the not too distant future with Trump Admin pitches. In the meantime, if there’s anything you need from me or from Bridge, please don’t hesitate to reach out.” Steele has a wealth of experience in communications — he was the Florida Democratic Party’s communications director during the 2016 election cycle, later serving as senior communications director for the Pennsylvania Democratic Party. Through March, he was the director of rapid response for U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar’s presidential campaign.

Personnel note: Maggie’s List names new senior finance consultant — Maggie’s List named Ann Woods Herberger as its senior finance consultant, who will lead fundraising efforts to support the organization’s endorsed candidates in 2020. “We are thrilled to have Ann join us in the fight to elect our endorsed candidates for office in districts and states across the country,” said Maggie’s List Chairman Sandra Mortham. “Ann brings considerable firepower to our existing national grassroots network and has the capability to enhance our efforts in a way that very few political professionals possess.” Herberger is a native Iowan who got her start on George H.W. Bush’s 1988 presidential campaign. In 1995, Ann started The Woods Herberger Group a full-service fundraising consulting business. Maggie’s List is a PAC focused on electing conservative women to federal office.

— MORE FROM THE TRAIL —

GOP fundraiser in Key West still on — Top Senate Republicans, undeterred by the pandemic and widespread protests, are planning to hold a fundraiser in Key West sometime in the next few days. As reported by Matt Dixon of POLITICO Florida, Senate President-Designate Wilton Simpson, who is in charge of the GOP’s Senate campaign arm, said the cancellation was discussed “but our economy is based on tourism, and Keys has been hit unusually hard, so we thought the event was a good way to help them recover. It felt like this event is something we should still do.”

In District 10 House race, a Republican challenger calls for improved infrastructure” via the Orlando Sentinel editorial board — A Republican hoping to challenge Demings in the U.S. House District 10 race said he wants to see more spending for infrastructure and to help small business. Willie Montague, who runs a nonprofit in Orlando called House of Timothy, said his other priorities include better health care for the region’s homeless population and more programs to help youth. Montague is one of two Republicans who will be on the Aug. 18 primary ballot. The other is attorney Vennia Francois, who was invited to a video meeting with Montague but did not attend.

Conservative Republican Willie Montague is hoping to oust Val Demings from Congress.

Rachel Brown moves from protests to ballot in SD 27” via Jacob Ogles of Florida Politics — From a protest in Fort Myers, Democrat Brown said the scene looked different from violence across America. “Protest was perfect today. Complete peace and there were some watchers taping,” she told Florida Politics in a text. Hers is a different kind of Senate run for Southwest Florida, she faces a longtime state lawmaker — Republican Ray Rodrigues, a heavy favorite — who cut his teeth in politics over eight years in the Legislature, two as a House Republican Leader. For Brown, a first-time candidate in her early 20s, the streets have been her candidate training institute. “I’ve done a lot of protests for climate and for other organizations in the area,” she said.

Candidates lineup for state House races” via the News Service of Florida — Republican House members Jayer Williamson, Brad Drake and Ralph Massullo and Democrat Ben Diamond have drawn challengers in recent days. Crestview Democrat Angela Hoover opened an account to run against Williamson in House District 3. In nearby House District 5, Freeport Democrat Anita Huffman opened a campaign account to challenge Drake. Meanwhile, Hernando Democrat Dushyant Jethagir Gosai opened an account to run against Massullo in House District 34. In the Tampa Bay area, St. Petersburg Republican Matt Tito opened an account to challenge Diamond in Pinellas County’s House District 68. Also, Democrat Linda Tripp opened an account to try to succeed term-limited Rep. Cary Pigman, in House District 55.

— TOP OPINION —

A spiraling nation cries out for steady leadership. Trump offers empty threats.” via Dana Milbank of The Washington Post — This has always been a presidency of empty threats. But as the country spirals into ever lower depths of disaster — health crisis, economic collapse, racial strife, violence in the streets — Trump’s trademark combination of tough talk and woefully ineffective action has become his standard M.O. Americans are crying out for a steady hand, not the gassing of peaceful demonstrators so a Bible-waving President can stage a churchyard photo op. All Trump offers in answer to the nation’s epic calamities are bluster and weakness. What problems he doesn’t cause he makes worse. The question is whether his countrymen will pardon him for his failure during this hour of need. When we most need strong and steady, he has given us weak and mouthy.

— OPINIONS —

Trump vowed to disrupt Washington. Now he faces disruption in the streets.” via Mark Leibovich of The New York Times — One of the recurring themes of the last three and a half years is that Trump has disrupted Washington, just as his voters demanded. Until recently, the day-to-day existence of so-called official Washington has felt anything but disrupted. In recent nights, the streets around the White House have been clogged with thousands of protesters. The crowds have been multiracial and comprised a free-for-all of purposes. Flames engulfed St. John’s Episcopal Church near the White House, where two decades of Presidents have come to worship, the so-called Church of the Presidents.

Trump has declared war on part of the United States” via Randy Schultz of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel — Trump was having a very bad week before a Minneapolis cop murdered Floyd. Then came the Floyd killing. Trump warned on Twitter that protesters at the White House could be “really badly hurt” by “some of the most vicious dogs and most ominous weapons I have ever seen.” Hoping that Donald Trump could try to heal the country is like hoping that Freddie Krueger could scrub up and assist during surgery. As Trump sees it, chaos diverts attention from his administration’s inept COVID-19 response.

Don’t call in the troops” via The Wall Street Journal editorial board — Trump lectured Governors on Monday that they should get tougher and “dominate” lawbreakers who are looting stores, burning buildings and assaulting police. His words were blunt and unsympathetic as usual, but he’s right that public order is first and foremost an obligation of state and local government. The Governors and mayors need to protect the innocent if they don’t want the federal government to call in the military to patrol their streets instead.

Floyd protests call for a stronger vaccine against systemic racism” via The Palm Beach Post editorial board — America is battling a virus. A virus called racism. And like the novel coronavirus that causes the deadly disease, COVID-19, racism infects, spreads and, too often, kills. Marches and protests, acknowledgments and community outreach, legislation for civil rights and voting rights, better law-enforcement training, they’ve all pointed us to a cure, but only to limited success. This time, America needs a more proven vaccine to battle the virus. As a start, root out and fire the bad police who are making the job of good police that much harder.

A national outcry for better leadership” via the South Florida Sun-Sentinel editorial board — It is a tribute to America that so many people have turned out to peacefully protest yet another indefensible police killing of an unresisting black citizen. The ensuing violence, some of it obviously coordinated, is equally inexcusable. Those who commit such crimes are as great a danger to society as rogue cops are. Nothing in the law, though, supports the use of the U.S. military where civilian authorities have not shown themselves to be helpless. Trump’s threats feed the schemes of extremists who believe that destabilizing America helps their subversive ambitions.

— TODAY’S SUNRISE —

Gov. DeSantis says there’s been a lull in the violence that arose from protests against police brutality in the state. Hopefully, it will stay that way.

Also, on today’s Sunrise:

— There were 70 more fatalities from COVID-19 in Florida, making it one of the worst days on record. Now, there are 57,447 confirmed cases of coronavirus in the Sunshine State — an increase of more than 600 in one day.

— The Florida Education Association releases its plan for the safe reopening of public schools. The teachers want COVID-19 testing for everyone on campus and social distancing, even on school buses. They also want the state to suspend school grades and other accountability procedures during the upcoming school year.

— A deep dive into two cases at the Florida Supreme Court where Attorney General Ashley Moody is asking for another chance to execute former death row inmates spared by the courts in 2017. But her lawyers ran into a lot of skepticism when they made their case to the high court.

— Today’s Florida Man story includes a somewhat-famous Florida Woman — Carole Baskin. If you have Netflix, you know who she is.

To listen, click on the image below:

— INSTAGRAM OF THE DAY —

 

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Standing up for racial justice on this #blackouttuesday @1199seiu

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— ALOE —

Trump said, ‘I have the best words.’ Now they’re hers.” via James Poniewozik of The New York Times — The actions belong to the comedian Sarah Cooper, whose homemade lip-syncs of the President’s rambling pandemic-related statements have become the most effective impression of Trump yet. Plenty of wags seized on Trump’s bleach prescription for easy jokes, but her performance gets at something deeper: the peacocky entitlement of the longtime boss who is used to having his every whim indulged, his every thought-doodle praised as a Michelangelo. Her karaoke Trump holding forth on the math of disease testing and wrestling with what it means to test “positively” for a virus.

Comedian Sarah Cooper went viral with a TikTok lip-sync of Donald Trump. Image via Sarah Cooper.

SpaceX proceeding toward eighth launch of Starlink satellites from Cape Canaveral” via Emre Kelly of Florida Today — After successfully taking astronauts to orbit over the weekend, SpaceX is still targeting Wednesday night for the launch of another batch of Starlink internet satellites from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. If schedules hold, a Falcon 9 rocket will boost 60 of the flat-packed satellites to low-Earth orbit from Launch Complex 40 at 9:25 p.m. The window to launch closes about 30 minutes later. Anticipated weather conditions are trending favorably for the most part, with the Space Force anticipating 70% “go” conditions during the window.

Florida Holocaust Museum continues its mission beyond St. Petersburg” via Maggie Duffy of the Tampa Bay Times — While the Florida Holocaust Museum has been closed to the public since March 16, it continues to offer teachers and students educational resources. “We have been aiding implementation of Florida’s Required Instruction for Holocaust education by providing teacher training, relevant classroom programs, and quality resources across the state, free of charge, for over 28 years,” executive director Elizabeth Gelman stated in the release. Gelman also said that the museum has been holding virtual training for teachers throughout the state and will continue to do so in June.

Lowest Florida June 1 gas prices in 17 years” via NorthEscambia.com — June begins with the lowest gas prices in Florida since 2003. The average price per gallon in the state was $1.90 per gallon, 70 cents less than one year ago. In Escambia County, the average price was $1.80 per gallon Sunday night. In North Escambia, a low price of $1.67 could be found at a station in Cantonment.

A drive-in rave hits Florida this weekend. DJs explain how it’ll work” via Jay Cridlin of the Tampa Bay Times — Coming on the heels of drive-in raves this past weekend in Houston and Phoenix, Orlando’s Road Rave features headliner Carnage along with Blunts and Blondes, Riot Ten, Nitti Gritti and Gravedgr. Parking spaces sold out within 24 hours; tickets sold out not long thereafter. A plethora of rules abound: Six fans to a car, people can’t leave their space, face masks required, and concessionaires roaming in golf carts taking snack orders from food trucks. For the artists, too safety will be paramount with no fan meet-and-greets, plenty of distancing backstage, and masks on the main stage.

— HAPPY BIRTHDAY —

Celebrating today is Robert Agrusa, the president of the Apopka Chamber of Commerce and political consultant Mark Proctor.

___

Sunburn is authored and assembled by Peter Schorsch, Phil Ammann, A.G. Gancarski, Renzo Downey and Drew Wilson.

Written By

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including Florida Politics and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. Schorsch is also the publisher of INFLUENCE Magazine. For several years, Peter's blog was ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.

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Florida Politics is a statewide, new media platform covering campaigns, elections, government, policy, and lobbying in Florida. This platform and all of its content are owned by Extensive Enterprises Media.

Publisher: Peter Schorsch

Contributors & reporters: Phil Ammann, Renzo Downey, Rick Flagg, A.G. Gancarski, Joe Henderson, Janelle Irwin, Jacob Ogles, Scott Powers, Bob Sparks, Andrew Wilson.
Email: Peter@FloridaPolitics.com
Phone: (727) 642-3162
Address: 204 37th Avenue North #182
St. Petersburg, Florida 33704

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