It’s official: Trump hearts DeSantis

U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis has been boasting for a while now that he’s got the endorsement of President Donald Trump in the primary battle with Florida Ag Commish Adam Putnam to replace Gov. Rick Scott.

But Friday morning, the president made it official, with a tweet to his gazillions of followers.

DeSantis’ campaign quickly issued a press release announcing the endorsement, which could be priceless in Florida’s heated GOP primary.

“We’re proud to have the full support of President Trump,” DeSantis’ campaign spokesman David Vasquez said in the release. “As a top conservative leader in Florida, taxpayer superhero and an Iraq veteran, Ron DeSantis will make a Great Governor of Florida.” 

Trump’s tweet on the heels of a Fox News poll that found DeSantis trailing Putnam by 17 points among likely Republican primary voters.

The poll also found that immigration was the top issue for Florida Republicans, followed by health care, the economy, guns, the opioid crisis, taxes, environmental issues and abortion.

Trump: coyotes “not good people,” “Mexico is doing nothing for us except taking our money and sending us drugs,” the “whole world” is laughing at our lax immigration laws, and so much more

Here’s what President Donald Trump had to say about immigration during a Cabinet meeting earlier today. The excerpts were pulled from a transcript distributed by the White House.

My administration is also acting swiftly to address the illegal immigration crisis on the southern border.  Loopholes in our immigration laws, all supported by extremist, open-border Democrats — and that’s what they are.  They’re extremist, open-border Democrats.  If you look at Nancy Pelosi and you look at Chuck Schumer, you’ll see tapes where they wanted to have borders — they needed borders for security — just a short while ago.  A number of years ago, I see Chuck Schumer — “We must have borders.”  Hillary Clinton — “We must have borders.  If people penetrate our borders, we must get them out of our country.”  Now, all of a sudden, they’re big open-border people.  It’s a whole big con job.  In the meantime, people are suffering because of the Democrats.

So we’ve created, and they’ve created, and they’ve let it happen — a massive child-smuggling industry.  That’s exactly what it’s become.  Traffickers — if you think about this — human traffickers are making a fortune.  It’s a disgrace.

These loopholes force the release of alien families and minors into the country when they illegally cross the border.  Since 2014 alone, nearly 200,000 unaccompanied alien minors have been released into the United States as a result of Democrat-backed loopholes, including catch-and-release, which is one of the worst.  You catch them, and then you release them.  Might as well save your time.  Don’t bother catching them.  And this is what we’re stuck with.  They’re the worst immigration laws in the history of the world.  The whole world is laughing at the United States, and they have been for years.

These alien minors were separated and sent all the way up here alone.  But they really came up with coyotes.  You know what a coyote is.  Not good.  These are not good people.  They were sent up here with human traffickers because the Democrat-supported policies have allowed this to happen.

Democrats also refuse to fund the personnel, the bed space, the resources that we need to house the minors.  Now, they want us to take care of the minors, and that’s fine.  But they don’t want to give us the money to take care of them.  Because the worse everything looks, they think, the better they’re going to do, with respect to the blue wave.  Which is turning out, frankly, to be a red wave if you look at the polls.  I think we’re going to have a red wave, not a blue wave.

So they want us to take care of bed space, and resources, and personnel, and take everybody.  And, you know, like, let’s run the most luxurious hotel in the world for everybody.  But they don’t want to give us the money.  So you could ask them about that.

We have to house these minors, and we have to house them safely.  And frankly, we have to house them.  And we should be taking good care of them, and then we should return them back home.  That’s what we have to do.

But every time we ask for resources, the Democrats say no.  They say no to everything.  They’re obstructionists.  Because they think that’s good, politically.  I think it’s bad, politically.  For them, I think it’s bad, politically.  We’ll see.

In addition, Democrat and court-ordered loopholes prevent family detention and lead to family separation, no matter how you cut it.  I signed a very good executive order yesterday, but that’s only limited — no matter how you cut it, it leads to separation ultimately.  I’m directing HHS, DHS, and DOJ to work together to keep illegal immigrant families together during the immigration process and to reunite these previously separated groups.

But the only real solution is for Congress to close the catch-and-release loopholes that have fueled the child smuggling industry.  The Democrats are causing tremendous damage, and destruction, and lives by not doing something about this.  And they know that.  They know that better than anybody up there with a pen.

If we don’t close these loopholes, there is no amount of money or personnel in the world to address the crisis.  Very serious crisis.  Been going on so long.  This isn’t Trump administration.  You look back at 2014, during the Obama administration, they have pictures that were so bad.  They had a judge that said it was inhumane the way they were treating children.

Take a look at some of the court rulings against the Obama administration.  They talked about inhumane treatment.  I read them; I looked at them.  They’re all over the place.  Inhumane treatment.  They were treating them terribly.  We have a situation where some of these places, they’re really running them well.  And I give a lot of credit to Secretary Nielsen and all of the people that have worked this.  It’s the nicest that people have seen.  But it’s still something that shouldn’t be taking place.

My wife, our First Lady, is down now at the border because it really bothered her to be looking at this and to seeing it, as it bothered me, as it bothered everybody at this table.  We’re all bothered by it.  But we need two to tango.  We have 51 votes in the Senate.  We need 60, unfortunately, because we have the ridiculous filibuster rule.  So we need 60.

And I think I’ll get four or five or six from senators, frankly, running in states where I won by 25, 30, 40 points with Mike.  And I think we’ll get six senators, maybe we’ll get seven senators.  That still doesn’t get us to 60.  So there’s nothing you can do to get there.  And people don’t understand that.  When we have a majority in the Senate, we have a majority by one, but we need ten votes.

So we need 10 — essentially, we need 10 Democrats.  Not going to get them.  They’re told by Schumer and Pelosi, “Don’t do it because we want to see if we can pick up seats.”  They don’t care about the children.  They don’t care about the injury.  They don’t care about the problems.  They don’t care about anything.  All they do is say, “Obstruct, and let’s see how we do.”  Because they have no policies that are any good.  They’re not good politicians.  They got nothing going.  All they’re good at is obstructing.

And they generally stick together.  I respect them for that.  That’s about it.  Their policies stink.  They’re no good.  They have no ideas.  They have no nothing — the Democrats.  All they can do is obstruct, and stay together, and vote against, and make it impossible to take care of children and families and to take care of immigration.

We should be able to make an immigration bill that can really solve the problem, not just — this is one aspect of it.  This is one very important but small aspect of it.  We should be able to do a bill.  I’d invite them to come over to the White House anytime they want.  This afternoon would be good.  After the Cabinet meeting would be good.  They are invited, officially.  I’ll let you do the inviting.  Let the press do the inviting.

But we have to do something about immigration in this country.  For 50 years, and long before that, it was a disaster.  But over the last 20, 25 years, it’s gotten worse.  Every time they write a rule or regulation, it makes it worse, not better.  We can solve this problem.

We have to hire thousands of judges.  No country in the world is hiring judges like that.  They hire border people that — you can’t come into the country.  Mexico, by the way, is doing nothing for us.  Nothing.  They have the strongest immigration laws.  They can do whatever they want.  They can keep people out of Mexico.  You have a 2,000-mile journey up Mexico.  They walk through Mexico like it’s walking through Central Park.  It’s ridiculous.  Mexico does nothing for us.

So then when people say, “Why are you being so tough with NAFTA?”  And I am being tough because we — it’s a terrible deal for the United States.  Mexico is making $100 billion a year off us and the horrible NAFTA deal.  And I am being tough.  One of the reasons I’m being tough is because they do nothing for us at the border.  They encourage people, frankly, to walk through Mexico and go into the United States because they’re drug traffickers, they’re human traffickers, they’re coyotes.  I mean, we’re getting some real beauties.

Mexico is doing nothing for us except taking our money and sending us drugs.  They’re doing nothing.  They could solve this problem in two minutes; you wouldn’t even have to do anything.  But they don’t do it.  They talk a good game, but they don’t do it.  So we’ll see how that all comes out.  It’ll be very interesting to see.

Later, Trump is asked about immigration:

THE PRESIDENT:  They got to get together and do something.  Honestly, they have to get together.  The question is: What’s my message to lawmakers, having to do with immigration?  They’ve got to get together and do something.  This has been going on for decades.  And they have to sit down — I’ll be — certainly, I’m willing to do it.  I just told you, I’ll invite Senator Schumer and Nancy Pelosi.  They can come over.  They can bring whoever they want.  But the lawmakers have to sit down and they have to do something because our country cannot continue to run like this.

We can’t have open borders.  You have to have borders.  You don’t have a country without borders.  They have to be enforced.  It has to be a strict enforcement.  At the same time, we want people to come into our country.  We need them.  We have many companies, right now, moving back into the United States.  They need workers.  We have 3.8 percent unemployment.  They need workers.  We have to have them come in.

You know, I’m saying, I want people to come in.  They have to come in through a merit system.  But we can have a lot of people come into our country through the merit system so they can help these companies that are looking so hard for people to make the company work.

But the — in a very, very simple way, Congress has to get together, get their act together.  Democrats and Republicans.  They have to come up with a solution.  I have ideas, they have ideas.  We can put them together very easily.

There’s so much hatred.  There’s so much — I mean, honestly, I’m not saying this — I mean, there’s a lot of false reporting, a lot of misreporting.  There’s also a lot of great reporting.  But Congress has to come together and this is the best time to do it.

Right now, I think is the best time I’ve seen for people that really are well-meaning.  Now, unfortunately, we have an election coming up in a few months and, you know, I guess they’re looking at it and we’re looking at it and maybe we have to just sort of put on the blinders when it comes to doing that.

But Congress has to get together and we have to do something on immigration.  It’s very important.  We have to change almost everything that’s been done in the past.  It’s ridiculous.  We are being laughed at as a country because of our bad immigration policies.  And you know, we’re a young administration.  This has been going on for 50 years, 60 years, 70 years.  But it’s gotten worse over the last 20 because laws have been so complex and so ridiculous.

We really don’t have a law.  We have laws that don’t allow you to do what you’re supposed to be doing.  And we also want to keep it in a very humane way.  We want to take care of people.  If we don’t take them in, we have to help.  And we also need help from Mexico.  Mexico has not helped us, and we need help from Mexico.  So that’s a long answer, but I also appreciate the great job you’ve done.

Q    Thank you very much, Mr. President.

Q    What about the kids who were already separated?

THE PRESIDENT:  Yes?

Q    What about the kids who are already separated from their parents?

THE PRESIDENT:  Say it.  I can’t hear you.

Q    The kids who are already separated from their parents.

THE PRESIDENT:  Well, we want to put them together.  We don’t want to have people — we don’t want to have children separated from their parents.

You have to understand, you gave an example yesterday of 12,000 children.  Of the 12,000, 10,000 came up either alone — they weren’t necessarily young children, but either alone or they came up with traffickers and coyotes.  And these coyotes are bad dudes.  But they came up with other people, brought them up.  And they used them.  They’re using these children.  That’s 10,000 out of the 12.  Of the 2,000, a lot of the people, well, they came in with their children.  This is their third, fourth, fifth time trying to come into our country.

So this is not a perfect situation, this is a very bad — now, port of entry — if you go to a port of entry, it works out very nicely.  They’ve been doing a very good job.  But they don’t want to come in through the port of entry.  That’s called “doing it the legal way.”  But many of the people in the 2,000 category, you’re talking about 2,000 children, those are people that have tried to come into our country many times, the same way.  They don’t want to go into the port of entry.  Usually, that’s for a very bad reason.  Why don’t they want to go in legally?  So you have to ask yourself that question.

So you have a situation that is ripe for Congress to get together and come up with a solution.  And I am ready, willing, and able to help.  And ready, willing, and able to take this pen right here and sign very quickly.

Q    Zero tolerance still exists, though?  Or are you suspending zero tolerance?

THE PRESIDENT:  If you took zero tolerance away, you would be overrun as a country.  You’d have millions of people pouring through our border.  If you took zero tolerance away, everybody would come, right now.  They’d be getting their little belongings, unfortunately, and they would be heading up.  You would be — you would have a run on this country the likes of which nobody’s ever seen.

So we have to have strong borders.  Frankly, the wall, in terms of drugs, in terms of keeping certain people out that we don’t want in this county, the wall is imperative.  We have to have the wall.  We started the wall.  We have $1.6 billion.  We’re fixing tremendous amounts of wall where it’s been overrun.  But we have to come up with a solution.

I would consider it, whether it’s North Korea, whether it’s so many other things.  We have a lot of things.  Look, I’ve been given a very tough hand.  Because I came up here, we had an economy that was going down.  We had an Iran problem.  We had a Middle East problem.  Take a look at what was going on in the Middle East.  It’s a lot better now.  You’re a lot smoother right now than anything you heard over the last eight years.

But we were given a lot of bad cards.  One of the bad cards, we were given this immigration mess.  And it was made worse by all of the different contradicting and the contradicting laws that have been passed.

So we’re going to work very hard with Mike Pence and with everybody else in this room.  We’re going to work very hard to see if we can solve the immigration problem.

But we need Democrats to be able to do it.  If they’re going to obstruct, it can’t be done because the Republicans don’t have the votes.

Now, I think we’re going to win additional Senate seats.  That will help us a lot.  But unless we get additional Senate seats, and unless we keep the House more or less like it is right now, you’re not going to be able — unless the Democrats are serious and they want to come along and they want to get immigration work done.

We can do something that’s going to be historic.  We can do something that will be historic and we can get it done.  I am ready.  I’m here.  All of these people — these are very talented people — we’re all ready.  We’re all here.  We need votes from the Democrats or nothing can pass.

Thank you all very much.

 

 

Greene on ganja: Are the kids alright?

IMG_0236Jeff Greene, the Palm Beach billionaire who this week joined a crowded slate of Democrats seeking to replace Gov. Rick Scott, shared his thoughts about marijuana with Truth or Dara during a lengthy interview that included some chit-chat about Willie Nelson and air pods.

(Spoiler alert: He’s a fan of both the musician and the technology).

On medical marijuana, Greene’s got the same take as his competitors, who’ve all come out in support of allowing patients to smoke their treatment.

But the father of three young boys is on the fence about flat-out legalization of recreational pot. Greene says he wants more data about what’s happened in other states that have legalized marijuana before he decides.

Saying he “always likes to learn from other people,” Greene wants to look at states such as Colorado, where recreational has been legal for more than a minute.

Greene’s biggest worry is his three young sons, who are now ages four, six and eight.

“They grow up so quickly. When I think of recreational marijuana being legal, I just imagine my son in four or five years,” said Greene.

Perhaps his 13-year-old son is visiting a friend and comes across “a pack of marijuana cigarettes” left around the house by a relative or friend, Greene posited.

“Is he going to say, hey, let’s try this,” Greene wondered.

“So the biggest worry I have is, again, as a father with young children, and someone whose candidacy is largely based on kids and getting kids great educations and having equality of opportunity for all Floridians, and as someone who’s focused on kids.

My view would be, let’s look at the states that have legalized recreational marijuana and let’s understand if there’s been an increase in consumption among young people. If there has, I have to say I definitely want to decriminalize it but I would not legalize it so fast,” he said.

But if the kids are OK, Greene said the state should go for it.

“If there has been no uptick in use whatsoever among young people, I’d say absolutely legalize it, regulate it. That way people who are using it know what they’re getting. Tax it, get some revenue, use the revenue from that to attack the real drug problem, which is the opioid crisis, which is epidemic in our state, in our country,” he said. “It’s something I want to look at very intelligently, just like in education. I look at the states that have done a great job, like Massachusetts, New Jersey, and think, what can we learn from them here in Florida to make our education top five in the country?”

When Truth or Dara asked Greene where he stands on the marijuana issue (both smokable and recreational) he prefaced his response with: “This is my position. It didn’t come from any poll or research. It’s just how I feel.”

Greene, 63, said that medical marijuana has “proven to be an enormous help” to sick people.

“These are people who have cancer, who are really struggling. If it helps relieve their pain, how can we possible not let them get it, in any way they want to ingest it,” he said.

People have been smoking marijuana “for generations now,” Greene said, adding that he doesn’t believe that allowing patients to smoke pot will result in more pot being available for people to use recreationally.

Smoke is an issue, of course, because of a legal tangle over a state law prohibiting smokable medical marijuana. Judge Karen Gievers ruled that the ban runs afoul of the constitutional amendment that broadly legalized medical marijuana in Florida, but Gov. Rick Scott’s administration is appealing the decision.

“On medical, I say make it available. If they want to smoke it, if they want to swallow it, whatever they want to do, but, if it helps them, please Rick Scott, please Republicans, stop hurting these people. These are people who are very sick often, and it’s just horrible that they’re restricting their ability to get pain relief,” he said.

 

 

Nelson takes to Senate floor to blast child separation

A day after being denied entry to a federal detention facility housing approximately 1,000 undocumented children, U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson took to the Senate floor to report his experience and scold President Donald Trump for what he called a “shameful” policy of separating children from undocumented families seeking asylum at the border.

The 94 children at the Homestead facility are among the 174 children — some of them who are still nursing — who have been removed from their loved ones and are being housed in detention facilities in the Florida, according to Nelson.

Nelson said he was told by the deputy secretary of the U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services that the senior senator from Florida needed to fill out a form and wait two weeks to gain access to the facility, despite serving on the committee that oversees the agency.

“The question is why do they not want the senator from Florida to get into this detention facility where there are children that have been separated from their parents,” he said. “It must be that … this is being directed from the president and the White House and they don’t want me to see it because they don’t want us to know what is going on in there.”

Nelson, a Democrat who’s in the toughest election battle of his life as he squares off against Republican Gov. Rick Scott, is part of a growing chorus calling on Trump — who’s blamed the situation on Democrats for inaction on immigration reform — to reverse the policy, initiated by the Trump administration earlier this year.

“It’s up to him. He doesn’t need Congress to act. He and he alone is allowing this shameful practice to continue and he alone can stop it right now,” Nelson said.

The senator, who joined U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz and incoming state House Minority Leader Kionne McGhee in the futile attempt to access the detention center, said he wanted to inspect the facility for himself.

“Is the facility clean? Are the children sleeping in beds? Are they sleeping on the floor? Are they having adequate care? And if they were, I could report that that was a good news story,” Nelson said.

Yesterday evening, Scott — a close ally of Trump — sent a letter to HHS Secretary Alex Azar, demanding information about the children being warehoused in Florida.

“I have been very clear that I absolutely do not agree with the practice of separating children from their families. This practice needs to stop now,” Scott wrote in his harshest take on the issue yet, after returning from his seventh trip to Puerto Rico following island-ravaging Hurricane Maria in September.

Scott asked for details about where the children were being housed, if they were receiving health screenings, and what other services are being provided.

Graham goes after Scott on child detentions

Former U.S. Rep. Gwen Graham, one of the frontrunners in the crowded Democratic primary for governor, is hitting Gov. Rick Scott with another public records request, this one focused on the “moral crisis” of undocumented children being held in detention.

Graham’s following up on reports that children being separated from their parents at the Arizona-Mexico border are being transported to a Homestead detention center.

She wants to know how much Scott knows about the facility — or others — and when he learned about it.

“Seeing photos of these children, listening to their screams, I think of my own children and how hard I would fight if anyone tried to separate us,” Graham said in a press release. “Floridians deserve to know what Rick Scott knows about the Trump administration using our state in their political plot to separate families and what he’s doing to assist or stop Trump from bringing children to our state.”

The child detentions have become a flashpoint for President Donald Trump and his administration, with fellow Republicans criticizing the policy and Democrats calling for the ouster of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjin Nielsen and the immediate end to the practice.

 

 

Greene uses face-off with Trump in new ad

The Dems vying for guv are united in their hostility toward President Donald Trump, but Jeff Greene is likely the only candidate that has the video to prove he went head-to-head with the part-time Florida man.

Greene, a Palm Beach billionaire and late entry into the crowded Democratic primary, dropped two ads this morning, including one that includes a grainy video of an angry Trump apparently yelling at Greene at Mar-A-Lago.

“Jeff is the only candidate in America who is willing to stand up to Trump in his own dining room,” the voiceover says.

Greene dropped $2.9 million on the weeklong TV and digital ad buy, an amount that’s “four times the dollar amount of his closest Democratic competitor,” according to a press release announcing the splurge. Greene’s pledged to spend “whatever it takes” to win the race.

Here’s an explanation from Greene’s camp about the altercation between the Palm Beach billionaires:

This video is from December 2016 at the Trump Palm Beach golf course, of which Greene is not a member, but where he was attending a friend’s birthday dinner. Greene was crossing the room when then-President-elect Trump – who was dining with his wife and son, as well as Hope Hicks, Kellyanne Conway, and others – became agitated, pointing at Greene and yelling to those seated at his table about how Jeff Greene spent money to support Hillary Clinton’s campaign and went on national TV to speak out against him. Greene stood his ground and replied that yes, he supported Hillary Clinton, he is a proud Democrat, and that he did not agree with Trump or his campaign. Greene’s wife was seated two tables away from the altercation in the crowded dining room and filmed this clip.

Here’s the other ad, in which Greene talks about his dad:

Scott drops $3.2 million on TV this week in “dogfight” against Nelson

Orlando trial lawyer John Morgan told us this morning that incumbent U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson “is in for a dogfight” against Rick Scott, the Republican outgoing governor who’s trying to oust the veteran senator.

Judging by the amount of money Scott’s campaign dropped on TV ads this week alone, Morgan’s characterization of the race may be an understatement.

According to Scott’s camp, they dropped $3.2 million on TV spots this week alone — including on two Spanish-language ads as the governor relentlessly woos Hispanic voters.

That brings to $8 million the total Scott’s campaign has spent on television in a little more than a month since he announced his entry into the race.

The latest ad, “Cambiar,” focuses on Scott’s pledge to “change” Washington.

We did notice that the two Spanish-language ads feature some of the same stars, but no matter.

A second ad, “Presente,” tambien en español, highlights Scott’s efforts to aid Puerto Ricans in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria.

The third ad relies on an English-speaking cast of characters who blast Nelson for, well, being too much of a Democrat and “voting the party line.”

Which is a bit odd, since — until this year, when he supported a school-safety measure that included some gun restrictions — Scott had never been viewed as a politician who was known for bridging the partisan divide.