Nikki Fried goes for GOP jugular: “Don’t grab us” and more …

Meow.

Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried — Florida’s top Democrat — issued a scathing “welcome” to President Donald Trump in advance of the part-time Florida Man’s campaign rally in the Sunshine State this week.

Fried lambasted Trump — and the rest of his party — for his now-notorious remarks about women, caught on a hot mike several years ago.

Here’s Fried, a lawyer from Fort Lauderdale, speaking of Republicans in her own words:

“It has become the party that says not only is it OK to grab a woman’s pussy but we’re going to legislate it and tell you what you can and, more importantly, what you can’t do with it.”

It gets better. Watch the whole video, compiled from her speech at the Florida Democratic Party’s gala last weekend and released by her political committee:

 

Here’s the tweet Fried posted this morning:

Ivy League snub: Harvard rescinds pro-gun Parkland activist’s acceptance

When he and his classmates descended on the Capitol shortly after the horrific attack on their Parkland high school, Kyle Kashuv stood out: He was one of the only teens who wasn’t pushing for stricter gun control.

Kashuv, who graduated from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School earlier this summer, has been embraced by conservatives and the National Rifle Association in his rapid arc to fame since the Feb. 14, 2018 mass shooting that left 17 students and faculty dead and 17 other people injured at the Broward County school). Kashuv, who told us last year that his parents are from Israel, has also been castigated by those on the left for his conservative views and unwavering support of President Donald Trump.

The 18-year-old took to Twitter today to inform his more than 301,000 followers that Harvard University has rescinded its acceptance of him following reports of using racial slurs in a shared document several years ago.

Kashuv says he turned down other scholarship offers after he deciding to head to the Ivy League school.

“I’m exploring all options at the moment.”

Read the entire thread:

Oliva, Sprowls: Mike Hill’s “callous indifference” is “unacceptable.” Hill: “Fake news!”

House Speaker José Oliva and his successor, Rep. Chris Sprowls, joined in the rapidly growing bipartisan chorus denouncing state Rep. Mike Hill for laughing at a suggestion that homosexuals should be executed.

Hill created a firestorm after being caught up tape in an exchange posted online by his hometown paper, the Pensacola News Journal, above an editorial by the paper’s prize-winning cartoonist, Andy Marlette.

Marlette wrote:

A citizen comments: “In 1 Corinthians, it says that a man who has an affair with another man will be put to death.”

Hill’s response?

“It says that in the Old Testament, too.”

Another attendee asks, “Can you introduce legislation?”

Chuckles are audible. The state representative joins the laughter. “I wonder how that would go over?” Hill says.

Hill’s comments, and laughter, drew bipartisan condemnation and calls for the founder of the local Tea Party to apologize, resign or both.

State Rep. Carlos Guillermo Smith, who is openly gay, said he was “shocked & disgusted to discover a colleague who I’ve worked with closely would joke about punishing me by death for being gay.”

An hour after the Republican House leaders censured Hill on Twitter, Hill posted a reply to Smith’s outrage.

 

State Rep. Mike Hill draws bipartisan condemnation over gay execution “jokes”

State Rep. Mike Hill‘s hometown paper says he’s “unfit” to hold office, and fellow Republicans piled on after Hill was caught on tape “joking” about the execution of homosexuals.

Pensacola News Journal cartoonist Andy Marlette skewered Hill — the founder of the Northwest Florida Tea Party — today, in an opinion piece that includes a recording of the Pensacola state rep’s comments:

In less than 30 seconds of audio from his recent meeting with a Pensacola-based group called Women for Responsible Legislation, Florida Rep. Mike Hill proved why he is both an unfit legislator and an unfit Christian.

Listen to the clip.

A citizen comments: “In 1 Corinthians, it says that a man who has an affair with another man will be put to death.”

Hill’s response?

“It says that in the Old Testament, too.”

Another attendee asks, “Can you introduce legislation?”

Chuckles are audible. The state representative joins the laughter. “I wonder how that would go over?” Hill says.

And Jesus wept.

There, in that moment, Mike Hill and a few sad members of a small, cruel audience betrayed the most fundamental message of Christ — love.

Hill’s comments quickly created a backlash on Twitter, including from fellow Republican state Rep. Jamie Grant, R-Tampa.

Hill’s an avowed conservative who’s Twitter bio reads: “Pro Life! Pro Guns! Pro Jesus!! Insurance business owner. USAFA grad ’80. GOP member, FL State House. Psalm 91:1″

The Pensacola insurance guy created another media uproar recently, after pledging to re-file legislation similar to a controversial Alabama “fetal heartbeat” law that bans most abortions. His efforts to get the Florida House to pass similar proposals so far have failed.

Democrats also jumped on Hill Friday, with some demanding that he apologize or resign.

Florida Democratic Party Executive Direct Juan Peñalosa took to Twitter and issued a press release condemning Hill’s remarks. Peñalosa, who is gay, also called on Gov. Ron DeSantis and the Republican Party of Florida to denounce Hill.

 

Jerusalem hearts DeSantis

It appears Gov. Ron DeSantis and his cast of 100 lawmakers, business leaders and university officials earned some love from the locals during an economic-development mission in Israel.

The sojourn, which included a “ceremonial” meeting of DeSantis and the Florida Cabinet generated some controversy back home.

But The Jerusalem Post editorial board gave the Republican governor a big thumbs up as the tour wrapped up Thursday.

“Thank You, Gov. DeSantis,” the headline on the editorial read, right above a pull-out quote from DeSantis: “Florida will always stand with Israel, our greatest ally in the Middle East.”

Below are some excerpts:

“Florida Governor Ron DeSantis showed once again that he is a true friend of Israel during his visit to the country this week.

Even before his trip to Israel, in the weeks after DeSantis was elected governor last year, he immediately took action on behalf of the Jewish state. Florida’s cabinet recognized Jerusalem as “Israel’s eternal capital,” invested $10 million in Israel Bonds and blacklisted Airbnb because of its plan to boycott listings in West Bank settlements, which the global company has since reversed,” the editorial begins.

The editorial board also praised DeSantis for trashing the BDS movement:

This week, DeSantis repeatedly spoke out against the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement, leading the first official trade mission to the West Bank led by a US governor – with two dozen business leaders. He is also leading the largest-ever official governor-led delegation to Israel.

“Antisemitism is driving the BDS movement, and you cannot separate the two,” he said at the Gush Etzion Industrial Zone on Wednesday, meeting with Jewish and Arab businesspeople who oppose boycotts. “We are not going to discriminate against certain Israelis – and if people do… we will take action accordingly.”

DeSantis pointed to the blatant hypocrisy of the BDS movement, whose leadership’s stated goal is the elimination of the Jewish state and that Jews do not have the right to self-determination.

“You have people that are willing to trade with Iran, the leading state sponsor of terrorism in the world – some of the worst regimes in the world – and yet they only want to boycott the one Jewish and democratic state in the world,” he said.
“If you support BDS in Florida, you are dead, politically,” he added.

And here’s the kicker:

DeSantis’ friendship with Israel is at a level that should not be taken for granted. He has backed up his statements with actions, and showed a willingness to continue.

Thank you, Governor DeSantis.

Nikki Fried gets head start in Israel

Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried touched down in Israel on Thursday, ahead of about 100 other folks flying out Saturday as part of Gov. Ron DeSantis’week-long mission.

Fried announced late Thursday she would have her own meetings with government officials, agricultural research groups, and agriculture-related businesses before joining the rest of the state’s travelers.

“I’m thrilled to be in Israel learning about innovations on agriculture and citrus, water efficiency, cannabis, and more,” Fried said in a release. “We’re going to bring home ideas and best practices from the Middle East’s only democracy and one of the world’s leading nations on technology and research. As the first Jewish woman elected to the Florida Cabinet, I’m looking forward to this opportunity to strengthen the special bond between Florida and Israel.”

Here’s Fried’s schedule from Thursday:

THURSDAY, MAY 23, 2019

All times are in Israel Daylight Time (7 hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time)

7:15 AM                                WHEELS DOWN TEL-AVIV

9:00 AM                              ARRIVE AT HOTEL

12:30 PM                             MEETING WITH iANGELS

iANGELS is a women-founded, women-managed venture capital firm specializing in high-tech projects, including agriculture projects such as crop disease prevention and farm management.

2:00 PM                               MEETING AND TOUR AT VOLCANI CENTER

The Volcani Center is an agricultural research center and the research arm of the Israeli Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, supporting research on plant, animal, food, and environmental sciences and agricultural engineering.

5:30 PM                               MEETING AND TOUR AT TEVEL AEROBOTICS TECHNOLOGIES

Tevel Aerobotics is a firm manufacturing autonomous agricultural drone technology for crop harvesting.

Earlier Thursday, DeSantis sent out his own itinerary for the week ahead:

SATURDAY, MAY 25TH

Depart Florida en route Tel Aviv, Israel

SUNDAY, MAY 26TH

Arrive in Tel Aviv, Israel

Meet and Greet with Florida Delegation

MONDAY, MAY 27TH – TEL AVIV

Morning:        Business Meeting with Israeli Companies
Meeting with Israeli Officials

Afternoon:     Memorandum of Understanding Signing Ceremonies

Evening:       Tourism Networking Reception hosted by VISIT FLORIDA
Memorandum of Understanding Signing Ceremony

TUESDAY, MAY 28TH – TEL AVIV

Morning:        Meeting and Award Ceremony with Israel Innovation Authority
Business Meetings with Israeli Companies
Memorandum of Understanding Signing Ceremonies

Afternoon:     Networking Lunch with Israeli Business Leaders
Memorandum of Understanding Signing Ceremonies
Roundtable Discussion on Issues Impacting Florida

Evening:       Meeting with U.S. Ambassador
Reception Hosted by the U.S. Ambassador

WEDNESDAY, MAY 29TH – TEL AVIV/JERUSALEM

Morning:        Keynote Address at the 2019 Israel-America Business Summit
Business Meetings with Israeli Companies

Afternoon:     Memorandum of Understanding Signing Ceremonies
Ceremonial Meeting of the Florida Cabinet

Evening:        Business Development Networking Reception

THURSDAY, MAY 30TH – JERUSALEM

Morning:       Memorandum of Understanding Signing Ceremony

Roundtable Discussion on Issues Impacting Florida

Afternoon:     Cultural Visit to the Old City of Jerusalem
Meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu

Evening:       Delegation Reception and Dinner

FRIDAY, MAY 31ST

Depart Jerusalem en route Florida

By Jim Turner.

Inquiring minds headed to Israel

Gov. Ron DeSantis is about to lead a four-day trip to Israel, with nearly 90 tag-alongs that include Cabinet members, top-tier lobbyists, state lawmakers and religious leaders.

The governor publicly announced the trip in April, but since then the planning of the trip and questions about it have largely been kept secret. But as the voyage gets closer, the drip-drop of details are putting a spotlight on some of what’s in store.

One lingering question is how much the trip will cost Florida taxpayers. DeSantis’ spokeswoman Helen Ferre said about 80 members of the entourage are paying their own way.

At least one person footing their own bill said they’re staying at the Hilton in Tel Aviv, where they’ll be joined by a number of other members of the delegation who may be traveling on the taxpayer dime.

What’s the cost for one of those rooms? Accommodations range from $556 to $1,133 per night, according to the hotel’s website.

While questions about the cost and the substance of state officials’ meetings remain, two news organizations have announced they will be sending reporters to keep Floridians informed.

As of Thursday afternoon, two reporters have signed on to take the trip to Israel: Jeff Schweers, a state government reporter with the USA TODAY Network in Florida, and AG Gancarski, a reporter with Florida Politics.

“Coming next week (and assuming he gets past customs), intrepid reporter @AGGancarski will be reporting from @GovRonDeSantis and the Florida Cabinet’s historic trip to Jerusalem,” tweeted Peter Schorsch, the publisher of Florida Politics.

Schweers also got a last-minute OK from his company to make the trip.

By Ana Ceballos.