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.

 

John Morgan: “If I was Bill Nelson, I’d be worried”

IMG_0124Orlando trial lawyer John Morgan held court with reporters moments before a hearing in a lawsuit he initiated kicked off Wednesday morning.

Morgan is a political rainmaker who largely bankrolled the constitutional amendment that broadly legalized medical marijuana in Florida and was overwhelmingly approved by voters nearly two years ago.

Morgan, who had toyed with the notion of running for governor, spoke about his decision to stay out of the governor’s race.

“I’ll tell you. To run for governor, you’ve got to be done making money. And I’m not done making money. Or you have to be a professional politician. And I’m not a professional politician,” he said.

Morgan said he spoke yesterday with Philip Levine, the former Miami Beach Miami who is a contender in the Democratic primary for governor.

“I told him he’s lucky I’m not in ‘cause I would win in a landslide,” Morgan said, adding that he didn’t know which Democrat would capture the nomination.

“All I know is I’ve never known any governor that’s ever done anything for any of us. Ever. So it’s not a job that I really think I’d be good at every day. I’m better at this,” he said, standing outside the courtroom.

Morgan also said he supported House Speaker Richard Corcoran’s decision to stay on the sidelines in the governor’s race.

Morgan said Corcoran visited him a few weeks ago.

“I said, look, here’s the deal. It’s all about money. And if you don’t got the money, you can’t run. I said at the end of the day, questions answer themselves. And I think the question was answered for Richard Corcoran when the money froze up,” Morgan said.

While Corcoran is a friend and someone he would have helped, Morgan said the Land O’ Lakes Republican made the right choice.

“I think he made the right decision because I think he would have gotten beat and I think he knew he was going to get beat. And if I’m going to get beat, I don’t like to go to my own ass-kicking,” Morgan said.

Morgan also had what appeared to be a dim view of incumbent U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson’s odds against challenger Rick Scott, who’s finishing his last year as governor.

“I think Sen Nelson is in for a dog fight. I think he’s got to get busy. You cannot underestimate this Rick Scott. He is a methodical, Eveready bunny, a bald-headed Eveready bunny who just never stops. He’s focused, and he’s got the money, and he’s got the message, and if I was Bill Nelson, I’d be worried,” he said.

 

Hammer: YETI stuff too expensive to blow up!

IMG_5658(1)It’s no secret to Truth or Dara followers that the National Rifle Association and Texas-based YETI are in a shoot-out over the high-dollar cooler-maker’s decision to abandon the national gun-rights group.

The decision prompted NRA supporters and Second Amendment advocates to turn to social media sites to launch an all-out assault on YETI, using the #BoycottYETI campaign, pics of YETI coolers turned into port-a-potties and videos of folks blowing up pricey YETI supplies — the coolers range from $200 to more upwards of $1,200 — in retaliation.

So it might come as a surprise that NRA Florida lobbyist Marion Hammer, a former president of the national gun lobbying-group, sent out an alert urging gun owners to drop their assault on YETI equipment.

“Don’t blow up your Yeti cooler. Don’t shoot your Yeti cooler full of holes. Don’t chain your Yeti cooler to the back of your pick-up truck and drag it down the highway. Don’t glue a toilet seat to Yeti cooler. Don’t hang your Yeti cooler in a tree and beat it with a baseball bat,” Hammer wrote in an email alert .

We’re not sure if Hammer’s message was meant to add to the bag of tricks already employed by disgruntled YETI owners.

But the Tallahassee-based great-grandma advised unhappy NRA folks to convert their YETI into a statement.

“Put a big ‘I stand with the NRA Foundation’ sticker on your YETI cooler and keep using it. They cost too much money to destroy to make a statement. Let a sticker make your statement,” she wrote in the alert.

By our kitchen-table standards, she’s right.

YETI coolers start at $200, and can run upwards of $1,200 for boaty brand-conscious buyers.

The NRA will be handing out stickers to cover YETI labels in Dallas at its annual convention in Dallas this weekend. The stickers will be available at the “NRA Foundation Wall of Guns” raffle, according to Hammer’s alert.

President Donald Trump is expected to attend the convention.

 

 

Ho-hum. Chamber endorses Scott.

Surprise, surprise.

Days after the U.S. Chamber of Commerce rolled out a six-figure ad buy to attack Democratic U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, the Chamber — along with the Florida Chamber of Commerce and the political committee affiliated with the Jacksonville Chamber —  endorsed Republican Gov. Rick Scott in his bid to unseat the veteran Florida Democrat.

Scott’s campaign declared that “this is the first time in Florida history that local, state and national Chambers of Commerce have come together to announce a joint campaign endorsement.”

The announcement is the focus of Scott’s day, according to the schedule distributed by the governor’s office.

His office schedule simply lists “staff and call time (via phone)” at 10:35 a.m., while the campaign is holding events today in Jacksonville and Orlando for a “major announcement.”

By Jim Turner.