Donald Trump

DeSantis: Israel has “total right” to run again, “no similarities” between sheriff suspension and Trump impeachment

IMG_2094A day after a key Senate committee handed Gov. Ron DeSantis a major victory in his crusade against embattled Broward Sheriff Scott Israel, the governor pooh-poohed any parallels between his suspension of Israel and Congressional Democrats’ efforts to unseat President Donald Trump.

DeSantis, Trump ally whose endorsement by the Republican president help boost him to a primary election victory and ultimately into the governor’s mansion last year, also told reporters today that Israel, a Democrat who is running for re-election, has the right to seek office again.

During yesterday’s Senate Rules Committee, one of Israel’s supporters, who identified himself as a “lifelong Republican” who voted for the GOP governor, equated suspension of Israel — an elected official — to the ongoing impeachment effort.

Rules Chairwoman Lizbeth Benacquisto quickly shut down that argument, but a reporter asked DeSantis about any similarities after Tuesday morning’s Cabinet meeting.

“I see no similarities between a presidential impeachment and the removal of a county official. This is a provision of the Florida Constitution. It talks about neglect of duty or incompetence. Obviously, we’ve seen multiple failures out of that agency. In fact, that agency, under his leadership, lost the state certification, and now it’s being reinstated under the new sheriff,” DeSantis said. “Look, had we not acted, my fear was that more failures would have put more people at risk. So I think I acted appropriately and I think that the Senate ultimately will come to that conclusion.”

The Rules Committee overturned the recommendation of Senate Special Master Dudley Goodlette, who found the governor failed to present evidence supporting his decision to suspend Israel, one of DeSantis’ first actions after taking office in January. Goodlette, former Republican state representative who is highly regarded in legislative circles, recommended that the Senate reinstate the embattled sheriff.

But voting 9-7 along party lines after a marathon meeting yesterday, the Rules Committee supported the governor’s suspension. The full Senate will vote on the matter tomorrow at 2 p.m.

Speaking to reporters Tuesday morning, DeSantis thanked the committee, which heard emotional, heart-wrenching pleas from the families of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School mass shooting victims. The families are united in their insistence that Israel be prevented from getting his old job back. Dozens of Israel supporters also attended the meeting, including numerous members of black churches who expressed their allegiance to the sheriff.

“It was a very long day, with that process,” DeSantis said Tuesday. “I also want to thank the Parkland families for coming. It wasn’t easy for them. This has been a long time coming. I think they really showed a lot of strength, and I look forward to the Senate disposing of this matter tomorrow, and look forward to moving on.”

The expectation is for another, party-line vote in the Republican-dominated upper chamber that will result in Israel being permanently ousted from his job.

Israel, who was re-elected in 2016 by more than 70 percent of Broward County voters, remains popular in most parts of the heavily Democratic county. He told reporters after the Senate committee vote last night that he believes he will be re-elected to the seat he held until he was booted by DeSantis in January.

DeSantis was asked if he would remove Israel again, should the sheriff win re-election.

“No, no, no, no. Look, the people can make that decision going forward. But then, what happens will be, they’ll be responsible for whatever decision is made in that respect. It’s not going to be something that is going to matter to me either way. I had to make the decision I had to make. Those folks can make whatever decision that they want to make,” the governor said.

When pressed about removing Israel a second time, DeSantis — a Harvard Law School grad — reiterated his stance.

“Well, obviously if there was another basis, but no. This is this. If the Senate does concur he be removed, there’s nothing in the Constitution that bars someone from then seeking the same office again. Totally has a right to do it,” he said.


Flashlight guy to Scott: Thanks, but …

IMG_1827Anthony Maglica, the creator of Maglite, may not have been swayed by Gov. Rick Scott’s pitch to uproot the Ontario, Calif.-based flashlight company.

Scott — who’s repeatedly attempted to poach jobs in states, including California, led by Democratic governors — recently reached out to Maglica, in tandem with a week-long “Made in America” White House effort launched by the “jobs, jobs jobs” governor’s pal, President Donald Trump.

While Maglica’s products are manufactured in California, state law bars him from using the “Made in USA” stamp because some of the components are made elsewhere.

In a letter to Scott sent Thursday, Maglica wrote that he’d like to discuss “business-climate issues” with the governor.

But, rather than accept Scott’s offer, the inventor — who launched his flashlight biz more than six decades ago — tried to enlist support for what he said would be an even more meaningful endeavor: an attempt to kill the California law.

Maglica asked Scott to help sway Congress to pass a measure — S. 118, dubbed the “Reinforcing American-made Products Act of 2017” — which would preempt the Golden State’s rules on the “Made in America” labeling.

“One shouldn’t have to be a Californian to support S. 118,” Maglica wrote. “California’s maverick statute is just as much of a problem for manufacturers from Florida, or any other state.”

In his letter to Scott, Maglica noted that the governor’s pitch “wasn’t the first suggestion” that he relocate to another state.

Maglica penned an op-ed piece published in The Wall Street Journal last month, in which the inventor complained about his fight against California’s “freakish” labeling statute.

While the Maglite flashlights are assembled at its Ontario factory east of Los Angeles, some of the components, most notably the LED lights, are imported.

California law prohibits manufacturers from using the “Made in U.S.A,” “Made in America,” or similar labels on products “if the merchandise or any article, unit, or part thereof, has been entirely or substantially made, manufactured, or produced outside of the United States.”

Scott wrote to Maglica on July 17, urging him to move Mag Instrument Inc. to the Sunshine State so the products could be labeled as “Made in the USA.”

In his response to Scott, Maglica invited the governor, rumored to be considering a bid for U.S. Senate next year, to come west.

“I would like to take the opportunity to invite you to visit Maglite’s world class manufacturing facility in Ontario, California,” Maglica wrote. “I would be delighted for a chance to speak to you further about this important law-reform matter, or about business-climate issues in general.”

Posted by Jim Turner.

Nelson: Trump elex info request would make it “so easy for Vladimir” to hack

Concerned about President Donald Trump’s elections inquiry, voters are asking county supervisors to yank them from the rolls, ostensibly more concerned about keeping their personal data private than giving up their rights to cast ballots.

The whole effort is on hold right now, at least until a judge weighs in on one of a handful of lawsuits about the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity.

NOTE: Secretary of State Ken Detzner hasn’t transmitted any information to the commission yet.

More than 40 states refused to give the commission all or part of the data requested, which included partial Social Security numbers and driver’s license numbers.

Speaking to reporters in Tallahassee Friday, U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson — who’s been a critic of Trump’s commission — questioned the rationale for demanding the data.

“Why should the federal government collect every state’s information in one place so anybody that wants to go and hack that information? It makes it so easy for Vladimir (Putin) to suddenly go in and find out all kind of personal things and all in one place,” Nelson said when asked for his thoughts on the elections commission.

“Let me tell you, only the most sophisticated systems — and even they’re not fool proof — cannot be hacked. Only the most sophisticated systems. And I’m telling you, you think yours is foolproof, somebody’s going to get a way to get through,” Nelson said. “This is true in our most important secrets in the country. In our intelligence community, they’re having that problem.”

Rubio and Trump — a budding bromance?

It wasn’t that long ago that U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio was openly bashing Donald Trump.

But that was when the two Republicans were competing for the White House.

Now that President Trump is comfortably ensconced there, has Rubio changed his views of his onetime foe?

Alex Conant, the former Florida House speaker’s former aide and current advisor, talks with NPR’s Steve Inskeep on Morning Edition about his pal Rubio’s evolving approach to trump.

Listen to the interview here.

Scott gleeful about Georgia election as referendum on fellow Florida-man Trump

All of those who are completely over the Georgia special election can stop reading here.

But for the rest of us, here’s what Florida Gov. Rick Scott had to say about the face-off that was viewed by many to be a referendum on Scott’s pal, President Donald Trump.

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Appearing on FOX Business show Varney & Co. Wednesday, Scott echoed those hyping Republican Karen Handel’s victory in the most expensive congressional race in history.

Watch the latest video at

Handel’s 6th Congressional District win was a victory for Trump, Scott crowed.

“It shows you that it doesn’t matter how much money you have. If you have a bad message, you lose,” Scott, who spent at least $70 million of his own money in his 2010 gubernatorial bid, said.

 Trump’s message of “jobs and repealing and replacing Obamacare” — themes the Florida governor, mulling a run for the U.S. Senate next year, has hammered on — resonated with voters, Scott indicated.

Scott also tried to slip this week’s job-poaching trip to Connecticut into the conversation focused on national politics. And he also addressed the New Republic super-PAC, which he chairs, that seeks to rebrand the Republican Party in Trump’s image.

 “If you look at what we should be talking about, we ought to talk how Americans talk,” Scott said. “They’re not talking about liberal vs. conservative. They’re talking about, ‘I want an open government. I want choices. I want choices in my education. I want choices in my health care.’ That’s how Trump talked.”

 New Republican’s focus is on cutting regulations, targeting young voters and winning Hispanic voters.

Referring to the latter, Scott told FOX that Cubans in South Florida are “all on board” with the president’s Cuban policy introduced Friday in Miami. The new policy aims to reverse many of the actions of former President Barack Obama designed to open up thaw relations with the island country.

“The Cuban people know that you can’t help the Castro regime,” Scott said Wednesday. “It doesn’t work. There is nothing that Obama did that helped give freedom, democracy.”

Scott still silent on Senate run

The president may be urging him to make it official, but Gov. Rick Scott is remaining mum about whether he’ll jump into the race for the U.S. Senate.

Screen Shot 2017-06-20 at 7.38.28 AMAsked about a 2018 run by Erin Burnett, anchor of the eponymously named CNN show Erin Burnett OutFront, Scott said yesterday his focus remains on his current job.

“I’ve always said the same thing. It’s 2017. The race is in 2018. I won’t make a decision until later,” Scott said. “Politicians seem to worry about their next job. I’ve got like 570 days left in this job.”

Burnett raised the question because President Donald Trump tried to put his pal Scott on the spot Friday while they were in Miami announcing the president’s policy on Cuba.

“He’s doing a great job. Oh, I hope he runs for the Senate,” Trump told the crowd. “I know I’m not supposed to say that. I hope he runs for the Senate. Rick, are you running?”

Scott remained silent on Friday.

On Monday, during the CNN appearance, he didn’t get to discuss his economic-development trip to Connecticut or the pending impact of a tropical system brewing off the Florida Panhandle.

Burnett turned to Scott with questions about allegations of Trump’s taping conversations in the White House — “I have no idea,” Scott said — and the president’s Twitter usage.

“I think he’s out trying to get his message out,” Scott said of Trump’s tweets. “He’s used it to get his message out. When I’m around him, I’ve talked to him about health care, about Cuba. I was there a week-and-a-half ago about infrastructure. He’s very engaged in the issue of the day.”

Burnett corrected Scott when he offered the line that Trump has “100 million Twitter followers.”

CNN estimates Trump has about 32.4 million followers to his main Twitter account, while across all social media his reach touches 87 million followers.

Posted by Jim Turner

Scott talks infrastructure in D.C. while Comey gets the spotlight

While the political world breathlessly watches fired FBI director James Comey’s testimony at the Senate Intelligence Committee today, Gov. Rick Scott will be at the White House discussing infrastructure.

Scott’s daily schedule shows the governor in D.C. at noon today for an infrastructure summit with state and local leaders at the White House.

The event is set to last until 3:30 p.m.

After that Scott is to be part of a 30-minue infrastructure roundtable with President Donald Trump.

Posted by Jim Turner