Bad choice of words? Maybe. – – Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is catching grief from Democrats for stating last weekend that Florida was “God’s waiting room.”
Florida Democrat Chairwoman Terrie Rizzo took issue (of course she did) with DeSantis, putting out a statement telling him to knock off the joke-telling and “stand up and lead.”
“Florida is ground zero for the nursing home, we’re God’s waiting room,” DeSantis said Sunday. “We have a huge number of facilities, a huge number of residents.” DeSantis also mention the “waiting room” remark during his press conference Saturday at the Cleveland Clinic in Broward County.
Democrats questioned his “leadership,” even referring to him as “Gov. Ron DiSaster” (Courtesy of Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D).
But DeSantis could very well prove all his detractors wrong, considering that Florida is besting all the past COVID-19 infection rate and death toll predictions for the state.
DeSantis is expected to begin opening the state within the next couple of weeks, possibly sooner. READ MORE
Speaking of stand-up comedy, Rep. Debbie Mucarsel-Powell (D) tweeted a funny this past weekend, making fun of President Trump while taking a swipe at DeSantis. READ MORE THE BLEACH! THE BLEACH!
Lies, Lies, and More Lies…
Politics is funny business and when a lying politician gets caught in a lie, it always makes for good copy. You really can’t make this up >>> READ MORE
“Say it’ ain’t so, Joe”- Sarah Palin
Congressional Democrats have gone in hiding after a sexual assault allegation against vice president Joe Biden surfaced last week. The same Democrats that were quick to condemn Justice Brett Kavanaugh of sexual assault, have suddenly gone silent. READ MORE
The Trump campaign’s Florida operation has announced another “Yuuuuuge” milestone this past week. Since March 12th, the group has made 3 million (completed) calls to Floridians.
From the looks of it, it appears as if the calls went well.
“Florida Trump Victory has been on the ground since 2016 and we have not let up. Our campaign’s quick transition to virtual allowed our volunteers to focus on making phone calls from the comfort and safety of their own homes, which led to the tremendous feat of three million calls. We are here to ensure President Trump and other Republicans up and down the ballot win this November.” – Trump Victory Spokesperson Emma Vaughn
Here is a snapshot of the most up-to-date numbers from the Florida Dept. of Health:
Visit The Floridian
“Mucarsel-Powell questions DeSantis’ leadership with funny tweet” by The Floridian’s Javier Manjarres – Florida Congresswoman Debbie Mucarsel-Powell (D) recent tweet about Gov. Ron DeSantis and President Donald Trump served two purposes: to be funny and question DeSantis’ “leadership.” When President Trump stated during a White House coronavirus daily briefing questioned if there was something available like injecting a disinfectant inside humans to fight the COVID-19 virus, media outlets and Democrats like Rep. Mucarsel-Powell pounced, questioning the president’s leadership once again. Here is what Trump said: “I see the disinfectant that knocks it out in a minute, one minute. And is there a way we can do something like that by injection inside or almost a cleaning? As you see, it gets in the lungs, it does a tremendous number on the lungs, so it would be interesting to check that.” Rep. Mucarsel-Powell stated that because she felt Gov. DeSantis “has blindly followed the President’s “leadership “ during this crisis,” she was going to suggest to Floridians to not inject themselves “with bleach or Lysol.”
“Biden’s sexual assault accuser speaks out, blasts CNN” by The Floridian’s Daniel Molina – As former Vice President Joe Biden (D) prepares to take on President Trump in the general election, new reports are surfacing against him regarding sexual assault claims. Tara Reade has been spearheading that effort, slamming the Democratic candidate for sexually assaulting her in the 1990s. In a recent interview with Vice President Biden, CNN’s Anderson Cooper discussed a wide array of topics, but one issue that was not addressed is the allegations aimed against him, This, Tara Reade says, made her lose respect for the journalist. Speaking to Fox News, Reade expressed that “it’s shocking that this much time has passed and that he is an actual nominee for president and they’re not asking the questions.” Reade added that Biden has “been on ‘Anderson Cooper’ at least twice where he was not asked.” She further questioned, “if this were Donald Trump, would they treat it the same way? If this were Brett Kavanaugh, did they treat it the same way?”
“DeSantis to lift ban on elective medical procedures” by The Floridian’s Javier Manjarres – With the number of COVID-19 cases in Florida continuing to decrease, Gov. Ron DeSantis and his Re-Open Florida Task Forces continue to strategize on which sectors of the state economy to reopen first, and it appears as if the medical community will be first in line. During a press conference at the Cleveland Clinic in Weston Florida this past weekend, Gov. DeSantis updated reporters on his administration’s response to the disease that has all but completely shut down the U.S. economy. DeSantis said that he and his Task Force would be meeting over the weekend to discuss when to allow healthcare professionals to resume elective medical procedures like outpatient screenings and surgeries. “I think certainly we are going to need to do that,” said DeSantis “These elective procedures really do affect patients health, you are talking about screenings, you are talking about things that are really important.”
“Loomer’s GOP opponent Christian Acosta makes false fundraising claim” by The Floridian’s Javier Manjarres – The 2020 election cycle is in full swing in Florida, and all of the incumbents hoping to hold on to their congressional seats, and the candidates, including Laura Loomer and Christian Acosta, vying to become the next members of the U.S. Congress, have now qualified to be on the ballot. Politics is a blood sport and while most congressional candidates don’t have to revert to going too negative against their opponents, let alone lie about their respective campaigns or feel the need to exploit the President of the United States or some other elected official, there are those desperate enough who do. This appears to be the case in the Republican primary race in Florida’s 21st congressional district, where Rep. Lois Frankel (D) is the sitting congressperson.
“Melania Trump Sends Care Packages Gifts To Hospitals in 10 States Fighting Coronavirus” by The Floridian’s Mona Salama – First Lady Melania Trump sent care packages that include blankets, caps, and other gifts to hospital medical staff and children patients in 10 states, including a hospital that were the hardest hit by the coronavirus. Hospitals in New York, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Louisiana, Florida, Ohio, Tennessee, Texas, Delaware, Nevada, and the District of Columbia were sent the care packages that were shipped on Thursday. “The medical community has gone above and beyond to protect the health of the American people,” the First Lady said in a statement. “The packages are just a small token of my appreciation for their courage and leadership in this time of need.” Children patients will receive gifts from the First Lady’s Be Best initiative containing blankets, caps, tote bags, pencils, backpacks, stickers, Dr. Seuss books and games. Earlier, Melania tweeted an uplifting message of her “thoughts and prayers” to those fighting this “terrible virus,” as well as “families who have lost loved ones” to millions of Americans.
“Trump Signs Coronavirus Supplemental Relief Bill” by The Floridian’s Daniel Molina – President Trump has signed the “Phase 3.5” emergency interim coronavirus relief package that will replenish the fund for small businesses with $484 billion. It will also add billions of dollars to help hospitals across the United States as they combat the coronavirus. In a ceremony held at the Oval Office, President Trump praised the bill, saying that it is “great for small businesses” and “great for the workers.” In addition, the president argued that it will “extend relief to thousands of African-American and Hispanic American business owners.” Specifically, the bill provides $310 billion for the Paycheck Protection Program, which is aimed at helping businesses that have fewer than 500 employees by allowing them to obtain loans that can cover eight weeks of their payroll, their benefits, and other expenses. The bill passed in the U.S. House of Representatives by an overwhelming margin of 388-5 with 35 legislators not voting. Most of Florida’s congressional delegation, which includes Reps. Debbie Mucarsel-Powell, Ted Deutch, Matt Gaetz, Stephanie Murphy, Darren Soto, and Ross Spano, voted in favor of the measure.
“Florida’s 2020 list of qualified congressional candidates (Official)” by The Floridian’s Javier Manjarres – The qualifying period to run for the U.S. Congress in Florida is over. Candidates had between noon on Monday, April 20, 2020, until noon on Friday (today), April 24, 2020, to either qualify by petition or pay the hefty qualifying fee. All of the congressional districts are in play except for CD 25 where Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart (R) won his election because no one qualified to opposed him. READ MORE. As of 12:01 pm today, Friday the 24th, here are your official congressional candidates. Note–Incumbents are highlighted.
“Diaz-Balart runs unopposed wins re-election to Congress” by The Floridian’s Javier Manjarres – Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart (R) can always count on at least one legitimate and well-funding Democratic opponent like Mary Barzee Flores every election cycle, but this year is the exception. Early on this the campaign, a young Fidel Castro-supporting Cuban-American by the name of Yadira Escobar made noise when she announced her intentions to run against the veteran Diaz-Balart. But when her communist leanings were exposed, and when Rep. Debbie Mucarsel-Powell (D) denounced her, Escobar’s fledgling campaign was sunk. Diaz-Balart has qualified to be on the ballot in November and will not face a challenge. No one else qualified to be on the ballot to compete for the seat in Florida’s 25th congressional race. “I am humbled by the overwhelming support I received for my re-election campaign. I, sincerely thank the people of District 25 for the trust and confidence they have instilled in my service and look forward to continuing my work on the issues of importance to the people of the 25th Congressional District and the United States.” – Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart
“Task force helping Central Florida businesses come up with plans to reopen” by WOGX’s Stephanie Buffamonte – The stay-at-home order is currently set to end on April 30 and Gov. Ron DeSantis has not announced specific plans on if it will be extended or what the next steps are, but leaders are looking at how businesses can safely reopen. In a Sunday afternoon press conference, Orlando Health President and CEO David Strong said he believes Central Florida is flattening the curve. “Certainly, the peak, we believe, has passed,” Strong said. According to Strong, on April 8, the hospital had 54 COVID-19 patients. As of the morning of April 26, they had 13 COVID-19 patients. The stay-at-home order is set to end on April 30. Gov. Ron DeSantis has not said what will happen next. “We’re going to make an announcement pretty soon, obviously, because we are coming up on the end of the month,” Gov. DeSantis said at a news conference at Orlando Health. “I’m less concerned about a specific date than getting it right.”
“DeSantis describes Florida as ‘God’s waiting room’ at COVID-19 briefing” by Channel 10’s Michelle Solomon – Gov. Ron DeSantis used ground zero, nursing homes and God’s waiting room all in one sentence at his press briefing on coronavirus Sunday, raising the eyebrows and the ire of a few. “Florida is ground zero for the nursing home, we’re God’s waiting room,” DeSantis said Sunday. “We have a huge number of facilities, a huge number of residents.” The term is a decades-old joke about the amount of retirees that move to Florida; it isn’t complimentary. The Florida governor made the remarks within the first 10 minutes into the briefing while saying that the state had acted quickly to protect the elderly. He said he realized early on from paying attention to statistics from South Korea “that not all age groups were equally at risk for coronavirus”. . . . that the fatalities were occurring in “folks 65 and up.” Florida Democratic Party chair Terrie Rizzo was quick to react to the Republican governor’s gaffe, sending out a statement: “Governor, this isn’t a time to do stand-up, it’s a time to stand up and lead.”
“Florida hospitals are ready to care for non-coronavirus patients” by Tampa Bay Times’ Mary Ellen Klas – Patients ignored chest pain for days only to arrive at the hospital in cardiac arrest. Other patients ignored seizures until their situation became more severe. And a study by the Cleveland Clinic found a 38 percent decrease in patients presenting to the hospital with stroke and heart attack symptoms since onset of the pandemic. As fear of being exposed to the novel coronavirus consumed the public, it also kept people away from seeking critical medical attention, several doctors told Gov. Ron DeSantis this weekend during a two visits to hospitals. “It’s time for the community to understand — and the numbers support this — it’s time to come back and get your healthcare,’’ said George Ralls, chief quality officer for Orlando Health during a press conference with DeSantis on Sunday. “There are many cases that we have seen come into the emergency departments that were much, much worse than they would have been had they come in a few days before.”
“Florida confirmed coronavirus cases now over 31,500 — South Florida death toll at 629” by Miami Herald’s David J. Neal – Another 689 reported confirmed COVID-19 cases put Florida’s total at 31,528 as of Sunday morning and South Florida accounted for 14 of the 19 newly reported deaths. The Sunday morning update includes cases and deaths that would’ve been in the Saturday evening update, but the state cut back to once-a-day updates Saturday. As expected, Sunday’s increases, 689 cases and 19 deaths, were much greater than the corresponding numbers Saturday. Still, seven of the last eight days, the confirmed case count has been under 1,000. State and South Florida county breakdown…
“Trial set to begin over Florida’s felon voting rights law” by Associated Press – Betty Riddle took her place at the head of the line at a Sarasota community center early one morning in March, butterflies rising in her stomach. In and out of prison for much of her life, she never thought the day would come when she would be casting her first ballot — at age 62. That day arrived on March 17 when Florida held its presidential primary. For Riddle, it was her first opportunity to vote after a federal judge last fall temporarily barred the state of Florida from preventing her and 16 others from voting. In a trial that starts Monday, her lawyers will argue before the same U.S. District Court judge to permanently undo a state law that requires felons to first settle their financial debts before regaining the right to vote under Amendment 4. That 2018 ballot measure restored the voting franchise to felons who have done their time and completed probation. “It was one of the greatest moments in my life,” said Riddle, describing that day in March when she cast her first vote. “It was like getting your freedom back, allowing my voice to be heard.” As a plaintiff in a voting rights case, which is being held by virtual conferencing because of the coronavirus outbreak, she now speaks on behalf of many more disenfranchised Floridians who lost the right to vote when they were convicted of serious crimes.
“’The food supply chain is breaking,’ Tyson says as plants close” by CNN Business’ Rob McLean – Tyson Foods (TSN) is warning that “millions of pounds of meat” will disappear from the supply chain as the coronavirus pandemic pushes food processing plants to close, leading to product shortages in grocery stores across the country. “The food supply chain is breaking,” wrote board chairman John Tyson in a full-page advertisement published Sunday in The New York Times, Washington Post and Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. US farmers don’t have anywhere to sell their livestock, he said, adding that “millions of animals — chickens, pigs and cattle — will be depopulated because of the closure of our processing facilities.” “There will be limited supply of our products available in grocery stores until we are able to reopen our facilities that are currently closed,” Tyson wrote. Tyson Foods, which employs roughly 100,000 workers, closed its pork plants in Waterloo, Iowa, and Logansport, Indiana, last week so that workers in those facilities could be tested for the virus.
“Potential Biden running mates not asked about sex assault allegation” by Fox News’ Brian Flood – Two prominent, female Democratic vice-presidential front-runners appeared on three national political shows Sunday morning and neither were asked about explosive allegations against their potential running mate Joe Biden. A now-infamous clip from a 1993 episode of CNN’s “Larry King Live” resurfaced on Friday, appearing to include the mother of Tara Reade — who has accused Biden of past sexual assault while in the Senate — alluding to “problems” her daughter faced while working as a staffer for the then-U.S. senator from Delaware. Reade later confirmed to Fox News that it was her mother on the call, and the allegations against Biden reclaimed the spotlight. However, CNN’s Jake Tapper interviewed former candidate for governor in Georgia Stacey Abrams about her ambitions to Biden’s running mate on “State of the Union” and failed to ask about the allegations. NBC’s “Meet the Press” host Chuck Todd also gave Abrams a pass during an interview on Sunday. “Joe Biden is going to be the president of the United States,” Abrams told Todd while the Peacock Network host ignored the allegation.
“U.S. Debates How Quickly It Can Reopen” by WSJ’s Jennifer Calfas, Talal Ansari and Natasha Khan – Some U.S. states took tentative steps toward reopening from lockdowns spurred by the new coronavirus, as officials debated how quickly to remove restrictions amid uncertainty about when the worst of the pandemic would subside. Salons, retailers and other businesses in several U.S. states started to reopen over the weekend, as governors began easing restrictions in some sectors in an effort to begin to repair the battered economy. Around the world, too, officials began moves to ease restrictions. Hard-hit Italy announced a timetable for reopening beginning next month, while Spain allowed children to leave their homes after six weeks under one of the strictest lockdowns in the world. The moves in the U.S. come as the rate of growth in infections in some parts of the country appeared to slow, according to some health and state officials. Still, the number of confirmed infections neared 1 million in the U.S., according to figures from Johns Hopkins University. Public-health officials warned social-distancing measures would likely continue through the summer and a return to normalcy could prove fitful.
“Investors bet on testing, treatments for restart of U.S. economy” by Reuters’ Sinéad Carew – Investors are pinning their hopes for the reopening of the U.S. economy on the potential for wider availability of testing for COVID-19 cases and on drug trials for treatments of the deadly disease but said, until there is concrete progress in these areas, further stock market gains may be limited. Much of the S&P 500’s .SPX almost 27% advance above its March 23 low has been due to hopes that massive U.S. fiscal and monetary support would dampen the economic blow from stay-at-home orders designed to contain the coronavirus pandemic. But recently, the index has reacted to reports about trials and in particular Gilead Science’s (GILD.O) remdesivir experimental treatment for COVID-19, the respiratory illness caused by the new coronavirus. Remdesivir, which previously failed as a treatment for Ebola, is designed to keep a virus from replicating and overwhelming a patient’s immune system. This volatility highlights investor impatience for indications of when state and Federal authorities might start to ease stay-at-home orders and get people back to work.
“New York hospitals are studying a common heartburn drug as treatment for Covid-19” by CNN’s Elizabeth Cohen – Hospitals in New York are giving Covid-19 patients heartburn medicine to see if it helps fight the virus, according to the doctor who initiated the trial. Preliminary results of the clinical trial of famotidine, the active ingredient in Pepcid, could come out in the next few weeks, said Dr. Kevin Tracey, president of Feinstein Institutes for Medical Research at Northwell Health, which runs 23 hospitals in the New York City area. So far, 187 patients have enrolled in the clinical trial, and Northwell eventually hopes to enroll 1,200, he said. “There are many examples in the history of medicine where a drug that was designed for one purpose turns out to have an effect in another disease,” Tracey said. He said if famotidine works — and that’s a big if at this point — it would be easy to use it on a widespread scale. “It’s generic, it’s plentiful and it’s inexpensive,” he said. But he emphasized that it might not work. “We don’t know if it has any benefit. We really don’t. I swear we don’t,” he said. “People are hoping for anything. But we need to do this clinical trial.” He also emphasized that the patients in the study are in the hospital taking mega-doses intravenously — doses about nine times what someone would normally take for heartburn.
“Pompeo preparing argument that US still ‘participant’ in Iran nuclear deal, in effort to restore UN sanctions” by Fox News’ Frank Miles, Rich Edson – A U.S. official confirmed to Fox News on Sunday that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is preparing a legal argument claiming the country is still a participant in the 2015 nuclear agreement with Iran. This plan would give the U.S. standing at the United Nations Security Council to push to extend the arms embargo on Iran expiring in October, and restore sanctions for Iran’s violations of the deal. The State Department has been considering this strategy to restore U.N. sanctions on Iran that were in place for months before the deal came into effect. The New York Times reported the argument “would, in essence, claim it legally remains a ‘participant state’” in the Iran nuclear deal. Pompeo told the paper: “We cannot allow the Islamic Republic of Iran to purchase conventional weapons in six months. President Obama should never have agreed to end the U.N. arms embargo.” He added, “We are prepared to exercise all of our diplomatic options to ensure the arms embargo stays in place at the U.N. Security Council.”
“Trump Tamps Down Azar Departure Speculation” by WSJ’s Stephanie Armour and Rebecca Ballhaus – President Trump told Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar in a call on Sunday that he wants to keep him in his post, after learning of discussions under way in the White House about replacing the secretary, according to a person familiar with the matter. The Wall Street Journal and other outlets reported on Saturday that administration officials were discussing replacing Mr. Azar following criticism of his management of the early response to the coronavirus pandemic. Mr. Trump was frustrated by the reports and wanted to push back, another person familiar with the matter said. The president tweeted on Sunday that the reports were “fake news” and that the secretary was doing an “excellent job.” Mr. Azar issued his own tweet calling reports of his potential ouster “#FakeNews.” Administration officials said the White House is hesitant to shake up the leadership of HHS during a pandemic, though they acknowledged that frustration with the secretary has been growing in recent weeks. Internal conversations about a possible replacement for Mr. Azar had taken on a far more serious tone in recent days, the officials said.
“Last remaining patient from the El Paso Walmart mass shooting dies” by CNN’s Nicole Chavez and Chuck Johnston – A youth soccer coach who had been hospitalized since last year’s mass shooting at a Walmart store in El Paso, Texas, has died. Guillermo “Memo” Garcia died Saturday evening at the Del Sol Medical Center in El Paso, the hospital and Miriah Soliz, an attorney representing the family in a civil lawsuit against the retailer, told CNN. He was the last remaining patient at the hospital from the August 3 shooting, the hospital said. “After a nearly nine-month fight, our hearts are heavy as we report Guillermo “Memo” Garcia, our last remaining patient being treated from the El Paso shooting, has passed away,” David Shimp, the hospital’s chief executive officer, said in a statement. “His courage, his strength and his story have touched many lives, including those of our caregivers, who tirelessly fought with him and for him every step of the way. We are grieving with his family and with our community.” Garcia is now the 23rd victim of the August mass shooting. He was outside the store with his wife Jessica and their two children, fundraising for the El Paso Fusion Soccer Club — his daughter’s soccer team that he helped coach — when a gunman opened fire, killing 22 people and injuring dozens more.
“USNS Comfort’s last patients discharged, ship to leave NY by end of month, Navy announces” by Fox News’ Bradford Betz – The USNS Comfort, a hospital ship brought to New York City to assist in the response to the coronavirus pandemic, has discharged its last patients and will return to Virginia by the end of the month, the Navy announced Sunday. The 1,000-bed hospital ship, which has been docked at a Manhattan pier since March 30, originally was deployed to care for patients without coronavirus but wound up switching gears and started accepting them as the city’s hospitals became overwhelmed with COVID-19 patients. As of Saturday, the ship had treated just 182 patients. There was just one patient left on the ship late Saturday evening. “We are proud and humbled to have assisted New York and New Jersey in this capacity,” Lt. Lt Marycate Walsh, a Navy spokeswoman, said. The Comfort’s sister ship, the Mercy, was deployed to Los Angeles the same day to support efforts to combat the virus. Gov. Gavin Newsom and Mayor Eric Garcetti have yet to approve its withdrawal. The Comfort is expected to leave for its homeport in Norfolk, Virginia, where it will restock and be readied for another possible assignment, Pentagon spokesman Jonathan Hoffman said. He did not provide a date for the ship’s departure.
“As Kim Jong Un Disappears, North Korea Watchers Advise Caution” by WSJ’s Andrew Jeong – One question swirled among North Korea watchers this weekend—where is Kim Jong Un?—as the dictator’s unexplained absence stretched past two weeks and Twitter lighted up with speculation about his incapacitation or death. As of late Sunday, there was little information about the third-generation leader’s health. The guessing game began when Mr. Kim missed the country’s most important holiday on April 15, then ratcheted higher after a South Korean publication reported he had had heart surgery. On Saturday, a Japanese magazine took it a step further, writing that he had been left in a vegetative state after the procedure was botched. The rumors illustrate North Korea’s outsize dependence on a single person for its political stability. The answer to the question of his health holds significant implications for the future of high-stakes nuclear negotiations with the U.S. and the stability of a country on China’s border. “These persistent rumors suggest that there are concerns that his health could impact his ability to lead the country,” said Jean Lee, a public-policy fellow at the Washington-based Woodrow Wilson Center. “And those concerns are always worth paying attention to with a country like North Korea where the system has been built around the rule of one family.”
President Donald Trump @realDonaldTrump –The people that know me and know the history of our Country say that I am the hardest working President in history. I don’t know about that, but I am a hard worker and have probably gotten more done in the first 3 1/2 years than any President in history. The Fake News hates it!
Rep. Ted Deutch @RepTedDeutch – The new Social Security Trustees report does not reflect the impact of COVID19. Congress must act to protect seniors & people w/ disabilities & expand Social Security benefits. These most vulnerable Americans shouldn’t have their earned benefits cut.
Congressman Greg Steube @RepGregSteube -Hospital Highlight of the Day: Thank you to the staff at Bartow Regional Medical Center! You have been taking care of our community for decades, and we know that we are in good hands with you now.
This is good news because this additional $322B will help countless #SmallBusinesses & will save millions of jobs
The $672B committed to #PPP is an extraordinary amount,but the hard truth is that the extraordinary demand is even higher
AG Ashley Moody @AGAshleyMoody- I am grateful for our law enforcement officers & medical professionals risking their health & safety to fight this pandemic. Our office keeps working to protect Floridians from price gouging, opioids & human trafficking.