Betraying Ron DeSantis
Big political props go out to POLITICO’S Michael Kruse, Gary Fineout, and Matt Dixon, all good men who I have the utmost respect for. Their collaboration on an in-depth, deep-dive story on Gov. Ron DeSantis is deserving of much praise and perhaps even lunch at Andrew’s.
While the story is a bit long and accurate, much of what was written, I have heard from numerous sources.
However, because of my personal and long-standing relationship with the Governor, I have abstained from commenting or reporting on issues that would comprise the confidence and loyalty he has instilled in me.
I will poke and question him on issues like I have poked and questioned other political friends in the past, but it is shameful that some of his former and trusted friends and associates are spilling some, not all, of the goods on him.
Let me say this. I know where many of the bones are buried for many top elected officials and could have brought down several of them with what I know, but I chose not to.
You can’t put a price tag on loyalty.
When someone like DeSantis confides in a friend, associate, or a reporter “off the record,” you respect him and keep your gripes to yourself and not cowardly open up to reporters. If you are going to betray someone’s trust like this, then grow a pair and own up to it.
And you wonder why he keeps what he does close to his vest.
For all of you Progressive Democrats salivating over the prospect of his demise and wish DeSantis had not won in 2018, well, remember who you all picked to represent you.
You picked a compromised and confused dandelion in Andrew Gillum, and Chris King, who everyday struggles to stay relevant in Florida politics. CLICK HERE to remind yourself how close Gillum came to represent all Floridians.
You lost. DeSantis won.
Ron DeSantis @GovRonDeSantis –Thank you to Florida’s first responders who are doing a great job responding to Hurricane #Sally. As I told @BillHemmer flooding is likely to continue in NW FL over the next few days and Floridians in Gulf Coast counties must remain alert.
Commissioner Nikki Fried @NikkiFriedFL –In response to Hurricane #Sally, I have issued recommendations to @MyFDOT that size and weight restrictions on agricultural vehicles be waived for all Florida counties west of Leon. This applies to vehicles transporting agricultural commodities, equipment, services & supplies.
AG Ashley Moody @AGAshleyMoody–Spoke with local law enforcement and city leaders about efforts to keep Floridians safe as #Sally begins to exit Florida. Flooding still poses a major threat. Listen to local emergency officials and stay safe.
Rep. Anthony Sabatini @AnthonySabatini–Most people are over the silly COVID hysteria and exaggerations, but what you’ll see this next 45 days are increasingly desperate attempts—last ditch efforts—to try to terrify the remaining people who are still listening…
Rep. Debbie Mucarsel-Powell–@RepDMP–the reports that ICE is conducting mass hysterectomies on migrant women is horrendous and devalues the lives of people of color. The egregious conduct alleged by the whistleblower deserves nothing less than a swift and sweeping investigation.
“Joe Biden opposes school choice, will not fund private charter schools” by The Floridian’s Javier Manjarres – School choice is a big issue this election cycle, not just among Republican voters, but with Democrats and Independents, especially here in Florida. School choice is a make or break issue in Florida, so if you come down on the wrong side of it (oppose it), politicians can expect to lose significant support from tens of thousands of school-minded voters. Earlier this year, The White House announced that President Donald Trump would be calling on Congress to pass the “Education Freedom Scholarships and Opportunity Act and give 1 million children the freedom to attend a school of their choice.” Trump is fully supportive of both public and private schools, but former Vice President Joe Biden appears to only support public charter schools and is against any federal funding for private Charter Schools. During an interview with the National Education Association, a group that has openly stated their opposition towards charter schools, Biden agreed with the NEA’s position on charter schools. TEACHERS’ UNION: “[We’ve] pushed back against what we think are very misguided school reforms like charter schools…You know how we feel about charter schools” BIDEN: “Same way I feel” Biden went on to say that if he were elected president, not “a penny of federal money” would go to private charter schools” even as two-thirds of parents support the Charter School, education model. “I will not… there will be no federal dollars,” said Biden. I’m not Betsy DeVos, nor will my Secretary of Education be like her in terms of her attitudes about public schools. No privately funded Charter Schools will receive or private Charter Schools, will receive a penny of federal money -none.
“Latinos for Trump highlight Biden past “Salsa moves” on women (Video)” by The Floridian’s Javier Manjarres – When former Vice President Joe Biden played the song “Despacito” on his cellphone during his most recent Hispanic Heritage month event in Florida, little did he know that it could be used against him in an ad by Team Trump. You better bet your last peso that Latinos for Trump would score points off the grooving and former vice president’s use of the song, considering one of the verses in the song eerily depicts what Biden has been accused of doing in the past –breathing on the necks and ears of unsuspecting women. “Despacito want to breathe your despacito neck. Let me tell you things to your ear for you to remember if you are not with me Despacito want to undress to slowly kisses signed in the walls of your maze and make your body…” Trump’s video uses clips of Biden getting very affectionate with women. You can’t help but chuckle a bit as you watch the vide0. You may not like the video if you support Biden, but you can’t deny it’s a little funny.
“Trantalis Criticized for Mismanaging Growing Water Crisis” by The Floridian’s Daniel Molina – Fort Lauderdale Mayor Dean Trantalis (D) is receiving heavy scrutiny over the water crisis that he is presiding over. Concerned constituents argue that he is not doing enough to respond to the growing issue, which has caused the city’s toxicity levels to reach dangerous levels for them that could bring about serious health risks. Instead of addressing the issue, some voters believe that he is attempting to keep this information under tight wraps, especially considering that it is election season. In a town hall meeting last week, Ken Cooper (D), who is running a campaign against Trantalis, discussed new pollution results from the recent 230 million gallon sewer spill experienced in Fort Lauderdale. Cooper questioned why Trantalis did not notify constituents that the water had become highly polluted, adding that Trantalis had also ignored the Reiss Report which provided him with advanced notice that the city’s sewer piped were on track to explode. In a statement, Cooper elaborated that “this sort of management and mismanagement is no longer tolerable. By the citizens of the City of Fort Lauderdale, and we need a new mayor.” In early January, Trantalis penned an article on the Sun-Sentinel promising that he would lead the charge on solving the water crisis. He stressed that he wanted “the community to know that the Fort Lauderdale City Commission is committed to ensuring that our water, sewer and stormwater systems will keep pace with the demands that we have put on them,” adding that “we cannot have sewage regularly flowing through our streets, yards and waterways.”
“NC SOS Raises Alarm With Signature Verification Thoughts” by The Floridian’s Daniel Molina – With a number of high-profile races taking part across the United States, North Carolina finds itself in a controversial situation after Elaine Marshall (D), the North Carolina Secretary of State, was questioned on her thoughts regarding mail-in-balloting. When discussing mail-in-balloting, Marshall commented that “there’s a movement to do what’s called signature matching, which has not been approved in North Carolina, and it is suspect by authorities in signature matters.” The Secretary of State added that “they really have no basis in North Carolina” because “you can sign up online, and it says that you can use a stylus to sign online, you can sign with something not docusign… you can use a scribble on the screen, you can use a pen… that, to me, means that just about any signature is gonna have to count. Detractors of mail-in-balloting have questioned whether or not this manner of voting would present any risks to an accurate count of election votes, and Marshall’s words have only added fuel to the fire as to why some voters feel this will be a risk to the election. Because the Secretary of State is charged with guaranteeing that there is election security and integrity, voters are now questioning why signature verification is vital to the election process. Moreover, they are now calling for states to support the proper safeguards and accountability measures to ensure that all votes are valid come election night.
“Chip LaMarca running a “Whatever it Takes” campaign for re-election” by The Floridian’s Javier Manjarres – State Rep. Chip LaMarca has cut, scooped up, and released his first campaign ad of the 2020 general election as he gets set to face off with Democrat Linda Thompson Gonzalez. LaMarca’s wife Eileen narrates the ad, saying that her husband will do whatever it takes to help his constituents, including continuing to work to help “families and businesses recover during COVID-19” and pushing for higher teacher pay and school safety across the state. “My record is clear. I’ve supported our small business community, voted to ban fracking, and fund and protect our beaches,” said Rep. LaMarca in a statement. I have consistently supported our teachers and education choices for our families. But, we have more work to do. We need solutions to provide people and small businesses the support they need during challenging economic times. I firmly believe we must change how our unemployment system works. We cannot allow political stunts to stand in the way of success and by working together we can get it done. For the district, for Broward County, and for Florida.” “Chip will do whatever it takes to keep Broward safe and clean,” stated Mrs. LaMarca. LaMarca, who sports a “Life is a Cabernet” vanity license plate on his car, followed his wife’s “safe and clean” remark by dropping what appears to be a doggy bag fool of, um, “stuff” into the garbage. While Gibby the dog was not given credit for his contribution to LaMarca’s ad, we will give the dog his doo-doo.
“Rubio and Scott push to extend Daylight Saving Time until 2021” by The Floridian’s Daniel Molina – Florida Senators Marco Rubio (R) and Rick Scott (R) introduced legislation this week that would keep the United States on Daylight Saving Time through November 7th, 2021. The bill was introduced to provide one year of stability for families that dealing with changes regarding virtual learning, having to work from home and countless other disruptions in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic. In introducing the bill, Senator Rubio explained that “our government has asked a lot of the American people over the past seven months, and keeping the nation on Daylight Savings Time is just one small step we can take to help ease the burden,” adding that “more daylight in the after school hours is critical to helping families and children endure this challenging school year.” The Florida lawmaker noted that “studies have shown many benefits of a year-round Daylight Saving Time, and while I believe we should make it permanent all year around, I urge my colleagues to – at the very least – work with me to avoid changing the clocks this fall.” Echoing in his remarks, Senator Scott, the former Florida Governor, expressed that “after months of staying inside amid the coronavirus pandemic, families across the nation could use a little more sunshine and time to enjoy all that Florida has to offer.” Scott also reminded that he “signed legislation as Governor to continue Daylight Saving Time year-round for Floridians,” and he asserted that he will continue to join Senator Rubio in leading “this effort in Congress.”
“Rubio Says Rioting Has Cost Businesses $1 Billion” by The Floridian’s Daniel Molina – Florida Senator Marco Rubio (R) sat down with Fox and Friends to discuss a number of issues in the political arena, and one topic he deemed important to discuss is the financial strain that recent riots have had on small businesses. In fact, the Florida lawmaker pointed out that, so far, it has been a $1 billion cost in riot damages. In the interview, Senator Rubio explained that “a disproportionate number of those businesses that were impacted that way were owned by minorities,” adding that. “a lot of these small businesses that were looted or had to close because the streets were unsafe, a lot of them were owned by the very minorities that these rioters allegedly were out there in favor for.” Moreover, Rubio made the distinction that “if somebody wants to go out and hold up a sign and scream and be loud because they are against something that’s happening in our country, whether you agree with them or not, that’s their constitutional right.” However, he did stress that “what you don’t have a right to do is set fires, and attack police stations, and kill people in the streets, and burn down buildings, and loot businesses.” As well, the Florida Senator argued that the mainstream media has not been accurately covering what has been happening, expressing that “some of the people out there that cover this stuff are afraid to call it out because they think they’re going to be accused of condemning the broader movement to racial equality.” What to conversation comes down to “is about looters… about violence and anarchy in the streets” that “cannot continue.”
“Biden’s oil drilling ban will cost thousands of American jobs” by The Floridian’s Javier Manjarres – The oil & gas industry is the heart and soul of the Louisiana and Texas economies, so any ban on drilling off the coasts of these two states would be catastrophic to Americans and the national economy— tens of thousands of jobs would be lost. According to the Texas Oil & Gas Association, any ban on federal leasing “ would mean over 200,000 jobs lost and $223 million in reduced revenue for Texas and Louisiana alone.” Even as President Donald Trump extended the moratorium for drilling off of Florida’s shores, a move that was welcomed by both Republican and Democratic lawmakers in Washington, the president wants to expand drilling in the rest of the Gulf of Mexico and off the Atlantic coastline. Senators Rick Scott and Marco Rubio led the charge in trying to persuade President Trump to ensure Floridians the drilling off of the state’s coastline was off the table. Moments after the president signed his executive order to extend the moratorium, Sen. Scott tweeted “after many conversations” with the president on “the importance of keeping FL’s coastline pristine,” the he “extended the moratorium for another 10 years.” Rep. Brian Mast (R) stated that it wasn’t “worth the risk of endangering” the environment. “Drilling off the shores of Florida is a non-starter—not worth the risk of endangering our environment, fishing, boating, or tourism,” stated Rep. Mast President Trump’s plan to extend the moratorium is the right one, and it proves that our voices are being heard. We must never tolerate drilling near our beautiful coastline!”
“Florida: We can’t afford Trump’s jobless aid anymore” by Politico’s Gary Fineout – Florida‘s Republican governor will end a Trump program to boost unemployment benefits to out-of-work Americans because the state’s bare-bones jobless program is too poor to continue qualifying for the federal boost. Gov. Ron DeSantis, an ally of President Donald Trump, is scrapping the extra $300 in weekly benefits because the state pays its unemployed workers too little to meet a 25 percent matching requirement. Florida appears to be the first state in the nation to halt the program because of its cost. The move comes eight weeks before Election Day, as Trump is counting on his adopted home state to win a second term. If Trump loses Florida, his pathway to reelection could be difficult or impossible. Republican and Democratic state legislators were surprised by the DeSantis decision, which was revealed without fanfare late Monday. Hundreds of thousands of unemployed residents remain in desperate need of financial help due to the coronavirus pandemic and ensuing economic shutdown, and more than 3 million people in Florida have applied for some form of state or federal unemployment help since mid-March. “It’s baffling,” said state Sen. Annette Taddeo, a Miami Democrat. “You are leaving on the money on the table. For people who claim we’ve got to get the economy going, guess what? One way to get the economy going is to make sure that people have food on the table and can pay their rent.” Fred Piccolo, a spokesperson for DeSantis, did not provide an explanation for why Florida was shutting down the program, but an administration official acknowledged that cost was behind the decision. Department of Economic Opportunity spokesperson Tiffany Vause did not respond to detailed questions about the program.
“Florida Inmate COVID-19 Cases Near 16,000” by CBS Miami / NSF – Florida is nearing 16,000 COVID-19 cases among prison inmates and 3,000 cases among corrections workers. A report released Wednesday by the state Department of Corrections showed an additional 49 inmate cases, bringing the total since March to 15,983 cases. The report also showed an additional 28 cases among corrections workers, bringing the total to 2,940. In addition, 117 inmates have died, a number that remained unchanged Wednesday. A Florida Department of Health report shows that 17 of the deaths have involved inmates at South Florida Reception Center, 12 have involved inmates at the Reception and Medical Center and 10 have involved inmates at Dade Correctional Institution.
“Florida ethics panel dismisses nondisclosure complaint vs. Congress candidate Byron Donalds” by Fort Myers News-Press’ Amy Bennett Williams – The Florida Ethics Commission has dismissed a complaint about Byron Donalds, a Republican running for Congress to represent U.S. District 19. After reviewing the complaint, the commission found it lacked legal sufficiency — a basis to proceed. “I’m glad the Ethics Commission looked into this and realized there was no sufficiency at all,” Donalds said. The complaint alleged Donalds lied and covered up past legal troubles on several applications. Donalds called the complaint “frivolous and baseless.” Filed by real estate agent and former Collier County School Board member Kelly Lichter, the complaint alleged Donalds “falsely and criminally completed regulatory applications by not disclosing either a sealed charge for receiving bribes or the dismissed charge for distributing marijuana.” Lichter said Donalds lied about his charges on multiple applications, including one to sell securities and a 2014 application to serve on the board of Florida SouthWestern State College. At issue were a 1997 marijuana charge dismissed as part of a pre-trial diversion program and a 2000 bribery charge that later was expunged and no longer is available as a public record. Donalds maintained throughout that because the records had been expunged, “the records don’t exist anymore. … A judge ruled that I could have these records expunged. Under law, I don’t have to acknowledge that because the records technically don’t even exist anymore.”
“Florida WWII statue to stay at Sarasota Bayfront after GOP congressman intervenes” by Fox News’ Michael Ruiz – A controversial statue of a Navy sailor kissing a dental assistant to celebrate the Allies’ World War II victory over Japan can stay in a Florida city where officials considered removing it. “Sarasota City Manager Tom Barwin just told me the ‘Unconditional Surrender’ statue will remain at the Bayfront,” Florida GOP congressman Vern Buchanan said in a statement Tuesday. “That’s what the people of our community wanted overwhelmingly.” Buchanan urged local officials to leave the statue last week, as they mulled either moving it or taking it down entirely. The 25-foot “Unconditional Surrender” sculpture depicts an iconic photograph taken in Times Square in Aug. 14, 1945, showing George Mendonsa kissing Greta Zimmer Friedman, a dental assistant. They had never met, and in an interview decades after the famous encounter, Friedman said it wasn’t her choice to be kissed. Vandals spray-painted “#MeToo” on the sculpture, shortly after Mendonsa’s death in 2019. Friedman died in 2016. In his letter last week, Buchanan argued that the statue is a popular landmark with widespread support from veterans and other local community members. “My on-line survey of area residents showed more than 80 percent supported keeping it right where it is – and I agree with them,” he wrote at the time. According to his statement Tuesday, the statue may temporarily be moved during the construction of a new roundabout in Sarasota’s Bayfront, but the city will return it once the work is done. “Special thanks to all of our veterans and residents who spoke out on the issue and made this possible,” Buchanan said. “And special thanks to Tom [Barwin] and city officials for making a great decision.”
“The Governor Who Holds Trump’s Fate in His Hands” by Politico’s MICHAEL KRUSE, MATT DIXON and GARY FINEOUT – Ron DeSantis wanted names. We were in his office here in Florida’s Covid-shuttered Capitol, three reporters wearing masks spread out across from a non-masked DeSantis—stocky, suited and seated behind his desk stacked with thick binders and folders filled with county-by-county coronavirus data. He was flanked by two also maskless staffers and surrounded by carefully curated images and totems—snapshots of him in his Navy whites with his wife and their three young children, his gray Yale baseball jersey in a frame on the brown wood wall, down from a display of a fistful of his favorite James Madison-penned excerpts from the Federalist Papers. At the beginning of our meeting, which his chief of staff billed as his first major “print” interview, we shared with DeSantis a small slice of what we had been hearing—a fuller, less flattering portrait of the just-turned-42-year-old Republican governor of the country’s biggest, most important swing state. People who knew him in his three terms in Congress say he was something of a sour solo act who walked the halls of the Hill with earbuds jammed in his ears, that donors and supporters say he is unusually uncharismatic for a manifestly successful politician and often can seem socially awkward, aloof and even a little ungrateful, that an array of critics and allies alike agree that he has a high IQ but a low EQ … “… I don’t, I don’t—I, I just reject kind of the premise that you guys are putting out there,” he bristled. “Tell me who’s saying this.” A tense few seconds of silence. “Seriously,” DeSantis said. “Who is saying this?” The notoriously media-averse DeSantis has always been uncomfortable talking about himself and maybe even more so hearing others talk about him. And people are talking about him a lot these days. As much as any current governor, DeSantis is a subject of national fixation because of Florida’s singular political importance to Donald Trump’s reelection campaign. But DeSantis remains something of a cipher, easily caricatured for the way he vaulted to this perch in 2018—on the strength of a collection of complimentary tweets and an endorsement from Trump. He is seen by many as not just Trump-tied but Trump-made. It’s an assessment that’s not wrong in the simplest sense—DeSantis has an open line to the president that he uses regularly—but it’s also an underselling of him, even a fundamental misreading.
“Many of Florida’s young adults unaware that 6M Jews were killed in Holocaust, survey finds” by WFLA’s Kelsey Sunderland – Nearly two-thirds of United States residents under the age of 40 don’t know that 6 million Jewish people were killed in the Holocaust, a new survey found. In one of the most comprehensive studies of American understanding of the Holocaust, some of the most important details of the genocide were lost among young adults in the United States. After interviewing 11,000 people nationwide and 200 interviews in each state with adults ages 18 to 39 through phone and online interviews, historians and experts with the Claims Conference found that 63% of those interviewed did not know 6 million Jews were murdered. Instead, 36% of the Millennial and Gen Z respondents thought that 2 million or fewer Jews were murdered. More than 1 in 10 respondents claim having never heard the word “Holocaust” before. Florida was among the states with the lowest Holocaust knowledge According to the survey, 11% of U.S. Millennial and Gen Z respondents across the country believe Jews caused the Holocaust, including 13% of respondents in Florida. Overall, only 20% of the respondents in Florida knew or had heard about the Holocaust, could name one concentration camp, death camp or ghetto and knew that 6 million Jews were killed. Only Mississippi and Arkansas scored lower, at 18% and 17% respectively. In an interview with NBC News, analysts expressed the urgency of educating U.S. residents on the genocide that killed nearly two of every three European Jews by 1945.
“Trump refutes CDC’s Redfield vaccine timeline: ‘I believe he was confused’” by Fox News’ Marisa Schultz – President Trump announced a vaccine distribution plan Wednesday and predicted availability as early as October, directly contradicting a much longer timeline offered earlier in the day by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) director. Dr. Robert Redfield told a panel of Senate lawmakers not to expect a coronavirus vaccine to become widely available to most of the U.S. population until the summer of 2021 — publicly rebuffing Trump’s repeated assertion that a vaccine might be available before the November election. “I think he made a mistake when he said that. It’s just incorrect information,” Trump said Wednesday in response to a question from Fox News’ John Roberts. “I believe he was confused.” Trump also refuted Redfield’s statements that wearing a mask may be more important than a potential vaccine because there’s clear scientific evidence they work. “I might even go so far as to say that this face mask is more guaranteed to protect me against Covid than when I take a Covid vaccine,” Redfield said, holding up his face mask before the Senate panel. Trump said he spoke to Redfield afterwards and thinks the CDC director could have confused the question and answered “incorrectly.” “I think maybe he misunderstood it,” Trump said, adding that “the mask is a mixed bag.” In an apparent attempt to clarify his comments on Wednesday, Redfield tweeted later that a “vaccine is the thing that will get Americans back to normal everyday life,” but also reiterated that the best defense against the contagion currently is wearing a mask.
“Trump turns Rosh Hashanah call into campaign pitch and tells Jewish leaders ‘we love your country’” by CNN’s Jason Hoffman – President Donald Trump participated in a call about the high holidays with Jewish leaders on Wednesday, but it veered into a campaign pitch where he pleaded for more support from Jewish voters and repeated a line that has drawn criticism for being an anti-Semitic trope about American Jews’ loyalty to Israel. “We really appreciate you, we love your country also and thank you very much,” Trump said, concluding his call. His use of “your country” when speaking to Americans was reminiscent of previous remarks he’s made that were criticized for the suggestion that American Jews view themselves as loyal to Israel.
In August of 2019, Trump was harshly criticized for saying Jews who vote for Democrats are “disloyal.” On Wednesday’s call, he made a direct appeal for support in the upcoming election. “And I have to say this, whatever you can do in terms of November 3rd is going to be very important because if we don’t win, Israel is in big trouble,” Trump said to those on the call.
He lamented the lack of support he had received from Jews in 2016, saying their vote “seems to be almost automatically a Democrat vote.” “What really amazes me, and I have to tell you because I saw a poll, that in the last election I got 25% of the Jewish vote. And I said here I have a son-in-law and a daughter who are Jewish, I have beautiful grandchildren that are Jewish,” Trump said. “But I’m amazed that it seems to be almost automatically a Democrat vote.” The President told those on the call that he hopes they can “do better with that” in the 2020 election.
“Barr Tells Prosecutors to Consider Charging Violent Protesters With Sedition” by WSJ’s Aruna Viswanatha and Sadie Gurman – Attorney General William Barr told the nation’s federal prosecutors to be aggressive when charging violent demonstrators with crimes, including potentially prosecuting them for plotting to overthrow the U.S. government, people familiar with the conversation said. In a conference call with U.S. attorneys across the country last week, Mr. Barr warned that sometimes violent demonstrations across the U.S. could worsen as the November presidential election approaches. He encouraged the prosecutors to seek a number federal charges, including under a rarely used sedition law, even when state charges could apply, the people said. The call underscores the priority Mr. Barr has given to prosecuting crimes connected to violence during months of protests against racial injustice, leading to major property damage, as President Trump has made a broader crackdown on the violence and property destruction a key campaign issue. U.S. attorneys have broad discretion in what charges they bring. Federal prosecutors have charged more than 200 people with violent crimes related to the protests, most of whom face counts of arson, assaulting federal officers, or gun crimes. FBI officials earlier this year described the perpetrators as largely opportunistic individuals taking advantage of the protests. In more recent months, police officials say they are alarmed by the presence of armed fringe groups from both sides of the political spectrum. Mr. Barr has blamed much of the violence on leftist extremists including antifa, a loose network of groups and people that describe themselves as opposing fascism and which Mr. Barr has described as a movement advocating revolution.
“Graham calls poll showing him tied with Democratic challenger ‘very flawed’” by Fox News’ Paul Steinhauser – Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina is taking aim at a new poll that shows him in a dead heat with his Democratic challenger. According to a Quinnipiac University public opinion survey released Wednesday, Graham and former South Carolina Democratic Party chair Jaime Harrison are tied at 48% among likely Palmetto State voters. Harrison, a former lobbyist, made history in 2013 as the first African American chair of the South Carolina Democratic Party. Graham, a one-time vocal opponent of President Trump when the two were rivals for the 2016 GOP presidential nomination, has become one of the president’s biggest supporters in the Senate. The former congressman is running for a fourth 6-year term representing the Palmetto State in the Senate. “A victor by almost 16 points back in 2014, Senator Graham stares down the first real test of his Senate tenure. Outspent and accused by some of being a Trump apologist, he is in a precarious tie,” Quinnipiac University Polling Analyst Tim Malloy highlighted. Asked about the poll soon after it was released, Graham called it “very flawed.” “It undercounts Republicans by 10-12 points,” the senator charged. “But having said that, we’re taking it seriously.” The survey was conducted Sept. 10-14, with 969 self-identified likely voters in South Carolina questioned by live telephone operators. Thirty-four percent of those questioned identified themselves as Democrats, 33% identified as Republicans and 26% as independents. Graham highlighted “I’ve told these people, show me any election in South Carolina where the Republican participation was less than 40%. In 2016, it was 46%. In 2008, it was 41%. It’s going to be much closer to 46%. Independents are historically 25%, Democrats are about 28%. That’s just been true for 30 years.”
“Barr attacks Justice Department staff, compares them to preschoolers” by CNN’s Katelyn Polantz and Christina Carrega – Attorney General William Barr slammed the hundreds of Justice Department prosecutors working beneath him on Wednesday, equating them to preschoolers, in a defense of his own politically tuned decision making in the Trump administration. “Name one successful organization or institution where the lowest level employees’ decisions are deemed sacrosanct, there aren’t. There aren’t any letting the most junior members set the agenda,” Barr said, speaking at a Constitution Day celebration hosted by Hillsdale College.
“It might be a good philosophy for a Montessori preschool, but it is no way to run a federal agency,” the attorney general added. The comments are likely to inflame already strained relations between the politically appointed Justice Department leadership in Washington and the career attorneys across the country who serve through multiple presidencies. Barr has faced immense blowback from Justice Department employees and even rank-and-file attorneys in the department since the close of the Mueller investigation, for swaying cases in a way that undermines longstanding legal policies. Notably, several career prosecutors have not signed onto positions in court have pushed the wishes of President Donald Trump and Barr over, they say, the law, such as in the Roger Stone criminal case. In the speech, Barr questioned any criticism he’s received for “interfering” in cases. The attorney general has ultimate authority, he said. “These people are agents of the attorney general. As I say, FBI agents, whose agent do you think you are?” Barr asked on Tuesday, adding that career lawyers, too, might be influenced by politics. “And I say, ‘What exactly am I interfering with?’ When you boil it right down, it’s the will of the most junior member of the organization who has some idea he wants to do something. What makes that sacrosanct?”
“Trump Calls on Republicans to Seek a Bigger Coronavirus Relief Deal” by WSJ’s Kristina Peterson and Andrew Restuccia – President Trump urged congressional Republicans to seek a bigger and more expensive package of coronavirus relief aid, injecting himself into stalled talks with Democrats and drawing a cool reception from some GOP lawmakers skeptical of a growing price tag. Mr. Trump, who has largely remained on the sidelines during the latest discussions, said in a tweet Wednesday that Republicans should “go for the much higher numbers.” Later, in a news conference, he said he believes that he could convince his party to support a bigger bill. “Some of the Republicans disagree, but I think I can convince them to go along with that because I like the larger number,” he said. “I want to see people get money.” Democratic leaders and top White House officials have been at an impasse over the size of a new aid package. House Democrats, who initially passed a $3.5 trillion bill in May, have more recently said they could settle for a $2.2 trillion package. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said the administration could support a $1.5 trillion deal. White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said Wednesday that Mr. Trump backed adding a second round of direct payments to Americans to a GOP proposal that was blocked by Democrats in the Senate last week. A previous round of stimulus included one-time $1,200 checks for many Americans, and lawmakers of both parties have expressed support for another round.
“Barr says rumors Trump would refuse to leave office if he loses election are ‘crap’” by Fox News’ Caitlin McFall – In an interview with the Chicago Tribune, Attorney General William Barr went after Democrats on a range of issues, including rumors that President Trump would attempt to stay in office if he loses the general election in November. “You know liberals project,” an uncharacteristically salty Barr said during his Monday interview. “You know the president is going to stay in office and seize power and all that s***? I’ve never heard of that crap. I mean, I’m the attorney general. I would think I would have heard about it.” Though the focus of the interview was crime and corruption in U.S. cities, particularly in Chicago, Barr also used the opportunity to address several issues that have dominated the news cycle leading up to the presidential election. “There undoubtedly are many people in the government who surreptitiously work to thwart the administration,” the attorney general told the Chicago Tribune’s John Kass, host of The Chicago Way. Barr also said the U.S. was approaching a “ruled by the mob” approach to governance. “Increasingly, the message of the Democrats appears to be ‘Biden or no peace’,” he added. Barr said he agreed the upcoming election was the “most significant election of a lifetime” — a position taken by both Trump and Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden. “As an attorney general, I’m not supposed to get into politics,” Barr told Kass. “But…I think we are getting into a position where we’re going to find ourselves irrevocably committed to a socialist path. And I think if Trump loses this election — that will be the case.” The conversation diverted to voting rights and the safety of mail-in voting, with the attorney general suggesting that postal workers will be able to be paid off in order to buy the blank ballots that are routinely distributed for presidential elections. “Just think about the way we vote now,” Barr said. “You have a precinct, your name is on a list, you go in and say who you are, you go behind a curtain, no one is allowed to go in there to influence you, and no one can tell how you voted. All of that is gone with mail-in voting.”
“Chad Wolf appears ready to defy House subpoena to testify, DHS official says” by CNN’s Priscilla Alvarez, Geneva Sands and Caroline Kelly – Acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf appears ready to defy a House subpoena issued last week for him to testify Thursday on threats to the US homeland, as he is not planning to attend the hearing, according to a department official. The move marks the latest volley in the back-and-forth between the House Committee on Homeland Security, chaired by Democratic Rep. Bennie Thompson of Mississippi, and the Department of Homeland Security over the committee’s requested date for Wolf to testify. The anticipated move by Wolf comes as his tenure as acting secretary has increasingly come under scrutiny. A federal judge in Maryland ruled last week that Wolf is likely unlawfully serving as acting secretary of the department, and subsequently lacked the authority to impose specific asylum rules concerning employment that are being challenged. CNN has previously reported that the Government Accountability Office found that Wolf and Ken Cuccinelli, the senior official performing the duties of the deputy Homeland Security secretary, had been appointed as part of an invalid order of succession. CNN has reached out to the committee for comment. The committee sent reporters a news release on the hearing just before 3 p.m. Wednesday that listed Wolf as a witness who would be in attendance.
Cuccinelli criticized the House panel for not budging in its request to have Wolf, whose nomination is pending, testify Thursday. “Chairman Thompson can complain all he wants, but the facts are clear, and they are not on his side,” Cuccinelli said Wednesday in a statement. “Longstanding precedent says that pending nominees don’t testify to other committees as their nomination is pending.”
“Third Parties See Diminished Support in 2020 Race” by WSJ’s Joshua Jamerson – Third-party support in the 2016 presidential election was the highest in 20 years. Many voters who sought an alternative to Republicans and Democrats four years ago say they won’t do so this year. “I wasn’t fond of any candidate in 2016,” said Anamul Preetom of St. Petersburg, Fla., who voted for Green Party presidential nominee Jill Stein that year. Mr. Preetom, a Democrat, said he assumed the 2016 Democratic nominee, Hillary Clinton, would beat President Trump regardless of how he voted. “But this time around…I see the damage that Trump has done.” Mr. Preetom plans this fall to back his party’s nominee Joe Biden, something he says will “leave a bad taste in my mouth.” Surveys by The Wall Street Journal/NBC News this year found that nearly half of participants who voted for Ms. Stein or Gary Johnson, the 2016 Libertarian Party nominee, say they plan to support Mr. Biden in November. Twenty-five percent of Mr. Johnson’s voters said they would back Mr. Trump, compared with about 1 in 10 of Ms. Stein’s voters who said they would vote for the president. Less than half of both candidates’ supporters said they were unsure or would vote for another candidate this year. Third-party voters were a small group in 2016—about 6% of the presidential vote—but in some battleground states, they made up a larger share of the vote than the margin between Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Trump. While it is unlikely that all of those voters would have backed Mrs. Clinton, some Democrats have pointed to that as a sign that states like Michigan and Wisconsin should have been within their reach. More people in 2016 voted for one of the mainstay third-party tickets, or wrote in someone’s name, than in any presidential election since 1996, according to a Journal analysis of data from Dave Leip’s Atlas of U.S. Presidential Elections.
President Donald Trump @realDonaldTrump–Don’t worry, wonderful & beautiful Alaska, there will be NO POLITICS in the Pebble Mine Review Process. I will do what is right for Alaska and our great Country!!!
Nancy Pelosi @SpeakerPelosi–Our Latino community has always been a central part of our American story. This #HispanicHeritageMonth and every month, House Democrats are committed to lifting up our Latino community and opposing the Trump Admin’s campaign of hatred & xenophobia