Trump’s Gorsuch nomination: Rubio applauds, Nelson vows ‘full examination’

Florida Republican Sen. Marco Rubio, left, and Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson
Florida Republican Sen. Marco Rubio, left, and Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson

It took about one minute for the Democratic National Committee to slam President Donald Trump‘s nomination of Judge Neil Gorsuch for the Supreme Court tonight.

 

Florida Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson, however, is holding fire.

 

“The confirmation of a Supreme Court justice is an awesome responsibility that I gladly accept. I will base my decision on a full examination of Judge Gorsuch’s judicial record and his responses to senators’ questions,” Nelson said a few minutes after Trump announced his selection of Gorsuch.

 

Republican Sen. Marco Rubio praised Trump’s choice.

 

“Judge Gorsuch is a highly qualified, mainstream jurist, which is why he was unanimously confirmed to the circuit court by the Senate in 2006,” said a Rubio statement. “By all accounts he has the right temperament and experience for the job, and I’m pleased to see him nominated to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court. Most importantly, he is committed to the principles of original intent and judicial restraint. This is critical, because too many in the federal judiciary today believe it is appropriate for judges to invent new policies and rights instead of interpreting and defending the Constitution as it is written.”

 

Nelson, who is up for re-election in 2018, has a mixed record on Republican nominations to the high court. He voted for President George W. Bush‘s nomination of John Roberts to be chief justice in 2005. Nelson voted against Bush’s nomination of Samuel Alito later that year.

 

Nelson voted in favor of President Barack Obama‘s nominations of Sonia Sotomayor in 2009 and Elena Kagan in 2010.

 

Nelson was a member of the Senate in 2006 when Gorsuch was confirmed by a voice vote for his seat on the 10th Circuit.

 

A potential Republican challenger of Nelson in 2018, Florida Gov. Rick Scott, tweeted his approval for Gorsuch in two languages.

 

“Great pick to the Supreme Court by President Trump!” Scott told his Twitter followers. A few minutes later, Scott tweeted the same message in Spanish.

 

Nelson can also expect pressure from the left to oppose Gorsuch. Leading liberal Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., announced  her opposition.

 

Rubio, elected in 2010, has never voted on a Supreme Court nominee. As a candidate, he opposed the Sotomayor and Kagan nominations in 2009 and 2010.

 

It has been nearly 6-1/2 years since the Senate confirmed Kagan in August 2010. The Republican-led Senate refused to consider President Barack Obama‘s nomination of Merrick Garland last year after conservative Justice Antonin Scalia died.

 

Twelve years separated Senate votes on Supreme Court nominees Gabriel Duvall (1811, at left) and Smith Thompson (1823).
Twelve years separated Senate votes on Supreme Court nominees Gabriel Duvall (1811, at left) and Smith Thompson (1823).

According to U.S. Senate records, the longest period between Senate confirmation votes on a Supreme Court justice was 12 years between President James Madison’s 1811 nomination of Gabriel Duvall and President James Monroe‘s 1823 nomination of Smith Thompson.

 

The second-longest drought was the 11 years that separated the 1994 confirmation of Stephen Breyer, a nominee of President Bill Clinton, and the 2005 confirmation of Roberts.

 

 

The last Supreme Court nominee to be rejected was Robert Bork, a nominee of President Ronald Reagan, in 1987.

 

 

Trump coming to Palm Beach Friday, White House confirms

Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago Club in Palm Beach will host the president on Friday.
Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago Club in Palm Beach will host the president on Friday.

President Donald Trump will visit his Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach on Friday, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer confirmed today.

 

Spicer called Mar-a-Lago “the Winter White House” during a press briefing.

 

It will be Trump’s first overnight travel since becoming president on Jan. 20.

 

Spicer’s announcement follows reports from last week that Trump was expected in Palm Beach for Saturday’s Red Cross Ball.

Anti-Trump protesters aim to be ‘the left-wing tea party’

Jen Erickson of Jupiter criticizes President Donald Trump, his Cabinet picks Jeff Sessions and Betsy DeVos and his immigration policies while praising fired Acting Attorney General Sally Yates in a single sign aimed at drivers on PGA Boulevard.
Jen Erickson of Jupiter criticizes President Donald Trump, his Cabinet picks Jeff Sessions and Betsy DeVos and his immigration policies while praising fired Acting Attorney General Sally Yates in a single sign aimed at drivers on PGA Boulevard.

PALM BEACH GARDENS  — Aspiring to be the liberal answer to the tea party movement, dozens of demonstrators showed up outside Sen. Marco Rubio‘s office this morning to protest President Donald Trump‘s Cabinet picks and his executive order halting travel from seven nations.

 

Robb Allan of Palm Beach, left, helped organize today's demonstration and said he's hoping to be part of "the left-wing tea party" in opposition to President Donald Trump.
Robb Allan of Palm Beach, left, helped organize today’s demonstration and said he’s hoping to be part of “the left-wing tea party” in opposition to President Donald Trump.

About 60 people were waving signs along PGA Boulevard at 10:30 a.m. Some of them met with a Rubio staffer to express their concerns.

 

Their signs targeted at least six of Trump’s Cabinet nominees, White House senior adviser Steve Bannon and Trump’s executive order halting refugee admissions to the U.S. and visits from Iraq, Syria, Iran, Sudan, Libya, Somalia and Yemen.

 

Robb Allan, an investor from Palm Beach, helped organize the event as part of a group called Indivisibles. Amanda Kopacz of Boynton Beach also helped organize through a group called Florida Action Network, which she said recently changed its name from Rise Up because other groups were already using that name.

 

This demonstrator asks Sen. Marco Rubio to vote against six of President Donald Trump's Cabinet nominees.
This demonstrator asks Sen. Marco Rubio to vote against six of President Donald Trump’s Cabinet nominees.

Both described this morning’s demonstration as part of a national effort put together by MoveOn.org and other groups.

 

“These groups are starting everywhere spontaneously and we’re all just beginning to discover each other and participate,” said Allan.

 

“All of this for us is an outgrowth of a handbook that was written by a group of congressional staffers right after the election about how to be the left-wing tea party,” Allan said.

 

 

 

Gov. Scott’s budget would tighten state control over Tri-Rail money

Gov. Rick Scott has waded into a growing debate over Tri-Rail funding, and it could mean less money for the agency responsible for the trains.

Amid debate over a controversial contract awarded last week, Scott’s budget proposal released this morning includes a paragraph that would crack down on the South Florida Regional Transportation Authority’s spending.

Passengers board the Tri-Rail train at the West Palm Beach station, Friday, June 12, 2015. (Joe Forzano/The Palm Beach Post)
Passengers board the Tri-Rail train at the West Palm Beach station, Friday, June 12, 2015. (Joe Forzano/The Palm Beach Post)

The state and the authority, which operates Tri-Rail, have been at odds for months over how the authority spends its money. The issue came to a head in recent weeks as the authority awarded a $511 million contract for operating services for the next seven years to the highest bidder – something Politico Florida reports that rival bidders say is unfair, while the authority argues the contractor, Herzog Transit Service, was the only company to correctly submit a proposal meeting the authority’s requirements.

Under the Florida Department of Transportation’s section of Scott’s proposed budget, there is a paragraph saying the SFRTA is to be given no money until it has terminated the contract with Herzog and submitted in writing to the state a new procurement and contract for the operating services.

The section goes further to change how state money is distributed to the SFRTA in the future. Right now, the authority is dispensed money and then submits expenses. The proposed budget would change that, so that “no funds shall be provided to the South Florida Regional Transportation Authority by the department without the prior review and written approval by the department of the authority’s proposed expenditures.”

The Legislature must ultimately approve the governor’s budget, but lawmakers have been closely overseeing state agency spending — VisitFlorida and Enterprise Florida are just two agencies that have come under close scrutiny in recent months.

Read Scott’s budget proposal.

 

 

 

 

President Trump, ‘silent disco protest ball’ expected in Palm Beach

Demonstrators are planning another weekend of protesting Donald Trump's presidency.
Demonstrators are planning another weekend of protesting Donald Trump’s presidency.

PALM BEACH  — With President Donald Trump expected to visit his Mar-a-Lago Club this weekend and attend the annual Red Cross Ball there, demonstrators are planning to show up as well.

 

As of this morning, more than 1,000 people have signed up on Facebook to attend a Saturday “March to Mar-a-Lago for Humanity” from Trump Plaza in West Palm Beach to Bingham Island — the spot along Southern Boulevard where TV cameras set up to get shots with Mar-a-Lago in the background.

 

The march will conclude with a “silent disco protest ball” featuring glow sticks and flashlights instead of signs, organizers say.

 

Trump’s first weekend as president was marked by massive protest marches in Washington, D.C., and around the nation. His second weekend in office featured airport protests of his executive order halting refugee admissions and travel from seven nations.

 

Click here to read details about the march at MyPalmBeachPost.com.

 

 

Trump: ‘There is nothing nice about searching for terrorists’

More than 200 people showed up at Palm Beach International Airport on Sunday to protest President Donald Trump's executive order on immigration and refugees.
More than 200 people showed up at Palm Beach International Airport on Sunday to protest President Donald Trump’s executive order on immigration and refugees.

After a weekend of furious protests of his executive order on immigration and refugees, President Donald Trump is continuing to push back on Twitter this morning.

 

“Only 109 people out of 325,000 were detained and held for questioning. Big problems at airports were caused by Delta computer outage,….protesters and the tears of Senator Schumer. Secretary Kelly said that all is going well with very few problems. MAKE AMERICA SAFE AGAIN!” the part-time Palm Beach resident tweeted before 7:30 a.m. today.

 

 

“There is nothing nice about searching for terrorists before they can enter our country. This was a big part of my campaign. Study the world!” Trump concluded in a third tweet.

 

Trump signed an executive order Friday that suspends entry of all refugees to the U.S. for 120 days, stops admission of refugees from Syria indefinitely and bans entry for three months to residents from seven predominantly Muslim nations: Iraq, Syria, Iran, Sudan, Libya, Somalia and Yemen.

 

Given his 2015 call for a temporary ban on Muslims entering the U.S., Trump has been accused of trying to impose a “Muslim ban” as president. Trump disputed that criticism in a statement Sunday afternoon.

 

“To be clear, this is not a Muslim ban, as the media is falsely reporting. This is not about religion – this is about terror and keeping our country safe,” said a White House statement.

 

 

 

 

‘This is not a Muslim ban,’ says Trump, compares it to Obama 2011 action

Protesters at Palm Beach International Airport (Jorge Milian/The Palm Beach Post)
Protesters at Palm Beach International Airport (Jorge Milian/The Palm Beach Post)

Facing a second day of nationwide protests — including one today at Palm Beach International Airport — over his executive order halting travel to the U.S. from seven predominantly Muslim nations, President Donald Trump compared his policy to a 2011 action by President Barack Obama halting visas for Iraq refugees.

 

“To be clear, this is not a Muslim ban, as the media is falsely reporting. This is not about religion – this is about terror and keeping our country safe,” says the Trump statement released by the White House at 4:35 p.m.

 

Trump said his action is “similar” to the Obama Administration stopping the processing of Iraq refugees for about six months in 2011. ABC News reported in 2013 that during the 2011 halt, “one Iraqi who had aided American troops was assassinated before his refugee application could be processed, because of the immigration delays.”

 

Trump signed an executive order Friday that suspends entry of all refugees to the U.S. for 120 days, stops admission of refugees from Syria indefinitely and bans entry for three months to residents from Iraq, Syria, Iran, Sudan, Libya, Somalia and Yemen.

 

Here’s the statement from President Trump that the White House released today:

 

“America is a proud nation of immigrants and we will continue to show compassion to those fleeing oppression, but we will do so while protecting our own citizens and border. America has always been the land of the free and home of the brave. We will keep it free and keep it safe, as the media knows, but refuses to say. My policy is similar to what President Obama did in 2011 when he banned visas for refugees from Iraq for six months. The seven countries named in the Executive Order are the same countries previously identified by the Obama administration as sources of terror. To be clear, this is not a Muslim ban, as the media is falsely reporting. This is not about religion – this is about terror and keeping our country safe. There are over 40 different countries worldwide that are majority Muslim that are not affected by this order. We will again be issuing visas to all countries once we are sure we have reviewed and implemented the most secure policies over the next 90 days. I have tremendous feeling for the people involved in this horrific humanitarian crisis in Syria. My first priority will always be to protect and serve our country, but as President I will find ways to help all those who are suffering.”

 

 

Trump expected to fulfill pledge to conservatives on Supreme Court

Speaking at a Palm Beach County GOP dinner at his Mar-a-Lago Club in March 2016, Donald Trump promised to list potential Supreme Court picks to assuage conservative doubts. (Daniel Owen/The Palm Beach Post)
Speaking at a Palm Beach County GOP dinner at his Mar-a-Lago Club in March 2016, Donald Trump promised to list potential Supreme Court picks to assuage conservative doubts. (Daniel Owen/The Palm Beach Post)

Whether it was his past support for universal health care, abortion rights and impeaching George W. Bush or his 2016 trade protectionism and NATO questioning, conservatives had their doubts about Donald Trump as he sought the presidency.

But part-time Palm Beach resident Trump was able to prevent defections from the GOP base by promising to nominate conservatives to the Supreme Court and even pledging in a Palm Beach speech to release a list of potential nominees for scrutiny.

 

When leading Never Trump figure Rick Wilson tried to persuade conservatives to leave Trump in favor of independent Evan McMullin, Trump’s Supreme Court pledge proved to be an obstacle.

 

“The Supreme Court was a value-added for Donald Trump that turned skeptical Republicans into at least tolerant Republicans of Trump. It was something we saw turn up in focus groups over and over and over again,” said Wilson.

 

Now Trump appears ready to honor his pledge to conservatives when he names a Supreme Court appointee this week.

 

Click here to read the entire story at MyPalmBeachPost.com

Who pays for wall? Trump, Mexico to ‘work these differences out’

Donald Trump at a rally in Boca Raton in March. (Daniel Owen / The Palm Beach Post)
Donald Trump at a rally in Boca Raton in March. (Daniel Owen / The Palm Beach Post)

At Donald Trump‘s 2016 campaign rallies, the answer was simple.

 

Crowds would chant “Build the wall!”

 

Then part-time Palm Beach resident Trump, theatrically putting a hand to his ear, would ask “Who’s going to pay for the wall?”

 

“Mexico!” the crowd would respond.

 

Late in the campaign, however, Trump began suggesting the U.S. might pay for his signature proposal to wall off the U.S. border with Mexico, then have Mexico reimburse the costs later.

 

“They’ll either pay directly or indirectly. That’s the same thing,” Trump said in an exclusive interview with The Palm Beach Post in October.

 

Now that Trump is president, House Speaker Paul Ryan this week says he’s expecting the White House to ask taxpayers to spend $15 million on the wall with hopes of recovering the money later.

 

Trump today spent an hour talking on the phone with Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto, who on Thursday canceled plans to meet with Trump next week.

 

“With respect to payment for the border wall, both presidents recognize their clear and very public differences of positions on this issue but have agreed to work these differences out as part of a comprehensive discussion on all aspects of the bilateral relationship,” a White House statement says.

 

Here’s the full statement:

 

Joint Statement on U.S.-Mexico Relations

 

The United States President Donald J. Trump and Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto spoke by phone this morning for an hour.  The call was mutually arranged by their teams.  

 

The two had a productive and constructive call regarding the bilateral relationship between the two countries, the current trade deficit the United States has with Mexico, the importance of the friendship between the two nations, and the need for the two nations to work together to stop drug cartels, drug trafficking and illegal guns and arms sales.

 

With respect to payment for the border wall, both presidents recognize their clear and very public differences of positions on this issue but have agreed to work these differences out as part of a comprehensive discussion on all aspects of the bilateral relationship. 

 

Both presidents have instructed their teams to continue the dialogue to strengthen this important strategic and economic relationship in a constructive way.

 

Donald Trump to make first Mar-a-Lago visit as president

President Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago Club in Palm Beach isn't just a tropical playground. Trump tweeted this picture of himself working on his inaugural speech there.
President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago Club in Palm Beach isn’t just a tropical playground. Trump tweeted this picture of himself working on his inaugural speech there.

PALM BEACH — President Donald Trump will return to Mar-a-Lago next weekend for the first time as commander-in-chief and will likely make an appearance at the 60th annual Red Cross Ball, Palm Beach Daily News Society Editor Shannon Donnelly reports.

 

Trump visited his estate twice as president-elect, for Thanksgiving and for Christmas and New Year’s.

 

Trump told his Twitter followers that he penned part of his inaugural speech at Mar-a-Lago, calling it “the winter White House.”