Baseball and the Bush family: From Babe Ruth and Poppy to Jeter ‘n’ Jeb

Jeb Bush autographs a baseball during a 2015 campaign appearance in Central Florida. (George Bennett/The Palm Beach Post)

If former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and an investor group that includes future Hall of Famer Derek Jeter are successful in buying the Miami Marlins, it will continue a long baseball tradition in the Bush family. And it won’t be the first baseball-related pairing of a Bush and a Yankee legend.

 

Jeb Bush’s grandfather, former Connecticut Sen. Prescott Bush, played baseball at Yale a century ago.

Prescott Bush in the 1916 Yale baseball program.

 

Jeb Bush’s father, former President George H.W. Bush, was captain of the baseball team at Yale in the 1940s and famously appeared in a picture with Babe Ruth in June 1948, less than three months before the Bambino’s death.

Babe Ruth and Yale baseball captain George H.W. Bush in 1948. (Yale University Library)

 

(It should be mentioned that Ruth’s 714th and final home run came off a pitcher named Guy Bush — who was not related to the political Bush clan.)

Guy Bush surrendered Babe Ruth’s 714th and final home run in 1935. He’s not related to the political Bush clan, but his surname and the magnificence of this Goudey baseball card merit inclusion here.

 

Jeb Bush’s brother, former President George W. Bush, was head of an ownership group that bought the Texas Rangers in 1989.

George W. Bush, shown here throwing out a first pitch as president, was part of the Texas Rangers ownership group before becoming Texas governor.

White House to have ‘mock press briefing’ for press corps kids on Thursday

The Trump administration is taking part in this year’s Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day, inviting members of the press corps to bring their children with them to the White House on Thursday.

Among the “fun activities” promised in a White House news release: a mock press briefing — but there were no details on whether or not Press Secretary Sean Spicer would field the questions.

» COMPLETE COVERAGE: President Donald Trump in Palm Beach

President Trump’s administration has invited members of the White House press corps to bring their children to work with them on Thursday. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Journalists will be able to have their children between ages 5 and 13 with them from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., the White House said. Members of the press corps who want to bring their children have to provide details including their child’s first name, date of birth, Social Security Number and place of residence.

According to an archived Obama administration webpage, this will be the twelfth year the White House has participated in the annual event. Last year, children with participated met the Obamas’ dogs, Bo and Sunny, and toured the presidential limousine, known as “The Beast.”

MORE COVERAGE

Common Cause files complaint over State Department Mar-a-Lago promo

Trump has 45% favorable rating in Florida in poll by Rubio-linked firm

State Dept. regrets ‘misperception,’ nixes post on Trump’s Mar-a-Lago

Trump border wall update: Mexico will pay ‘eventually…in some form,’ cost ‘$10 billion or less’

 

 

Trump in Palm Beach: Common Cause files complaint over Mar-a-Lago promo

The watchdog group Common Cause has filed an ethics complaint over an online article on a State Department-run website touting President Donald Trump‘s private Mar-a-Lago Club as the “winter White House.”

The article — taken down Monday night — constitutes a “misuse and abuse of taxpayer dollars” to promote a private business, says the Common Cause complaint filed with the State Department and the Office of Government Ethics.

» COMPLETE COVERAGE: President Donald Trump in Palm Beach

Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago. (Palm Beach Post staff file photo)

“This Administration’s refusal to set clear boundaries between the business of the American people and the businesses of Donald Trump has metastasized into the federal agencies,” said Karen Hobert Flynn, president of Common Cause. “Not only has the president turned his so-called ‘Winter White House’ into a set for a reality TV show with an audience made up of those willing to pay $200,000 to the Trump Organization, he has set an example himself untethered from ethical standards, beginning with his refusal to release his taxes as every U.S. President has done for the past four decades. It falls to the ethics offices of these agencies to enforce our ethics laws and standards, even if it means running afoul of the White House.”

» State Dept. regrets ‘misperception,’ nixes blog post on Trump’s Mar-a-Lago

The White House referred a question about the complaint to the State Department.

A State Department spokesperson responded with the same message posted on the share.america.gov website when the article was removed: “The intention of the article was to inform the public about where the President has been hosting world leaders. We regret any misperception and have removed the post.”

» Trump has 45% favorable rating in Florida in poll by Rubio-linked firm

 

 

 

 

President Trump names former West Palm attorney to OSHA post

President Donald Trump has named former West Palm Beach attorney Heather MacDougall to the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission, the White House said in a news release.

Heather MacDougall (file photo)

MacDougall, who worked for Akerman LLP in West Palm, has been with OSHA’s Review Commission since she was nominated for the position in 2014 by President Barack Obama. MacDougall has been acting chair of the Review Commission since January, the White House said. She was unanimously confirmed by the Senate at that time, and is one of two members serving on the commission. One seat on the commission is vacant.

» COMPLETE COVERAGE: President Donald Trump in Palm Beach

Here is the full statement released by the White House on MacDougall’s nomination:

“(The president intends to nominate) Heather L. MacDougall of Florida to be a Member of the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission. Ms. MacDougall was designated acting Chair of the Occupational Safety & Health Review Commission in January 2017. In 2014, she was nominated to the Commission by then-President Obama and confirmed unanimously by the Senate. Before this, Ms. MacDougall had 20 years of experience representing employers throughout the United States in matters involving labor, employment, and occupational safety and health law, most recently with Akerman LLP in West Palm Beach, Florida. In addition, she served as Chief Counsel to OSHRC Chairman W. Scott Railton. Earlier in her career, she was Associate General Counsel to the HR Policy Association, a public policy organization that advocates for the human resource officers of major employers, where she represented the association as amicus curiae in U.S. Courts of Appeals and Supreme Court cases. Chairman MacDougall received a B.A. from the University of Wisconsin and a J.D. from Marquette University Law School.”

Trump has 45% favorable rating in Florida in poll by Rubio-linked firm

President Donald Trump stops his motorcade to greet supporters on Bingham Island near Mar-a-Lago in March. (Melanie Bell/The Palm Beach Post)

President Donald Trump is viewed favorably by 45 percent of Florida voters and unfavorably by 41 percent, according to a new poll commissioned by Firehouse Strategies, a firm launched last year by former aides to Republican Sen. Marco Rubio.

Firehouse Strategies and the data analytics firm 0ptimus surveyed likely midterm voters in four states that swung from former President Barack Obama in 2012 to Trump in 2016 — Florida, Wisconsin, Ohio and Pennsylvania.

» COMPLETE COVERAGE: President Donald Trump in Palm Beach

Firehouse Strategies is headed by former Rubio presidential campaign manager Terry Sullivan, former Rubio communications director Alex Conant and former Rubio campaign attorney and adviser Will Holley.

The overall poll has a 2 percent margin of error and the Florida sample has a 2.7 percent margin of error. Some key findings:

• Trump’s 45/41 favorable/unfavorable score in Florida compares to a 45/40 rating in Ohio, a 45/45 split in Pennsylvania and a 40/47 score in Wisconsin.

• Across the four states, about 80 percent of voters believe Trump lies or exaggerates the truth. About 83 percent of Florida voters think so. But voters have an even worse opinion of Republicans in Congress.

• Thirty-four percent of voters in the swing states say Trump has been successful so far, 36 percent say he’s been unsuccessful and the remainder say it’s too early to tell. In Florida, 37 percent call the Trump presidency a success and 35 percent rate it unsuccessful.

• Republican and independent voters across the four states aren’t ready to vote Democrat in the 2018 midterms if Trump doesn’t follow through on his promises to overhaul the tax code, repeal and replace Obamacare and build a border wall between the U.S. and Mexico.

 

 

 

 

 

 

State Dept. regrets ‘misperception,’ nixes post on Trump’s Mar-a-Lago

President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago Club in Palm Beach.(Richard Graulich/The Palm Beach Post)

PALM BEACH — A State Department-run website has removed a post touting Mar-a-Lago as the “winter White House” after critics accused the government of giving free advertising to President Donald Trump‘s private club.

 

Trump has hosted Chinese President Xi Jinping and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at Mar-a-Lago, and the website share.america.gov posted pictures of the resort and a description of it and original owner Marjorie Merriweather Post‘s vision of Mar-a-Lago as a presidential retreat.

 

The original post has been removed and replaced with this note.

“By visiting this ‘winter White House,’ Trump is belatedly fulfilling the dream of Mar-a-Lago’s original owner and designer,” the post said.

 

The post was removed Monday night.

 

“The intention of the article was to inform the public about where the President has been hosting world leaders. We regret any misperception and have removed the post,” said a note where the original had been.

 

Click here to read a full article at palmbeachpost.com.

PHOTOS, VIDEO: Trump makes space call to record-breaking NASA astronaut Peggy Whitson

President Donald Trump made a call Monday morning to Peggy Whitson, the new holder of the record for most time spent by an American astronaut in space with 534 days orbiting Earth.

Well, depending on its location, it may not have been Monday morning on the International Space Station, where Commander Whitson and fellow U.S. astronaut Jack Fischer took the call.

President Donald Trump speaks along with his daughter Ivanka Trump (right) and NASA Astronaut Kate Rubins, during a video conference with NASA astronauts aboard the International Space Station in the Oval Office at the White House on Monday in Washington, DC. (Photo by Molly Riley-Pool/Getty Images)

» COMPLETE COVERAGE: President Donald Trump in Palm Beach

Ivanka Trump and astronaut Kate Rubins joined the president in the Oval Office to offer their congratulations. Video of the call was streamed live to thousands of schoolchildren via NASA TV and the White House’s YouTube channel.

Watch the video:

“It is one of those rides that you hope never ends,” Whitson tweeted Sunday night. “I am so grateful for all those who helped me on each of my missions!”

Here’s the full transcript of the phone call, via the White House:

NASA: White House, this is Mission Control, Houston. Please call Station for a voice check.

THE PRESIDENT: Do you hear me?

CMDR. WHITSON: Yes, sir. We have you loud and clear.

THE PRESIDENT: Well, that’s what we like — great American equipment that works. And this isn’t easy. (Laughter.)

I want to say it’s very exciting to be here today — very, very exciting — and to speak to you live with three brave American astronauts. These are our finest. These are great, great Americans, great people. Two join us from orbit aboard the International Space Station: Commander Peggy Whitson and Colonel Jack Fischer. And Peggy Whitson has been setting records, and we’re going to talk about that very soon.

I’m here in the Oval Office, along with my daughter Ivanka and astronaut Kate Rubins, who recently returned from space and from the Space Station. Together, we are being joined by students all across America, thousands and thousands of students who are learning — they’re learning about space, learning about a lot of other things — and they’re watching this conversation from the classroom. And, all over, we have astronauts and we have everybody, who are flying right now, 17,000 miles per hour. That’s about as fast as I’ve ever heard. I wouldn’t want to be flying 17,000 miles an hour. But that’s what you do.

President Donald Trump speaks along with his daughter Ivanka Trump during a video conference with NASA astronauts aboard the International Space Station in the Oval Office at the White House on Monday in Washington, DC. (Photo by Molly Riley-Pool/Getty Images)

Peggy, Jack, and Kate, I know that America’s students are thrilled to hear from you. But first, I want to say that this is a very special day in the glorious history of American spaceflight. Today, Commander Whitson, you have broken the record for the most total time spent in space by an American astronaut — 534 days and counting. That’s an incredible record to break. And on behalf of our nation and, frankly, on behalf of the world, I’d like to congratulate you. That is really something. And I’d like to know, how does it feel to have broken such a big and important record?

CMDR. WHITSON: Well, it’s actually a huge honor to break a record like this, but it’s an honor for me basically to be representing all the folks at NASA who make this spaceflight possible and who make me setting this record feasible. And so it’s a very exciting time to be at NASA. We are all very much looking forward, as directed by your new NASA bill — we’re excited about the missions to Mars in the 2030s. And so we actually, physically, have hardware on the ground that’s being built for the SLS rocket that’s going to take us there. And, of course, the hardware being built now is going to be for the test flights that will eventually get us there.

But it’s a very exciting time, and I’m so proud of the team.

THE PRESIDENT: Great. And what are we learning from having you spending your time up there? I know so much research is done; I’m getting a glimpse of some of it right here in the Oval Office. What are we learning by being in space?

CMDR. WHITSON: Well, I think probably the International Space Station is providing a key bridge from us living on Earth to going somewhere into deep space. So on those Mars missions, we need to better understand how microgravity is really affecting our body, and we need to understand it in great detail. So, many of the studies are looking at the human body. We’re also looking at things that involve operations of a space vehicles on these long-duration missions and the technological advancements that will be required.

For instance, on a multiyear Mars mission, we’re going to need to be able to close the life support system, and that means we, right now, for instance, are taking solar power that we collect, and using it to break apart water into oxygen and hydrogen. The oxygen, we breathe, of course. We use the hydrogen, combine it back with the CO2 that we take out of the air, and make more water. But water is such a precious resource up here that we also are cleaning up our urine and making it drinkable. And it’s really not as bad as it sounds.

NASA astronauts Peggy Whitson and Jack Fischer are seen onboard the International Space Station in a live video conference with President Donald Trump in the Oval Office of the White House on Monday. (Photo by Bill Ingalls/NASA via Getty Images)

THE PRESIDENT: Well, that’s good. I’m glad to hear that. (Laughter.) Better you than me. I will say, Colonel Fischer, you just arrived, and how was your trip? Complicated? Easy? How did it go?

COL. FISCHER: Oh, sir, it was awesome. It made even my beloved F-22 feel a little bit underpowered. I launched in a Russian vehicle with my Russian friend, Fyodor Yurchikhin, from Kazakhstan. Got the immediate perspective change as we got to orbit, and I saw that frail, thin blue line of life around the Earth. Six hours later, we’re docked at the station. The next day, I install an experiment in the Japanese module that’s going to be looking at new drugs and how we can make those drugs for muscular dystrophy, Alzheimer’s, multi-drug-resistant bacteria — all sorts of things. A couple hours later, I watched our crewmate, Thomas Pesquet, a Frenchman, drive a Canadian robotic arm to capture a spaceship from Virginia, carrying 3.5 tons of cargo and science that’s going to keep us busy for the next few months, and dock that to the station.

Sir, it’s amazing. Oh, and then, you know, now I’m talking to the President of the United States while hanging from a wall. It’s amazing. The International Space Station is, by far, the best example of international cooperation and what we can do when we work together in the history of humanity. And I am so proud to be a part of it. And it’s just cool. (Laughter.) Like, yesterday, I had — well, there you go — there’s our resident space ninja doing the gravity demonstration. And yesterday morning, I had my coffee in floaty ball form, and, sir, it was delicious. So, it’s awesome.

President Donald Trump speaks along with his daughter Ivanka Trump (right) and NASA astronaut Kate Rubins, during a video conference with NASA astronauts aboard the International Space Station in the Oval Office at the White House on Monday. (Photo by Molly Riley-Pool/Getty Images)

THE PRESIDENT: Tell me, Mars — what do you see a timing for actually sending humans to Mars? Is there a schedule? And when would you see that happening?

CMDR. WHITSON: Well, I think as your bill directed, it will be approximately in the 2030s. As I mentioned, we actually are building hardware to test the new heavy launch vehicle, and this vehicle will take us further than we’ve ever been away from this planet. Unfortunately, spaceflight takes a lot of time and money, so getting there will require some international cooperation to get it to be a planet-wide approach in order to make it successful, just because it is a very expensive endeavor. But it so worthwhile doing.

THE PRESIDENT: Well, we want to try and do it during my first term or, at worst, during my second term. So we’ll have to speed that up a little bit, okay?

CMDR. WHITSON: (Laughter.) We’ll do our best.

THE PRESIDENT: Oh, you will. And I have great respect for you folks. It’s amazing what you do. And I just want to introduce another great one. Kate Rubins is with us today, and she has been so impressive with research and so many other things having to do with NASA. And, Kate, I understand you’re the first person to sequence DNA in space. Can you tell us about that?

DR. RUBINS: Yeah. So that was actually just this last summer, and it’s a real example of what we can do with technology and innovation. We’ve got a sequencer down to the size of your cellphone, and we were actually able to fly that onboard the space station and sequence DNA. It’s not just the technology demonstration, but we can actually use that to do things like detect microbes on the space station, look at astronaut health. We can easily use that in Earth-based settings, too, to look for disease outbreaks and to do rural healthcare as well.

President Donald Trump speaks along with his daughter Ivanka Trump (right) and NASA astronaut Kate Rubins during a video conference with NASA astronauts aboard the International Space Station in the Oval Office on Monday. (Photo by Molly Riley-Pool/Getty Images)

THE PRESIDENT: That’s fantastic. That is really great. I saw some of the work, and it’s incredible. You know, I’ve been dealing with politicians so much, I’m so much more impressed with these people. You have no idea.

Now, speaking of another impressive person — Ivanka, you’ve been very much interested in this program. Tell us something about it.

MS. TRUMP: Hi, Dr. Whitson. First of all, congratulations on your incredible milestone today. You may know that my father recently signed the Inspire Women Act to encourage female participation in STEM fields across all aerospace areas, and really with a focus on NASA. So encouraging women and girls to pursue STEM careers is a major priority for this administration.

And today we are sitting with an amazing example of that — Dr. Rubins, and you, Dr. Whitson. So I would love to hear from you, what was the impetus for you to get involved in the sciences?

DR. RUBINS: Yeah, so when I around fifteen, I actually went to a conference, and that was very inspiring for me. It was sort of the beginning of recombinant DNA and understanding biology. And so just that exposure to scientists and the kinds of things that you can do with science and technology innovation.

MS. TRUMP: Amazing. Dr. Whitson?

CMDR. WHITSON: For me, it was actually the Apollo program was my inspiration, and that was when it became a dream to become an astronaut. But I don’t really think it became a goal until I graduated from high school, when the first female astronauts were selected. And seeing those role models, and with the encouragement of my parents and various mentors in college and graduate school, and when I started working at Rice, that’s what made it possible, I think, to become an astronaut. And it took me a lot longer to become an astronaut than I ever really wanted it to take, but I do think I’m better at my job because of the journey.

MS. TRUMP: You’re an incredible inspiration to us all. So I would also like to ask you one more question. I’m incredibly curious, as I’m sure all the students across the country are, to know what a day in the life in space is like. Could you share what a typical day looks like, what the challenges are, just any special moments?

President Donald Trump shakes hands with NASA astronaut Kate Rubins, as Ivanka Trump looks on, during a video conference where President Trump talked with NASA astronauts Peggy Whitson and Jack Fischer onboard the International Space Station on Monday from the Oval Office. (Photo by Bill Ingalls/NASA via Getty Images)

CMDR. WHITSON: Well, a typical day, we wake up and look at the messages from the ground, because we have a huge ground team that’s working overnight to prepare changes or the details of the tests that we’re going to be performing over the course of the day. So first thing I do is check out that, see what’s changed.

But on any given day, it can be so dramatically different. On one day, we might be focusing on science. On another day, we might be repairing the carbon dioxide removal system. On another day, soon Jack and I are going to do a spacewalk. We talked about, last Saturday, we did robotics operations. I love the diversity of the different activities that we do. Plus, you know, we have over 200 investigations ongoing onboard the space station, and I just think that’s a phenomenal part of the day.

Of course, there’s also just the living and, onboard the space station, it’s such a unique and novel environment. Nothing that we’re used to on the ground. And it’s so special to just be in zero gravity. So Jack is the new guy here, and I think he can probably give you a better perspective on what that’s like.

COL. FISCHER: Well, you know, everything here — my dad always said that if you love what you do, you never work a day in your life. And we work really hard up here, but it’s not really work, it’s just fun. It’s like playing fort almost, only you’re changing the world while you do it.

And then on the off time, the other morning I was working out, and on our machine that we work out on, right below it is the Cupola window. And so when you’re on the device where you do crunches, every time you come up, you see out the window. And it’s awesome because you kind of go, crunch, “Oh, my gosh, that’s beautiful! I got to do that again.” Crunch, “Oh my gosh, that’s beautiful.” It’s awesome. Everything we do here is fun, and it feels so great to know that we’re making a difference on the ground and for the future of humanity as well. So it’s an incredible, incredible job.

Acting NASA Administrator Robert Lightfoot, Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos (center) and NASA astronaut Kate Rubins speak to reporters outside of the West Wing of the White House shortly after President Donald Trump, first daughter Ivanka Trump and Rubins talked with NASA astronauts Peggy Whitson and Jack Fischer onboard the International Space Station on Monday from the Oval Office. (Photo by Bill Ingalls/NASA via Getty Images)

THE PRESIDENT: You’re making a great difference, I have to say. And this is a very exciting time for our country, and you see what’s happening with our country in terms of jobs, in terms of business, and there’s such excitement and such enthusiasm. Many American entrepreneurs are racing into space. I have many friends that are so excited about space. They want to get involved in space from the standpoint of entrepreneurship and business.

Tell us about the opportunities that could exist for the next generation of scientists and engineers. Is that something that you think a student — because you have so many students, hundreds of thousands watching — is that something that you think that students should be focusing, or should they be thinking about other subjects? What do you think are the opportunities for young students wanting to be involved in space?

COL. FISCHER: Sir, absolutely. I think that this is probably the most exciting in space exploration, certainly in my lifetime. We are about to just have an explosion of activity. There is so much involvement on the space station with commercial industries and commercial partners. We have an entire program to manage the science. NASA has done a wonderful job of seeding a new industry with the Commercial Crew Program and the Commercial Cargo Program so that we can build the infrastructure we need for the future exploration.

One thing I love about American entrepreneurs is, once you get them going, you better stand out of their way because they’re going to start chucking. And we’re about to that point. NASA is taking on that expensive, hard, complex task of going further and deeper into space with the wonderful new rocket, Space Launch System and Orion. And then, as soon as we break open that door, this incredible infrastructure that we’ve been building is going to be right there to pick up the baton and continue into the stars.

I would say to all the students that are watching, the time to get excited is now. If you aren’t studying science and math, you might want to think about that because our future in the stars starts now, and you can be a part of that if, like Dr. Whitson, you can find that passion and work really hard. And we’re going to find a permanent foothold in the stars for humanity if you do that.

THE PRESIDENT: Well, thank you. So well said. And I have to say, there’s tremendous military application in space. We’re rebuilding our military like never before. We’re ordering equipment, and we’re going to have the strongest military that we’ve ever had, the strongest military that the world has ever seen, and there’s been no time where we need it more. And I’m sure that every student watching wants to know, what is next for Americans in space.

I’m very proud that I just signed a bill committing NASA to the aim of sending America astronauts to Mars. So we’ll do that. I think we’ll do it a lot sooner than we’re even thinking. So which one of you is ready to go to Mars? Are you ready? And I think you’re ready. I know you’re ready, right? We just discussed that. She’d like to go to Mars very quickly. Who’s ready to go to Mars up there?

CMDR. WHITSON: We are absolutely ready to go to Mars. It’s going to be a fantastic journey getting there, and very exciting times, and all of us would be happy to go. But I want all the young people out there to recognize that the real steps are going to be taken in a few years. And so by studying math, science, engineering, any kind of technology, you’re going to have a part in that, and that will be very exciting.

THE PRESIDENT: I just want to thank you very much. And, Dr. Whitson, I just — congratulations. Amazing. What an amazing thing that you’ve done. Everybody here — I know you’re family — but everybody here is incredibly proud of the record you just broke. I hope that every young American watching today finds, in your example, a reason to love space and think about space because many great things are going to come out, tremendous discoveries in medicine and so many other fields.

So thank you very much. I want to say God bless you, God bless America. We are very, very proud of you, and very proud of your bravery. Thank you very much.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Trump border wall update: Mexico will pay ‘eventually…in some form,’ cost ‘$10 billion or less’

In case you weren’t checking your Twitter feed over the weekend, President Donald Trump reiterated his signature 2016 campaign pledge to build a border wall between the U.S. and Mexico — but he told the Associated Press he hasn’t decided whether he’ll insist on funding for the wall this week in a spending bill to keep the government open.

Along with “Lock her up!” chants about Hillary Clinton, “Build a wall!” was one of the most popular chants at Trump rallies in 2016.

Donald Trump at an October rally at the South Florida Fairgrounds.

Trump often followed those up by asking “Who’s going to pay for the wall?”

“Mex-i-co!” the crowds would reply.

Late in the campaign — including during this exclusive October interview with The Palm Beach Post — Trump began suggesting that the U.S. might pay for the wall first and then get reimbursed by Mexico.

“They’ll either pay directly or indirectly. That’s the same thing,” Trump told The Palm Beach Post.

That stance, not exactly conducive to a rally chant, was reiterated by the president in a Sunday morning tweet.

“Eventually, but at a later date so we can get started early, Mexico will be paying, in some form, for the badly needed border wall,” Trump tweeted.

Trump also addressed the wall and its costs in the interview with the Associated Press.

The AP’s Julie Pace asked the president: “If you get a bill on your desk that does not include funding for the wall, will you sign it?”

Said Trump: “I don’t know yet. People want the border wall. My base definitely wants the border wall, my base really wants it — you’ve been to many of the rallies. OK, the thing they want more than anything is the wall.”

Trump also said a wall won’t cost as much as some estimate.

“Oh I’m seeing numbers — $24 billion, I think I’ll do it for $10 billion or less. That’s not a lot of money relative to what we’re talking about,” Trump told the AP.

Later, he added: “My base understands the wall is going to get built, whether I have it funded here or if I get it funded shortly thereafter, that wall’s getting built, OK? One hundred percent. One hundred percent it’s getting built. And it’s also getting built for much less money — I hope you get this — than these people are estimating. The opponents are talking $25 billion for the wall. It’s not going to cost anywhere near that…I think $10 billion or less. And if I do a super-duper, higher, better, better security, everything else, maybe it goes a little bit more. But it’s not going to be anywhere near (those) kind of numbers. And they’re using those numbers; they’re using the high numbers to make it sound impalatable (sic). “

Rubio: No role in secret Mar-a-Lago meeting with Trump, Colombian ex-leaders

Sen. Marco Rubio on NBC’s Meet The Press this morning.

Florida Sen. Marco Rubio said this morning he had no role in setting up a meeting at Mar-a-Lago between President Donald Trump and two former presidents of Colombia who oppose a peace deal there with the leftist guerilla group FARC.

Over Easter weekend at Mar-a-Lago, Trump talked with  former Colombian presidents Álvaro Uribe and Andrés Pastrana. Some reports said Rubio — a critic of the FARC deal — helped arrange the meeting. Rubio denied that on NBC’s Meet The Press this morning.

“You’ll have to ask them,” how the meeting came about, Rubio said. “I didn’t even know they were in Florida.”

Trump and Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos are expected to meet in Washington next month. During a February stay at Mar-a-Lago, Trump spoke on the phone with Santos and “both Presidents discussed U.S. support for Colombia’s effort to create a just and lasting peace in its 52-year conflict with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC),” according to a White House readout of the call.

Florida ethics panel clears Bondi in Trump contribution complaint

Pam Bondi during a 2014 campaign stop in West Palm Beach.

 

The Florida Commission on Ethics determined Friday that there is no probable cause that Attorney General Pam Bondi violated state law in 2013 when she asked for a campaign contribution from Donald Trump around the same time her office was reviewing fraud allegations against the for-profit Trump University.

 

Click here for the Associated Press report from Tallahassee on Friday’s decision.

 

As she prepared for her 2014 re-election, Bondi asked Trump for a contribution to the pro-Bondi committee And Justice For All. The nonprofit Donald J. Trump Foundation wrote a $25,000 check in September 2013. Not long afterward, Bondi’s office decided not to join New York in a fraud suit against Trump University.

 

Trump settled complaints against Trump University for $25 million shortly after winning the presidential election in November. He also paid a $2,500 fine to the IRS because the charitable foundation was prohibited from making a contribution to political groups.

 

Bondi has said she did nothing wrong.

 

“I would never, ever trade any campaign contribution…for some type of favor to anyone,” Bondi said in September in her first public comments on the matter.

 

She also defended her decision to keep the contribution rather than return it.

 

“If I had returned it, you would have reported, ‘Bondi accepted a bribe, got caught and returned it,’” Bondi said in September. “That’s how the reporting goes. And so, no, there was nothing improper about it. So there was no reason to return it.”