Donald Trump calls Andrew Gillum ‘a failed Socialist Mayor’

Surprise Democratic gubernatorial nominee Andrew Gillum is already under attack from President Donald Trump. (George Bennett/The Palm Beach Post)

President Donald Trump, whose endorsement of Ron DeSantis was pivotal in Florida’s Republican primary for governor, signaled this morning that he plans to get involved in the general election as well.

On Twitter, Trump crowed about DeSantis’ huge win — and took a shot at the Democratic nominee, Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum.

Listen to the talk of a potential Gillum “surge” on last week’s Inside Florida Politics podcast:

Here’s what Trump tweeted this morning about the DeSantis-Gillum race:

“Not only did Congressman Ron DeSantis easily win the Republican Primary, but his opponent in November is his biggest dream….a failed Socialist Mayor named Andrew Gillum who has allowed crime & many other problems to flourish in his city. This is not what Florida wants or needs!” Trump tweeted.

Gillum stunned pollsters and much of the punditocracy by defeating four rivals to win the Democratic primary with 34 percent of the vote. An endorsement from Democratic socialist Sen. Bernie Sanders was a key factor for Gillum.

Tallahassee last year was named the most dangerous city in Florida by the blog 24/7 Wall St. based on federal Uniform Crime Rate reports from 2015 that showed 767.1 violent crimes per 100,000 people, compared to a statewide rate of 461.9 per 100,000.

 

Feel the Bern: Sanders to campaign with Andrew Gillum in Tampa, Orlando

Andrew Gillum hopes to tap into some of the Berniemania that was on display in Miami last year when Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders made an appearance. (George Bennett/The Palm Beach Post)

Democratic socialist Sen. Bernie Sanders got shellacked by Hillary Clinton in Florida’s 2016 presidential primary. But the 33.3 percent of the vote Sanders got in that race might be enough to win this year’s five-candidate Florida Democratic primary for governor.

Andrew Gillum in Palm Beach Gardens after a Democratic debate. (George Bennett/The Palm Beach Post)

Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum, who’s hoping to tap into the Sanders base of liberal voters in the primary, will campaign with Sanders on Friday in Tampa and Orlando.

Sanders endorsed Gillum Aug. 1, joining a cast of out-of-state stars of the left that includes George Soros, Tom Steyer, Norman Lear and Jane Fonda in supporting Gillum’s candidacy.

Sanders and Gillum are scheduled to appear at an 11 a.m. Friday rally at the hipsterish Armature Works in Tampa, then attend a 3 p.m. rally at the CFE Arena on the campus of the University of Central Florida in Orlando.

 

Shutdown vote reveals 2018 vs. 2020 Democratic divide

Republican Sen. Marco Rubio (left) and Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson were back on the same side in today’s vote to end a government shutdown. (George Bennett/The Palm Beach Post)

Less than 72 hours after  voting for a federal government shutdown, Florida Sen. Bill Nelson and most of his Democratic colleagues reversed course today on a vote clearing the way to reopening the government.

The Senate voted 81-18 to end debate and move toward passage of a short-term spending bill to reopen the government. A final vote on the spending bill itself is expected later this afternoon.

While Democrats insisted Friday that a spending bill include Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) protections against deportation for young non-citizens who were brought to the U.S. by their parents, today’s agreement only includes a pledge from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky. to begin debate on an immigration bill by Feb. 8.

Today’s vote revealed a divide within the Democratic caucus, as Nelson and eight other senators up for re-election this year in states that Donald Trump carried in 2016 voted to end the shutdown. (The lone exception was Democratic Sen. Jon Tester of Montana, who faces re-election this year in a state Trump won by 20 points.)

The 18 votes against the shutdown deal included 16 Democrats and conservative Republican Sens. Rand Paul of Kentucky and Mike Lee of Utah.

With the Democratic party’s liberal base strongly supporting DACA and other reforms to create a pathway to citizenship, the Democratic “no” votes included several senators who have been mentioned as potential 2020 candidates for president: Cory Booker of New Jersey, Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, Kamala Harris of California and Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts. Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, an independent who caucuses with Democrats and sought the party’s 2016 nomination, also was a “no” vote.

 

New Gillum campaign manager has Hillary Clinton past, Bernie Sanders flavor

Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum at the Florida Democratic Party’s Leadership Blue gathering in Hollywood in June. (George Bennett/The Palm Beach Post)

After nearly five months without a campaign manager for his Florida gubernatorial bid, Democrat Andrew Gillum has tapped former Hillary Clinton Pennsylvania political director Brendan McPhillips to manage his campaign.

Tallahassee Mayor Gillum and former campaign manager Phillip Thompson parted ways in early July. Former Florida Democratic Party executive director Scott Arcenaux and Gillum’s communications director, Geoff Burgan, have been overseeing day-to-day operations for the Gillum campaign since then.

Gillum has fired up many Democratic liberals but lagged in fundraising behind three other Democrats in the governor’s race: former U.S. Rep. Gwen Graham, Winter Park businessman Chris King and Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine.

McPhillips managed the long shot 2016 Pennsylvania Senate bid of John Fetterman, the mayor of Braddock (near Pittsburgh) who endorsed Bernie Sanders for president and got 19.5 percent of the Democratic primary vote. The Gillum campaign’s release announcing the McPhillips hire links to an article describing Fetterman as the “Bernie-inspired candidate” in the Pennsylvania Senate race.

After Pennsylvania’s April 2016 primary, McPhillips joined Clinton’s Pennsylvania campaign as political director. Pennsylvania, which hadn’t been carried by a Republican presidential nominee since 1988, narrowly went for Republican Donald Trump in 2016.

McPhillips indicated the Gillum campaign continue trying to court progressives in the Democratic race.

“I’m very excited to join Team Gillum this week. The Mayor has an unmatched progressive record, from beating the gun lobby in court to standing up against oil pipelines, and I know that in 2018 we are finally going to take back the Governor’s Mansion. We won’t get there by running Republican Lite — we have to be bold to convince this state that it is time to put a Democrat in charge again,” McPhillips said in a statement released by the Gillum campaign.

Florida governor race: Gillum embraces Bernie Sanders health care proposal

Democratic governor candidate Andrew Gillum (left) and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders. (Photos by George Bennett/The Palm Beach Post)

Democratic Florida governor candidate Andrew Gillum is embracing the “Medicare for All” health care plan put forward by democratic socialist Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont.

Tallahassee Mayor Gillum — who raised early campaign cash from liberal luminaries George Soros, Jane Fonda and Norman Lear — has tried to position himself as the most progressive candidate in a three-way Democratic primary field that includes former U.S. Rep. Gwen Graham and Winter Park businessman Chris King.

“As we move forward with ensuring every American has affordable health care coverage, I stand with Senator Sanders ‘Medicare for All’ proposal. It moves us closer to affordable healthcare as a right for everyone in Florida and this country, and I’m proud to support it,” Gillum said in a statement today timed to coincide with the latest collapse of Republican efforts to overhaul Obamacare.

Florida Dems speaker lineup: Biden, Nelson, BLM — who’s missing?

The Florida Democratic Party holds its annual fundraising dinner in the district of U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, but she’s not on the list of speakers.

The Florida Democratic Party has released its speaker lineup for Saturday’s Leadership Blue fundraising dinner in Hollywood.

As previously announced, former Vice President Joe Biden will headline the event at the Diplomat Beach Resort, which the party says has already raised $850,000.

Former Vice President Joe Biden will speak at the Florida Democratic Party’s annual fundraising dinner on Saturday in Hollywood.

Sen. Bill Nelson — the only Democrat to hold statewide office in Florida and a prime GOP target next year — will also speak. Three announced Democratic candidates for governor — Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum, former U.S. Rep. Gwen Graham and Winter Park businessman Chris King — will appear in a panel discussion. There will also be a “Resistence Panel” moderated by Black Lives Matter activist DeRay McKesson.

More than two dozen names appear on the list of speakers and panelists released Wednesday by the state party.

Not among them: Hometown U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Weston, the former Democratic National Committee chairwoman whose House district includes the Diplomat Beach Resort.

Many in the party’s progressive wing accused Wasserman Schultz of favoring Hillary Clinton over Bernie Sanders during the 2016 presidential nominating contest before Wasserman Schultz stepped down as chairwoman at last summer’s Democratic National Convention. Clinton recently complained that the DNC under Wasserman Schultz’s leadership “was bankrupt. It was on the verge of insolvency. Its data was mediocre to poor, nonexistent, wrong.”

Leslie Wimes of Boynton Beach, the president of the Democratic African-American Women’s Caucus, wrote in a Sunshine State News column  on Tuesday that the “toxic” Wasserman Schultz was scheduled to speak at Saturday’s event and that “putting the most divisive figure in recent Florida Democratic political history on stage at its biggest fundraising event will be a big mistake.”

Tim Canova, who challenged Wasserman Schultz in a 2016 primary and announced Thursday he’s challenging her again in 2018, told his Facebook followers that “FDP leadership” proposed having Wasserman Schultz speak at the gala but backed down.

Wasserman Schultz’s office didn’t return calls requesting comment. Her spokesman David Damron told The Miami Herald Tuesday that Wasserman Schultz wasn’t speaking at the event.

The party wouldn’t comment on the Wimes or Canova claims except to say that the roster released Wednesday is the only official list of speakers.

Here’s the full list released by the party:

Our Voice, Our Issues Panel, 11:00-12:30 pm

Moderator: Representative Cynthia Stafford

Panelists: State Senator Oscar Braynon

                 State Represenative Carlos Guillermo Smith

                 Anna Eskamani, Planned Parenthood 

                 Tom Conboy, South Florida Engineering and Consulting LLC 

      Mary Green, President of the Brevard Democratic Disability Caucus

                 Ghazala Salam, American Muslim Democratic Caucus  

 

The Resistance Panel, 1:00-2:30 pm

Moderator: DeRay McKesson, Black Lives Matter; Pod Save the People, This is the Movement 

Panelists: Dominik Whitehead, AFSCME and Lead Organizer on Betsy Devos HBCU protests

                 Ida Eskamani, Organize Florida

                 Charo Valero, National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health 

                 Maria Rodriguez, Florida Immigrant Coalition

                 Carrie Feit, Women’s March of Florida 

                 Karla Hernandez Mats, United Teachers of Dade 

 

Gubernatorial Panel, hosted by the Progressive Caucus of Florida, 3:00-4:30 pm

Moderator: Keith Fitzgerald, former State Representative

Panelists: Mayor Andrew Gillum

                 Former Congresswoman Gwen Graham

                 Chris King

Leadership Blue Gala, 7:00-9:00 pm

Speakers: Former Vice President Joe Biden

                 U.S. Senator Bill Nelson

                 DNC Vice Chair Michael Blake

                 State Senator Oscar Braynon

                 State Senator Jeff Clemens

 State Representative Janet Cruz 

                 State Representative Kionne McGhee

                 State Representative Carlos Guillermo Smith

                 Mayor Wayne Messam

                 Commissioner David Arreola​

                 Ana Eskamani                 

                 Ida Eskamani​

                 FDP Chair Stephen Bittel

                 FDP President Sally Boynton Brown

South Florida celeb showdown? Trump vs. ‘The Rock’ in new 2020 poll

Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson last year during filming in Boca Raton of the “Baywatch” movie(Getty Images)

President Donald Trump trails Democrats Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Al Franken and Cory Booker in hypothetical 2020 presidential matchups, according to a new survey by the Democratic firm Public Policy Polling.

PPP also asked its national sample of 692 registered voters about actor, wrestler and former University of Miami football player Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, who recently told GQ “it’s a real possibility” he’ll run for president.

Johnson is viewed favorably by 36 percent of voters and unfavorably by 13 percent.

CANES WATCH: Could The Rock be president?

Trump gets a favorable job approval rating from 40 percent and an unfavorable grade from 54 percent.

In a hypothetical race against Trump, Johnson gets 42 percent to 37 percent for the incumbent president, PPP found. Johnson’s support includes 15 percent of those who voted for Trump in 2016.

The poll, conducted Friday through Sunday, has a 3.7 percent margin of error.

 

 

Bernie Sanders fires up Democrats with call for ‘revolution’ in Miami

Feel the Bern: Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders gets a rock star’s welcome after speaking at a Miami rally on Wednesday night. (George Bennett/The Palm Beach Post)

MIAMI — Bernie Sanders lost the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination to Hillary Clinton, but he urged about 2,000 cheering Democrats on Wednesday night to embrace his message of “revolution” to counter Donald Trump‘s presidency and rebuild the party.

 

“It sounds to me like you guys are ready to make a political revolution. Well if you are, you’ve come to the right place,” Sanders said at a “Come Together and Fight Back” rally in which he and new Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez sought to unite the party’s Sanders and Clinton wings.

 

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders speaking in Miami on Wednesday. (George Bennett/The Palm Beach Post)

“Donald Trump did not win the election. The Democrats lost the election,” Sanders said.

“That means rebuilding the Democratic Party, making it a grassroots party, a party from the bottom on up,” said Sanders, who himself is not a registered Democrat but describes himself as a “democratic socialist” and caucuses with the party in the Senate.

 

Sanders invoked the Woody Guthrie labor anthem “Which Side Are You On?” to tell Democrats: “Our job is to make it clear that the Democratic Party is on the side of working people. We’ll take on the billionaire class and Wall Street and the drug companies and the insurance companies and, might I add in Florida, the damn fossil fuel industry as well.”

 

Earlier Wednesday, U.S. Rep. Alcee Hastings, D-Delray Beach, voiced doubt about Sanders’ role in rebuilding the party.

 

A man sells “Bernie 2020” T-shirts outside the event for $20 each or two for $30.

“I still feel that if Bernie wants to do something about the Democratic Party then he ought to join the damn Democratic Party and stop fiddling around in my organization if you can’t make that necessary step,” Hastings said at a town hall meeting west of Boynton Beach.

 

In Miami, Sanders said Democrats should embrace single-payer health care, a $15 minimum wage, equal pay for women, paid family leave, sentencing reform and — in a sharp contrast to one of Trump’s signature issues — a welcoming stance toward immigrants who are in the country illegally.

 

“Our job is to say to Mr. Trump, ‘Stop scapegoating people. Pass comprehensive immigration reform and a path toward citizenship’…Our job is together as a nation to say that we respect those people, that we’re going to work with those people and that we are finally going to pass immigration reform,” Sanders said.

 

Before Sanders spoke, Perez took the stage to Tom Petty‘s “Won’t Back Down” and threw some coarse language at Trump and the GOP.

 

Perez called the president “a damn liar…You’re goddamned right he’s a liar.”

 

Perez said Republicans couldn’t decide whether to call their health care proposal “Trumpcare” or “Ryancare” after House Speaker Paul Ryan.

 

“I have a name for it. It’s ‘I Don’t Care,’ because the Republican leadership doesn’t give a s–t about people who are suffering,” Perez said. He dismissed claims that people wouldn’t lose coverage under the Republican plan as “bulls–t.”

 

Later, discussing Trump’s budget proposal, Perez said: “They call it a skinny budget. I call it a s—ty budget.”

 

Perez, Sanders and other speakers urged the crowd of activists to get involved in politics, run for local offices and speak out at government meetings.

 

Said Sanders: “If you’re just standing back and moaning and groaning and making funny jokes about Trump, that ain’t good enough.”

 

One early speaker, Miami-Dade Democratic Chairman Juan Cuba, complimented the crowd on its enthusiasm — but in so doing highlighted the lack of Democratic passion before the Nov. 8 election.

 

“There’s been political energy in this room tonight,” Cuba said, “and I’ve felt it ever since November.”

 

Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel called the rally an “unhinged, profanity-laced roadshow” and said Florida voters rejected the Sanders-Perez message when Trump carried the state in 2016.

 

“Last year, Sunshine State voters roundly rejected the far-left polices that Sanders, Perez, and their Democrat colleagues continue to espouse today. Voters entrusted President Trump and Republicans to move Florida forward, and no amount of Democrat showboating will change that fact,” McDaniel said.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Alcee Hastings takes shots at Trump, Bernie Sanders, Hillary Clinton’s campaign

Rep. Alcee Hastings, D-Delray Beach, holds the microphone for an audience member at a town hall meeting west of Boynton Beach.

U.S. Rep. Alcee Hastings, D-Delray Beach, told a town hall audience that President Donald Trump should pursue “hot diplomacy” and consult with Congress before taking any military action in North Korea.

 

Hastings also zinged Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and criticized the Hillary Clinton campaign while speaking to about 70 people at the Mandel Jewish Community Center west of Boynton Beach, which is in the district of Rep. Lois Frankel, D-West Palm Beach.

 

Attendees at Hastings’ town hall included 100-year-old Sylvia Rosenblatt, holding a picture of her late husband afterward.

Hastings urged Trump to consult the entire Congress — not just leaders — before taking any military action to counter North Korea’s development of nuclear weapons.

 

“I hope that we aren’t senseless enough to take on war. We fought on that peninsula before and lost people unnecessarily….I’m hopeful that if there is going to be any war that Congress will be consulted and that we will authorize,” Hastings said.

 

“I’ve had a great deal of experience internationally…I think I know more about the  world than Donald Trump does,” Hastings added.

 

He said Trump should spend more time in Washington and less time at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach and noted that he has joined Frankel and Rep. Ted Deutch, D-Boca Raton, in calling on the federal government to reimburse local taxpayers for the estimated $3.7 million in costs for helping the Secret Service with protecting the president.

 

Trump acknowledged “fissures” in the Democratic Party and noted that Sanders, a registered independent, and new Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez are coming to Miami tonight as part of a “Come Together and Fight Back” tour.

 

“I still feel that if Bernie wants to do something about the Democratic Party then he ought to join the damn Democratic Party and stop fiddling around in my organization if you can’t make that necessary step,” Hastings said.

 

Hastings, an early Hillary Clinton supporter for her 2008 and 2016 presidential bids, said the Clinton campaign spent too much on TV ads and not enough on turning out voters last year. He said he brought up his concerns with the Clinton campaign but not the candidate herself.

 

“I regret…not having spoken with Hillary Clinton myself. But I felt that at her level she didn’t need to hear my complaints. So I dealt with (campaign chairman) John Podesta and (campaign manager) Robby Mook and some other kid – I can’t even remember his name, he was that insignificant, but he was their so-called black outreach person. So I dealt with them and tried to get them to understand that they were not spending the necessary resources on turnout,” Hastings said.

 

Hastings, 80, was far from being the oldest person in the senior-dominated crowd.

 

Sylvia Rosenblatt, 100, of Lake Worth attended the meeting.

 

“You gotta keep your brain going,” she said afterward. She called Hastings “fabulous.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

Feel the Bern II: Sanders to visit Miami with new Democratic chairman

Bernie Sanders speaks to Florida delegates at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia last year.

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders will visit Miami on Wednesday and try to bestow some grass-roots cred on new Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez.

Bernie Sanders lost the Democratic presidential nomination to Hillary Clinton, but this parade in Philadelphia last year shows he has a strong following among Dems.

It’s part of the DNC’s “Come Together and Fight Back” tour, which has Sanders and Perez visiting eight states. Former Labor Secretary Perez was elected in February in what was seen as a victory by the party establishment over the more liberal Sanders wing. Sanders favored Minnesota Rep. Keith Ellison for the job.

Republican Donald Trump defeated Democrat Hillary Clinton last year in part because he appealed to many working-class voters that Democrats took for granted in Florida and other swing states.

Now, the DNC says, the Perez-Sanders tour “will focus on the needs of working families and building a Democratic Party that fights for the issues that lift families up, not tear them down.”

Florida delegate Sanjay Patel at last year’s Democratic National Convention.

Barack Obama won Florida twice before Trump carried the state last year. As always, the Sunshine State will be a key battleground for both parties.

Says Florida Democratic Party Chair Stephen Bittel in a statement released by the DNC: “Florida is the largest swing state in the country and the resistance movement against Republicans and their harmful and discriminatory policies is stronger than ever throughout the state. I look forward to welcoming Senator Sanders and Chairman Perez and working with them to turn Florida blue.” ​

If you go

Where: Knight Center Complex, 400 S.E. 2nd Ave., Miami

When: Doors open at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday

Information/RSVP: www.fightbacktour.com