NEW: Frankel, Democratic women to wear white during Trump speech

U.S. Rep. Lois Frankel will join a group of Democratic congresswomen in wearing white — a show of support for women’s rights — to President Donald Trump’s first address before a joint session of Congress.

The move by the House Democratic Women’s Working Group, for which Frankel serves as chair, mirrors a similar demonstration from Trump’s inaugural, when Frankel and several other Democrats wore pink. White was chosen because it was the official color of the suffragette movement, the group said in a news release.

U.S. Rep. Lois Frankel, left, is joined by other Democratic House members in wearing pink as a peaceful protest of President Donald Trump's inauguration. (Provided)
U.S. Rep. Lois Frankel, left, is joined by other Democratic House members in wearing pink as a peaceful protest of President Donald Trump’s inauguration. (Provided)

» LIVE UPDATES: President Trump’s speech before Congress

“We wear white to unite against any attempts by the Trump Administration to roll back the incredible progress women have made in the last century, and we will continue to support the advancement of all women. We will not go back,” said Frankel, whose District 21 is composed of much of central and southern Palm Beach County, including Trump’s Mar-a-Lago Club in Palm Beach.

Frankel’s guest for the address tonight is Treasure Coast resident Sherry Riggs, who credits the Affordable Care Act with saving her life. Lawmakers typically receive one guest ticket each to presidential speeches.

» COMPLETE COVERAGE: Donald Trump in Palm Beach


Trump may visit Orlando, Palm Beach on Friday

022117 trump departs 1
President Donald Trump heads to the Palm Beach International Airport following an earlier weekend visit to Palm Beach. (Damon Higgins / The Palm Beach Post)

President Donald Trump appears to be planning a trip to Orlando on Friday even as he’s planning his fourth presidential visit to Mar-a-Lago.

On Monday, the Federal Aviation Administration warned pilots to expect the kinds restrictions around Orlando that typically accompany Trump’s visits: Flight restrictions 0f about 35 miles and an even stricter restriction of about 11 nautical miles. Those restrictions have been a hallmark of Trump’s visits, but not of trips by Vice President Mike Pence.

Full coverage: Post on Donald Trump

Last week, the FAA warned pilots to expect Trump-level flight restrictions around Palm Beach from this Friday through Sunday. The announcement is similar to earlier guidance that presaged a Trump visit.

One weekend’s visit included at least a dozen airspace violations, with five airplanes being intercepted by F-15 fighter jets or a government helicopter, The Palm Beach Post has reported.

No times and details have been announced for this week’s VIP trips, so it’s not confirmed that Trump is visiting either location, much less what order. However, on the last visit Trump stopped by Charleston, S.C., on the way to Palm Beach, then made a separate side trip Saturday to Melbourne, where he held a rally with money from his 2020 campaign.


Frankel looks to keep heat on Trump, GOP about Obamacare repeal

U.S. Rep. Lois Frankel, D-West Palm Beach, speaks during a press conference with Sherry Riggs of Fort Pierce behind her. (Wayne Washington/Palm Beach Post)
U.S. Rep. Lois Frankel, D-West Palm Beach, speaks during a press conference with Sherry Riggs of Fort Pierce behind her. (Wayne Washington/The Palm Beach Post)

U.S. Rep. Lois Frankel, D-West Palm Beach, has invited a Fort Pierce woman who credits the Affordable Care Act for saving her life to be her guest as President Donald Trump makes his first speech to a joint session of Congress Tuesday night.

Frankel and other Democrats are looking to keep the heat on Trump and other Republicans who say they will repeal the ACA, better known as Obamacare, and replace it with something better.

Some Republicans, including U.S. Rep. Brian Mast, R-Palm City, are hearing from constituents during angry town hall meetings that they don’t want Obamacare repealed unless it’s replaced with something that won’t drive up costs or lead to more  people without health care.

Members of Congress are allowed to bring a guest to hear Trump’s speech, and Frankel’s will be Sherry Riggs, a 55-year old barber who says she turned to Obamacare in 2015 after learning she could not afford private health insurance because of a preexisting heart condition.

Months after signing up, Riggs, a mother of three, underwent heart surgery, the first two procedures she has now undergone while using Obamacare.

“If it wasn’t for the Affordable Care Act, I would be dead twice now,” Riggs said during a press conference with Frankel Monday morning.

Learn more about Riggs and the debate over repeal at later today.

Rick Scott eats lunch, dinner with Trump after scoring key RGA post

Florida guys hangin' in the Oval -- Gov. Rick Scott and President Donald Trump on Saturday.
Florida guys hangin’ in the Oval — Gov. Rick Scott and President Donald Trump on Saturday.

It’s been a big weekend for Florida Gov. Rick Scott, who joined President Donald Trump for lunch and dinner in Washington, D.C., on Saturday after landing a key Republican Governors Association post on Friday.


Scott on Friday was selected vice chairman of the RGA for the remainder of 2017, filling the slot that Nikki Haley vacated when she stepped down as South Carolina governor to become U.S. ambassador to the United Nations. As vice chairman, Scott will play a leading role in recruiting Republican gubernatorial candidates and raising money for them across the U.S. — and, coincidentally, build his own fundraising network for an expected 2018 race against Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson.


On Saturday, Scott and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker had lunch at the White House with Trump.



The White House described it as a “working lunch…to discuss how best to solve the problems of Obamacare, with a special emphasis on the states’ role in healthcare.”


Scott told Twitter followers it was a “great meeting with my friend @realDonaldTrump today on reinventing great health care in our nation!”


On Saturday night, Benny Johnson of Independent Journal Review reported on Twitter that Scott was among those Trump joined for dinner at his Trump International Hotel a few blocks from the White House..



At the table with Trump and Scott were Ivanka Trump and her husband, Jared Kushner, as well as Nigel Farage, the former U.K. Independence Party leader and Trump backer. Farage posted a “Dinner with The Donald” photo on his Twitter account that shows Scott at the table.


Johnson reported that Farage wasn’t invited but “squeezed in at last second.”




Mast gets earful as hundreds pack town hall meeting in Fort Pierce

mast-mtgU.S. Rep. Brian Mast was jeered and, at times, cheered during a packed, raucous, four-hour town hall meeting at the Havert L. Fenn Center in Fort Pierce Friday.

MyPalmBeachPost: See our full coverage of the raucous town hall

The Palm City Republican was the most recent member of Congress to face constituents infuriated by policies supported by the Republican Party and by President Donald Trump.

Mast, a double amputee Army veteran elected in November, held the meeting to address the concerns of military veterans, but he got an earful on a host of other issues, particularly the Affordable Care Act, better known as Obamacare.

Most of those in the audience seemed intent on tearing into Mast, though the congressman had plenty of supporters among the nearly 500 people who showed up.

Unlike some in his party who returned to their districts, Mast did not cancel the town hall meeting, nor did he lose his temper as angry audience members booed some of his answers or shouted at him in fury.

Audience members seemed most angry about Mast’s support for a repeal of Obamacare and a border wall between Mexico and the United States, two of Trump’s prominent policy goals.

Many of the talking points that stood Republicans in good stead on the campaign trail – respect for states’ rights, getting rid of ‘waste, fraud and abuse,’ repeal of Obamacare, bashing illegal immigration – drew condemnation Friday. Audience members also booed whenever Mast veered into long answers instead of saying ‘yes,’ or ‘no.’

But respect for Mast’s military service – and the congressman’s calm responses over the course of the meeting – kept the audience from completely letting loose on him.

Check with later for more on this topic.

U.S. Rep. Brian Mast

Rory McIlroy: Golf with Trump wasn’t ‘endorsement nor a political statement’

Rory McIlroy and President Donald Trump golfed Sunday at Trump International Golf Club (both photos by Allen Eyestone/The Palm Beach Post)
Rory McIlroy and President Donald Trump golfed Sunday at Trump International Golf Club (both photos by Allen Eyestone/The Palm Beach Post)

It sounds like golfer Rory McIlroy has been taking some heat for teeing up with President Donald Trump last weekend at Trump International Golf Club.


McIlroy, currently the PGA Tour’s third-ranked player in the world, issued a statement on Twitter this afternoon that suggests he’s been “called a fascist and a bigot” for hitting the links with Trump.


McIlroy is a native of Northern Ireland who has a home in Palm Beach Gardens. He told The Palm Beach Post last year he wasn’t enthusiastic about the 2016 presidential field.


Today, McIlroy told his more than 3 million Twitter followers that playing with Trump “wasn’t an endorsement nor a political statement of any kind. It was, quite simply, a round of golf.”


Here’s McIlroy’s entire statement:


“I don’t agree with everything my friends or family say or do, but I still play golf with them. Last week, I was invited to play golf with the President of the United States. Whether you respect the person who holds that position or not, you respect the office that he holds. This wasn’t an endorsement nor a political statement of any kind. It was, quite simply, a round of golf. Golf was our common ground, nothing else. I’ve travelled all over the world and have been fortunate enough to befriend people from many different countries, beliefs and cultures. To be called a fascist and a bigot by some people because I spent time in someone’s company is just ridiculous. I hope, to some degree, this clarifies my decision to accept the invitation that was extended to me. Thanks to everyone for your continued support and I look forward to making my comeback in Mexico next week.”



Trump at CPAC: ‘I love the First Amendment’ but hate ‘fake news’

President Donald Trump speaking at the Conservative Political Action Conference, via CSPAN.
President Donald Trump speaking at the Conservative Political Action Conference, via CSPAN.

President Donald Trump renewed his attacks on “fake news” in front of cheering conservative activists today while saying he’s not against all media or the First Amendment.

Trump spoke at the annual Conservative Political Action Conference outside Washington, D.C. The part-time Palm Beach resident has spoken to CPAC in the past as a presidential waters-tester and celebrity outsider — but came today as a conquering hero.


Click here for a history of Trump’s past CPAC appearances.


Despite his many past differences with conservatives, Trump found common ground with his audience by ripping the mainstream media, a target of decades of conservative criticism.

“We are fighting the fake news. It’s fake. Phony. Fake. A few days ago I called the fake news the enemy of the people. And they are. They are the enemy of the people, because they have no sources, they just make them up when there are none,” Trump said.

Trump created an uproar on Feb. 17 when, during a visit to Palm Beach, he tweeted: “The FAKE NEWS media (failing @nytimes, @NBCNews, @ABC, @CBS, @CNN) is not my enemy, it is the enemy of the American People!”



At CPAC, he said coverage of that tweet underscores his criticism.

“They’re very dishonest people. In fact, in covering my comments, the dishonest media did not explain that I called the ‘fake’ news the enemy of the people. The ‘fake’ news – they dropped off the word ‘fake’ and all of a sudden the story became the media is the enemy. They take the word ‘fake’ out,” Trump said.

“I’m not against the media. I’m not against the press. I don’t mind bad stories if I deserve them….but I am only against the fake news media or press. Fake. Fake. They have to leave that word. I’m against the people that make up stories and make up sources. They shouldn’t be allowed to use sources unless they use somebody’s name. Let their name be put out there. Let their name be put out.”

Later, Trump added: “I love the First Amendment. Nobody loves it better than me. I mean, who uses it more than I do? But the First Amendment gives all of us…the right to speak our minds freely. It gives you the right and me the right to criticize fake news and criticize it strongly.”

Trump added that “fake news…doesn’t represent the people, it never will represent the people and we’re going to do something about it because we have to go out and we have to speak our minds.”

» FULL TRANSCRIPT: President Trump’s remarks at CPAC






VIDEO: Trump at CPAC today — a history of an unlikely alliance

Donald Trump as a not-yet-declared presidential candidate at the 2015 Conservative Political Action Conference.
Donald Trump as a not-yet-declared presidential candidate at the 2015 Conservative Political Action Conference.

President Donald Trump – a former Hillary Clinton donor and George W. Bush impeachment advocate and a past supporter of abortion rights, an assault weapons ban and a massive “wealth tax” – is not a product of the conservative movement.

CPAC reactied icily last year when Trump cancelled a scheduled appearance.
CPAC reactied icily last year when Trump cancelled a scheduled appearance.

But part-time Palm Beach resident Trump will be the featured speaker today at the movement’s premier annual event, the Conservative Political Action Conference outside Washington, D.C.

It’ll be Trump’s fifth CPAC appearance.



Since he first spoke at CPAC in 2011, Trump and conservatives have traveled a bumpy road.

Just last year, Trump cancelled his scheduled CPAC appearance. His campaign cited the need to campaign in Kansas before that state’s caucuses, but critics accused him of trying to avoid a planned mass walkout organized by a conservative activist.

On its official Twitter account last year, CPAC said Trump’s cancellation “sends a clear message to conservatives.”

Despite his variegated ideological history, Trump has been remarkably consistent in his remarks to CPAC since his initial speech six years ago.

Some past Trump CPAC highlights:

2011: ‘Our country will be great again’ —  Trump was considering a 2012 run for president when he spoke at the 2011 conference. Entering to the 1973 O’Jays classic “For the Love of Money,” Trump gave remarks that sounded a lot like his 2016 stump speech.




“The United States has become a whipping post for the rest of the world. The world is treating us without respect. They are not treating us properly…The United States is becoming the laughingstock of the world,” Trump said early on.

He listed China, India, South Korea, Mexico and the OPEC nations as countries that “view our leaders as weak and ineffective.”

CPAC crowds always feature a strong libertarian element, and when someone shouted support for former Rep. Ron Paul during Trump’s remarks, Trump dismissed the idea.

“By the way, Ron Paul cannot get elected, I’m sorry to tell you…He just has zero chance of getting elected,” Trump said.

“If I decide to run I will not be raising taxes. We’ll be taking in hundreds of billions of dollars from other countries that are screwing us. We’ll be creating vast numbers of productive jobs…and we’ll rebuild our country so that we can be proud,” Trump said. Then, offering a precursor to his 2016 slogan, he added: “Our country will be great again.”

2013: Immigrants = Democratic votes — When Trump spoke to CPAC a few months after Mitt Romney’s 2012 loss to President Barack Obama, many Republicans were calling for the GOP to embrace immigration reform to appeal to the growing segment of Hispanic voters. Not Trump.




“Every one of those 11 million people will be voting Democratic. That’s just the way it works…You’re just not going to get those votes,” Trump said.

Trump told reporters it was “so early” to speculate about a 2016 run for president. Most of the presidential attention at the event was focused on speakers such as Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio, Rand Paul and Bobby Jindal.

Trump told the CPAC crowd that Republicans needed to abandon conservative calls for entitlement reform.

“As Republicans, if you think you’re going to change very substantially for the worse Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security in any substantial way and at the same time you think you’re going to win elections, it just really is not going to happen,” Trump said.

“We have to make America strong again and make America great again,” Trump said early in his speech. He returned to the signature phrase at the end.

“We have to start manufacturing and building again and we have to make America great again. Our problems will be solved,” Trump said.

2014: Putin ‘toying’ with Obama — Trump bragged about not using a TelePrompTer, promoted his Doral golf course and Old Post Office hotel in Washington and said President Obama’s “weak” and “pathetic” leadership had encouraged Russian President Vladimir Putin to take Crimea from Ukraine a few weeks earlier.





“You look at what he’s doing with President Obama. He’s like toying with him. He’s toying with him,” Trump said of Putin.

Trump also repeated his warning to the GOP that a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants would help Democrats.

“I don’t care who stands up, whether its Marco Rubio, and talks about ‘Let everybody in.’ You won’t get one vote. Every one of those votes goes to the Democrats,” Trump said.

Looking to 2016, Trump said: “I think in 2016 you’ll probably be running against Hillary. I think it’s going to be a tough race but I think it’s going to be a race that, by that time, will be so bad that the Republicans will likewise take that and then you can actually end Obamacare, which is a total catastrophe.”

2015: Birtherism revisited — A few months before formally launching his candidacy, Trump insisted he was seriously considering the race and not merely stoking interest in his brand.






“A lot of people think I’m doing this for fun. They think it’s good for my brand and I’m here and I’m doing that. I’m a big successful guy. I’m not doing this for fun. I’m doing it because we have to take our country back,” Trump said.

In a post-speech Q and A with Sean Hannity, Trump put the odds he would run in 2016 at 75 percent to 80 percent.

“We are in a position where we just never win. And that’s because of our leadership. You need somebody, perhaps, that wrote ‘The Art of the Deal’ – one of the great business books of all time,” Trump said.

He continued his tough talk on immigration, this time throwing in the notion of a wall along the U.S. border with Mexico — but not adding his later insistence that Mexico pay for the wall.

“We need strong borders. We need a wall. If I run, I will tell you, the king of building buildings, the king of building walls, nobody can build them like Trump. That I can promise you,” he said.

Bush at the time was the establishment favorite to win the GOP nomination.

“Jeb Bush — he’s in favor of Common Core. He’s weak on immigration,” Trump said. “I don’t see him winning. I don’t see there’s any way. You people are going to have to make your own choice. Who knows?”

Trump by 2015 had largely abandoned his trafficking in birther conspiracy theories about Obama. But he still voiced doubt about Obama’s birthplace and boasted that he had persuaded the president to produce a birth certificate in 2011 while others failed.

“Trump comes along and said ‘birth certificate.’ He gave a birth certificate — whether or not that was a real certificate, because a lot of people questioned it, I certainly questioned it — but Hillary Clinton wanted it, McCain wanted it and I wanted it. He didn’t do it for them. He did it for me,” Trump said. “So in one sense I’m proud of it. Now all we have to do is find out whether or not it was real.”





Trump in Palm Beach: Not this weekend; March visit(s) coming

President Donald Trump at Palm Beach International Airport on Feb. 17. (Allen Eyestone/The Palm Beach Post)
President Donald Trump at Palm Beach International Airport on Feb. 17. (Allen Eyestone/The Palm Beach Post)

PALM BEACH — There’s been no official guidance from the White House on President Donald Trump‘s plans for this weekend, but all signs suggest he will not be coming to his second home at Mar-a-Lago.


The Palm Beach Post’s diligent transportation reporter Kristina Webb notes, however, that a Federal Aviation Advisory points to a possible Trump visit March 3-5.


Says the FAA in a notice this morning:  “There will be VIP Temporary Flight Restrictions (TFR) in the West Palm Beach, Florida region” on March 3-5.


Other unconfirmed local rumblings point toward a possible Trump visit to Palm Beach for the March 10-12 weekend. Check out, and @gbennettpost on Twitter for developments.


Trump spent three consecutive weekends at Mar-a-Lago and, as of Monday, had spent 25 percent of his presidency in Florida.





Where’s Rubio? Unknown group wants to know

U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio
U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio

It’s Wednesday afternoon. Do you know where one of your U.S. senators is?

Speaking Up for America – a group that doesn’t appear to be registered as a corporation or a political committee in Florida or with the Federal Elections Commission – has paid for an advertisement in The Palm Beach Post describing U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio as “lost.”

The ad has a picture of Rubio and a tongue-in-cheek description.

“He may respond to the title ‘Senator Marco Rubio,’ though his constituents have been unable to verify whether this is still the case as they have been unable to contact him in recent weeks,” the ad reads. “Senator Rubio was recently re-elected to the United State Senate and may be found in Washington, D.C. Many of his concerned constituents have been trying to reach him by phone, email, fax, the Senate website, and the Postal Service about a variety of issues, but they have been unable to reach the Senator and have received no response to their communications.”

The ad finishes with: “If found, please return Senator Rubio to his constituents by way of a Town Hall meeting or other suitable gathering in which the Senator demonstrates his accountability to his constituents by listening to and honestly addressing their concerns.”

Rubio’s office didn’t take the swipe laying down.

“We have been fully accessible and responsive to constituents, including the two individuals likely hiding behind this anonymous ad,” the senator’s press secretary, Matt Wolking, wrote in an email to The Post. “Our Palm Beach office only has one employee and serves multiple counties, but he greets any protesters who show up and has already met with hundreds of these activists.”

Wolking was just getting warmed up.

“This dishonest ad is part of a coordinated strategy of disruption revealed in an online activist manual, which instructs liberal protesters to carry out ‘mass office calling’ in which the group ‘all agree[s] to call in on one specific issue that day,’ he wrote. “They are further instructed that ‘the next day or week, pick another issue, and call again on that.’ Their goal is to flood offices with calls and emails, disrupt our ability to respond, then complain to the press that they aren’t getting a response.”