Liberal group presses Nelson, other Trump-state Dems on Gorsuch

The liberal group People For the American Way is targeting Florida Sen. Bill Nelson and others with a new ad that slams President Donald Trump Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch.

 

From a new People For the American Way ad airing in Florida and 11 other states.
From a new People For the American Way ad airing in Florida and 11 other states.

The group has begun airing a 30-second ad that says Gorsuch “doesn’t respect the Constitution” and includes an image of a man in a judicial robe tearing the founding document.

 

People For the American Way is airing the ad in 12 states — including seven states that were carried by Trump in 2016 and have Democratic senators up for re-election in 2018.

 

Nelson, who plans to seek a fourth term next year, has said he wants a “full examination” of Gorsuch.

 

 

 

Why President Donald Trump’s Palm Beach arrival could affect your Friday commute

Palm Beach County just got a better idea of when President Donald Trump will arrive for his first visit to Palm Beach since his Jan. 20 inauguration.

A temporary flight restriction issued for the Palm Beach area for Trump’s visit goes into effect at 4:15 p.m. Friday — a good indication the president will fly into town during the evening commute.

Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago Club in Palm Beach will host the president and the International Red Cross Ball this weekend.
Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago Club in Palm Beach will host the president and the International Red Cross Ball this weekend.

COMPLETE COVERAGE: Donald Trump in Palm Beach

Commuters should expect heavier-than-usual traffic Friday evening, as the presidential motorcade will travel from Palm Beach International Airport, where Air Force One will land, and Trump’s Mar-a-Lago Club directly to the east. Past motorcades have passed through quickly, causing few traffic tie-ups. However, more security is anticipated because this is Trump’s first visit to Palm Beach County as president.

The restriction expires at 11:30 a.m. Monday, so Trump most likely will leave before then.

Trump and his wife, Melania, are expected to attend the 60th annual Red Cross Ball being held Saturday night at Mar-a-Lago. Protesters are expected to march from downtown West Palm Beach to the club, which sits on the east end of the Southern Boulevard bridge across the Intracoastal.

RELATED:

Trump expected to draw more tourists to Palm Beach County

Security beefs up now that Mar-a-Lago’s resident is President Trump

Want to see Air Force One this weekend? You can’t miss it.

 

 

 

Trump prayer-trolls Schwarzenegger on ratings; Arnold responds

President Donald Trump at the National Prayer Breakfast.
President Donald Trump at the National Prayer Breakfast.

President and self-described “ratings machine” Donald Trump took another shot at Arnold Schwarzenegger this morning — during the National Prayer Breakfast in Washington, D.C.

 

Trump noted on Twitter last month that ratings for NBC’s “Celebrity Apprentice” with Schwarzenegger as host were down from when Trump hosted the show.

 

He brought up the topic again at the Prayer Breakfast after being introduced by Mark Burnett, who originally teamed with Trump to produce the show.

 

Trump noted he had to give up the show when he ran for president and, “They hired a big, big movie star, Arnold Schwarzenegger, to take my place and we know how that turned out. The ratings went right down the tubes. It has been a total disaster.”

 

Then, ever mindful of his audience, Trump added: “I want to just pray for Arnold, if we can, for those ratings.”

 

Schwarzenegger — a former Republican governor of California who announced in October he would not support Trump for president — responded on Twitter later in the morning.

 

 

“Hey, Donald, I have a great idea. Why don’t we switch jobs?” Schwarzenegger says in a brief video he tweeted. “You take over TV because you’re such an expert in ratings and I take over your job, and then people can finally sleep comfortably again.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Red Cross dodges political fire with ball at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago

Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago Club in Palm Beach will host the president and the International Red Cross Ball this weekend.
Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago Club in Palm Beach will host the president and the International Red Cross Ball this weekend.

PALM BEACH — The Red Cross is seeking to avoid political crossfire at Saturday’s International Red Cross Ball at President Donald Trump‘s Mar-a-Lago Club.

 

The event could raise nearly $1 million for the humanitarian organization and, with Trump visiting Palm Beach this weekend, has sparked a protest march.

 

The event could help the Red Cross provide assistance to those affected by Trump’s controversial executive order halting refugee admissions and travel from seven nations. Red Cross spokeswoman Jeanne Hamrick said that the organization has received at least one request to help people affected by the travel ban.

 

“The American Red Cross, when requested by local authorities, will provide basic support to stranded travelers affected by the recent executive order on immigration, including providing food and water at ports of entry; blankets, toiletries and other aid; and health, mental health and spiritual care services,” Hamrick said.

 

“Our ‘Restoring Family Links’ services are also available to help detainees and stranded travelers who have been separated internationally to reconnect with their loved ones.  Our regional leaders are following these issues closely and in close contact with the relevant local authorities. At least one American Red Cross region has received and responded to a formal request for such assistance,” Hamrick said.

 

Trump is traveling to Palm Beach for the first time as president amid heightened security. He’s expected to attend the Red Cross Ball at his second home, though neither the White House nor the Red Cross have confirmed his attendance.

 

The ball, started in 1957 by original Mar-a-Lago owner Marjorie Merriweather Post, has traditionally been held at Mar-a-Lago or The Breakers over the last six decades. Trump has attended for most of the last 12 years, but missed last year’s ball while he was on the campaign trail.

 

“Mr. Trump over the years has been extremely generous to the Red Cross in the use of his facility and his appearances at the event,” said Larry Casey, a former CEO of the Palm Beach regional chapter of the Red Cross.

 

Now that Trump is president and protesters plan to march nearby, Casey said the political factor puts the organization in a difficult spot.

 

“The Red Cross is very much a hyper-sensitive, non-political organization that shies away from anything that’s political. So I’m sure they’re doing headstands in Washington over the fact that the Red Cross is being caught in the middle of a political brouhaha,” Casey said.

 

Hamrick said that the Red Cross is a humanitarian organization that does not engage in “controversies of a political, racial, religious or ideological nature so that we may continue to fulfill our mission and enjoy the confidence of all.”

 

In response to this year’s planned protests, Hamrick said, “We respect the right of all people to express their views and are thankful to live in a country where such discourse is embraced. We hope these expressions will not hinder the efforts of an impartial humanitarian organization that serves the urgent needs of people at home and around the world.”

 

 

Rubio, Nelson differ on Trump Cabinet picks

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

The Senate’s confirmation Wednesday of Rex Tillerson as Secretary of State was the latest example of Florida Sens. Bill Nelson and Marco Rubio differing on one of President Donald Trump‘s Cabinet picks.

 

Tillerson was approved on a 56-to-43 vote.

 

Here’s a look at how Democrat Nelson and Republican Rubio have voted or announced a position so far on several Cabinet picks.

 

Rex Tillerson, State Nelson: No Rubio: Yes
Rex Tillerson, State
Nelson: No
Rubio: Yes

 

James Mattis, Defense Nelson: Yes Rubio: Yes
James Mattis, Defense
Nelson: Yes
Rubio: Yes

 

Jeff Sessions, Attorney General Nelson: Announced No Rubio: Announced Yes
Jeff Sessions, Attorney General
Nelson: Announced No
Rubio: Announced Yes

 

Elaine Chao, Transportation Nelson: Yes Rubio: Yes
Elaine Chao, Transportation
Nelson: Yes
Rubio: Yes
Betsy DeVos, Education Nelson: Announced No Rubio: Announced Yes
Betsy DeVos, Education
Nelson: Announced No
Rubio: Announced Yes
John Kelly, Homeland Security Nelson: Yes Rubio: Yes
John Kelly, Homeland Security
Nelson: Yes
Rubio: Yes
Mike Pompeo, CIA Nelson: No Rubio: Yes
Mike Pompeo, CIA
Nelson: No
Rubio: Yes
Nikki Haley, United Nations Nelson: Yes Rubio: Yes
Nikki Haley, United Nations
Nelson: Yes
Rubio: Yes

House Dems Deutch, Frankel blast Trump’s Gorsuch nomination

Democratic U.S. Reps. Ted Deutch (left) and Lois Frankel (right) have weighed in against President Donald Trump's nomination of Neil Gorsuch for the U.S. Supreme Court.
Democratic U.S. Reps. Ted Deutch (left) and Lois Frankel (right) have weighed in against President Donald Trump’s nomination of Neil Gorsuch for the U.S. Supreme Court.

The House of Representatives doesn’t have a say in confirming Supreme Court nominees, but two Palm Beach County Democrats — Reps. Lois Frankel of West Palm Beach and Ted Deutch of Boca Raton — want it known that they oppose President Donald Trump‘s pick of Neil Gorsuch for the high court.

 

The only Florida Democrat whose opinion matters, Sen. Bill Nelson, issued a statement Tuesday night calling for a “full examination” of Gorsuch’s record and the nominee’s responses to the queries of senators during the confirmation process.

 

Frankel put out a statement within 20 minutes of Trump’s announcement.

 

“The Republicans hijacked President Obama’s choice for the Supreme Court and now, sadly, President Trump is bowing to his more extreme supporters,” said Frankel on Tuesday night. “Based on his judicial record, Neil Gorsuch will tip a narrowly divided court in a dangerous direction. This nomination puts serious issues at stake, like a woman’s constitutional right to make her own personal health care choices, getting money out of our politics, and ending political gerrymandering. We need a Supreme Court Justice whose record reflects mainstream values and respect for the fundamental rights of all Americans.”

 

Deutch weighed in this morning, calling Gorsuch “an extreme right-wing ideologue.”

 

Deutch continued in a statement released by his office: “Judge Neil Gorsuch’s radical views on federal regulations fly in the face of long-standing Supreme Court precedent and will undermine crucial consumer protections, environmental protections, and labor safety protections. He sided with corporations in the Hobby Lobby decision defining them as people, giving corporations the right to deny women birth control in the name of religious belief. He has publicly attacked everyday Americans for seeking access to our nation’s courts to protect and support their individual rights. His rulings supporting the use of excessive force by law enforcement will be a step-back in our nation’s effort to reform the criminal justice system. And he has consistently sided with corporations and their interests while quashing the ability of employees to protect their rights in the workplace.

“If Mitch McConnell wanted to replace the late Justice Scalia with someone with equally or even more extreme views, he’s getting the pick he wanted. Judge Gorsuch’s far-right views fall so far outside the mainstream that he should not be confirmed for a lifetime appointment to the nation’s highest court.”

 

How much money in is Gov. Scott’s budget for transportation?

Gov. Rick Scott’s proposed budget, rolled out Tuesday morning, sets aside nearly $11 billion for transportation in the state for the coming year.

A Florida Department of Transportation news release lays out a bullet-pointed list of how the money would be spent, if state lawmakers give the budget the OK as-is:

• $4.1 billion for construction of highway projects
• $178.2 million in seaport infrastructure improvements
• $257.8 million for aviation improvements
• $300.8 million for scheduled repair of 61 bridges and replacement of 16 bridges
• $978.2 million for maintenance and operation
• $618 million for public transit development grants
• $175.6 million for safety initiatives
• $82.7 million for bike and pedestrian trails

Florida Gov. Rick Scott
Florida Gov. Rick Scott

“Gov. Scott’s transportation budget provides the record funding necessary to maintain and repair existing infrastructure and prepare for future growth,” said outgoing state Transportation Secretary Jim Boxold. “Florida’s roads, seaports, airports, railways and trails will continue to meet the growing needs of Florida’s families.”

Spotlighted in the FDOT news release: plans for $43.2 million for work on Southern Boulevard from the entrance of the new Arden community to Forest Hill Boulevard. The state plans to add one lane in either direction along the stretch of Southern, along with adding bike and pedestrian paths. Read more here about that project.

The budget does include some disclaimers on how the money can be spent, with specific instructions for the South Florida Regional Transportation Authority — which oversees Tri-Rail — and ports that might consider doing business with Cuba.