Bill Nelson: ‘Huge mistake’ if Trump pulls out of Paris climate accord

Sen. Bill Nelson discussing the Paris climate agreement in his West Palm Beach office today. (George Bennett/The Palm Beach Post)

Democratic Florida Sen. Bill Nelson says it would be a “huge mistake” if President Donald Trump pulls the U.S. out of the Paris climate agreement.

“That will be a huge mistake – 197 countries signed that agreement, albeit a voluntary agreement. What we’re trying to do is save the planet from getting so heated up that there’s no return,” Nelson told reporters in his West Palm Beach office.

Nelson said the U.S. “sets the example for the rest of the world” on reducing greenhouse gas emissions and influences China and other emerging economies.

“If the United States is not doing its part, they’re not going to do it and that means that ultimately the earth will heat up and the east coast and west coast of Florida, sea level rise will start over the course of this century to rise another 2 to 3 feet. I don’t think we want that to happen,” Nelson said.

If Trump does withdraw from the agreement, Nelson said, “I’d want the people of Florida to rise up and demand of their elected representatives, at both the state level and the local level, to insist that we abide by the voluntary standards that came out of the Paris accords.”

Critics of the climate pact say it hurts the U.S. economy and costs jobs.

But Nelson countered that sea level rise could be devastating to Florida.

“The additional cost is, you’ve got to measure that against the cost down the road that is irreversible, that the sea continues to rise and completely absorbs our coast,” Nelson said.

Florida governor’s race: Who are all these people?

Here are 21 of the declared or potential 2018 candidates for Florida governor. How many can you name? Hint: they’re arranged in alphabetical order and one announced candidate isn’t included because PostOnPolitcs couldn’t track down a photo.

With Republican Gov. Rick Scott facing term limits next year, 18 candidates have opened campaigns so far for the 2018 Florida governor’s race.

The Florida Division of Elections list of active candidates for governor.

At least four other prominent figures are considering campaigns.

Click here for an early look at some of the major declared and potential candidates. But keep in mind that such a list eight years ago probably wouldn’t have included Scott, the political neophyte who didn’t open his self-financed campaign until April 2010.

So far there are nine Republicans, six Democrats, a Libertarian and two no-party candidates who have opened campaigns.

The deadline for candidates to qualify for the ballot is nearly 13 months away — June 22, 2018. Primaries are Aug. 28, 2018 and the general election is Nov. 6, 2018.



Donald Trump responds to Kathy Griffin — and ‘covfefe’

The typo that sparked a social media sensation.

President Donald Trump told Twitter followers this morning that celebrity Trump-hater Kathy Griffin “should be ashamed of herself” for appearing in a gruesome video with what appeared to be Trump’s severed head.

Part-time Palm Beach resident Trump also poked fun at the overnight Twitter sensation caused by his mysterious “covfefe” tweet.

Shortly after midnight, Trump tweeted “Despite the constant negative covfefe” — and then left the Twitterverse hanging.

The tweet was later deleted.

This morning, shortly after 6 a.m., Trump tweeted: “Who can figure out the true meaning of ‘covfefe’??? Enjoy!”

Later in the morning, Trump took aim at Griffin, who has apologized for the severed-head video.

“Kathy Griffin should be ashamed of herself. My children, especially my 11 year old son, Barron, are having a hard time with this. Sick!”

Griffin’s video drew bipartisan condemnation. Chelsea Clinton was among the critics.

“This is vile and wrong. It is never funny to joke about killing a president,” the daughter of Trump’s 2016 opponent Hillary Clinton tweeted Tuesday.

Report: Jeb Bush drops effort to buy Marlins

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

Former Florida Gov. and unsuccessful 2016 Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush has ended his efforts to buy the Miami Marlins, according to an Associated Press report this afternoon.

Derek Jeter during the 2003 World Series. (Allen Eyestone/The Palm Beach Post)

Bush and Yankee legend Derek Jeter were part of a group trying to buy the team.

It wasn’t the first pairing of a Bush family member and a Yankee icon. In 1948, George H.W. Bush met Hall of Fame slugger Babe Ruth at Yale when Bush was captain of Yale’s baseball squad.

Click here for more on the multi-generational ties between the Bush family and baseball.

Jeter remains interested in being part of a Marlins ownership group, the AP reports.

Former State Attorney Michael McAuliffe seeks comeback

Michael McAuliffe as state attorney in 2012. (Damon Higgins/The Palm Beach Post)

Former Palm Beach County State Attorney Michael McAuliffe, who left office to take a private sector job before completing his term in 2012, is seeking a return to public office as a Circuit Court judge.

McAuliffe announced today he’s running for the Group 13 seat held by Judge David French, who is not expected to seek re-election in 2018.

McAuliffe was elected state attorney as a Democrat in 2008 and opened a 2012 re-election campaign in 2011. But in January 2012, amid expectations that Dave Aronberg would challenge McAuliffe in a Democratic primary, McAuliffe announced he would not seek re-election and would take a job with West Palm Beach-based Oxbow Carbon, which trades in carbon and industrial products and is headed by Palm Beach billionaire Bill Koch. A few days later, McAuliffe announced that he would leave office before completing his term.

Aronberg ended up running for state attorney and winning in 2012, then getting re-elected without opposition in 2016.

McAuliffe resigned as Oxbow’s general counsel in 2016. He has been doing some consulting and recently joined a West Palm Beach law firm, consultant Rick Asnani said.

McAuliffe’s wife, Robin Rosenberg, was elected to the Circuit Court without opposition in 2006 and served there until 2014, when she was confirmed for a federal judgeship.

“Public service has always been an important part of my life.  I wish to continue to serve the residents of Palm Beach County and that is why I have decided to run for Circuit Judge, Group 13,” Michael McAuliffe said in a release by his campaign today.


Will pro-Adam Putnam committee add another $1 million in May?

Republican Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam rolling out his 2018 campaign for governor in Bartow on May 10. (George Bennett/The Palm Beach Post)

An already cash-flush committee supporting Republican Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam‘s 2018 bid for governor raised nearly $800,000 during the first 24 days of May, according to the committee’s website.

Putnam formally opened his campaign for governor on May 1 and is hoping strong early fundraising numbers will dissuade potential GOP primary rivals — such as House Speaker Richard Corcoran, R-Land-O’Lakes, and state Sen. Jack Latvala, R-Clearwater — from getting into the governor’s race.

Click here to read an early preview of the 2018 Florida governor’s race.

Some of the actual or potential 2018 candidates for Florida governor. Top, from left: Republican Richard Corcoran, Democrats Andrew Gillum, Gwen Graham, Chris King. Bottom, from left: Republican Jack Latvala, Democrat Philip Levine, Republican Adam Putnam, Democrat John Morgan.

The Florida Grown political committee, formed in 2015 just after Putnam was re-elected ag commissioner and viewed as a vehicle for his gubernatorial ambitions, has raised more than $11.3 million and began May with $8.2 million in cash on hand.

Candidates and committees file monthly reports with the Florida Division of Elections. But committees are also required to maintain websites and report contributions within five days of receiving them.

With money from the final week of May still waiting to be logged in, Florida Grown could top $1 million for the month. The committee received more than $2 million in February and more than $1 million in March.

Florida Grown’s May contributions included a $221,237 gift on May 23 from the SSLP Political Committee, which is headed by Putnam’s 2014 campaign treasurer, Venice accountant Eric Robinson.

SSLP’s largest donor was the Florida Phosphate Political Committee, which gave $100,000 in late 2014.

SSLP gave $10,000 to Jeb Bush‘s Right To Rise PAC in 2015. After Bush dropped out of the 2016 presidential race, Right To Rise gave $1,171 back to SSLP. SSLP closed out its account last week by giving all its remaining money to Florida Grown.

Too early? 2018 Florida governor’s race is well underway

Some of the actual or potential 2018 candidates for Florida governor. Top, from left: Republican Richard Corcoran, Democrats Andrew Gillum, Gwen Graham, Chris King. Bottom, from left: Republican Jack Latvala, Democrat Philip Levine, Republican Adam Putnam, Democrat John Morgan.

With primaries still 15 months away and the general election 17 months off in a state that has a history of upending early conventional wisdom, most Florida voters haven’t begun to focus on the 2018 governor’s race.

But the campaign is well underway.

With Republican Gov. Rick Scott facing term limits, nine Republicans and six Democrats — most of them political unknowns — have formally opened campaigns. A Libertarian and two no-party candidates have also filed 2018 paperwork with the Florida Division of Elections. And more potential candidates are giving the race a look.

Click here to read an early preview of the Republican and Democratic primary fields.


Donald Trump’s back-in-the-U.S.A. Twitter storm

President Donald Trump works his phone after finishing a round of golf at Trump International Golf Club in West Palm Beach in February. (Allen Eyestone / The Palm Beach Post)

Back in the U.S.A. after an eight-day, five-nation trip, President Donald Trump is reviving his old Twitter habits.

The president has weighed in this morning on anonymous leaks and “fake news” and Thursday’s Republican win in a special election in Montana for a U.S. House seat.

Trump tweeted during his overseas trip, but it was fairly conventional stuff.

The Twitter window into the president’s immediate thoughts could be closing soon. The Wall Street Journal reported Friday that the White House is considering having Trump’s tweets vetted by a team of lawyers to head off controversies.

Here’s a look at today’s pre-9 a.m. tweets by the president:



Kasich talks a little Trump, a lot of Nixon at Forum Club

Ohio Gov. John Kasich signing a copy of his book after speaking at a Forum Club of the Palm Beaches lunch. (George Bennett/The Palm Beach Post)

WEST PALM BEACH — Ohio Gov. John Kasich weighed in on his former GOP presidential nomination rival Donald Trump at a Forum Club of the Palm Beaches lunch on Friday — but he spent more time talking about a pair of encounters he had with former President Richard Nixon.

Kasich, promoting his new book before a sellout crowd of about 700 at the Kravis Center, told the story of how his persistence as an Ohio State University freshman in 1970 led to him getting a meeting with Nixon in the Oval Office.

December 1970: President Richard Nixon and an 18-year-old John Kasich in the Oval Office.

Promised five minutes with the president, Kasich said the meeting ended up lasting longer.

“The good news is as an 18-year-old I spent 20 minutes in the Oval Office with the president of the United States,” Kasich said. “The bad news is I spent 18 years in Congress and if you add up all the time I spent in the Oval Office, I peaked out at 18.”

Kasich called the Nixon anecdote “a good story for young people because it means dream big. For all of us, dream big, keep asking, just keep doing what you want to do until somebody tells you it’s impossible and then don’t believe that.”

Asked about Trump during a question-and-answer session, Kasich noted that he didn’t endorse Trump in 2016 or attend the Republican National Convention, even though it was in Kasich’s home state.

“I didn’t do that because I was mad about something,” Kasich said of his refusal to back his party’s nominee. “It’s just that I’m not going to support people who are putting people down or being negative or not bringing us together. Now that he’s president, of course I root for him as much as I can, just like I rooted for the pilot on the airplane that brought me to Florida. I want them to be successful.”

As the question segment was winding down, Forum Club President Michelle McGovern told Kasich, “We have at least five people who want to know about your conversation with Nixon.”

So Kasich told the audience about a second conversation he had with Nixon in 1987. Kasich was a House member then and both his parents had just been killed by a drunk driver.

When he told Nixon about losing his parents, Kasich said, “His reaction was amazing. It was like he had been shot. It hit him like a ton of bricks.

“I said, ‘My sister is really struggling. Could you send her a note?’ And he wrote her a handwritten two-page letter that will be put in the Nixon Library at some point. It was just so amazing. And that’s a side of him that we don’t hear about.”


Trump hails ‘great win in Montana’ as apologetic body-slammer goes to Washington

President Donald Trump applauds Thursday night’s Montana victory by Republican Greg Gianforte. (Trump official White House portrait; Gianforte by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

President Donald Trump is overseas on a five-nation tour, but he’s tuned in to politics back home.

“Great win in Montana,” Trump told reporters in Italy today without being asked, according to pool reports. The president was reacting to Thursday night’s special U.S. House election win in Big Sky Country by Republican Greg Gianforte.

Gianforte faces misdemeanor assault charges after reporter Ben Jacobs of The Guardian says the Republican “body-slammed” him when he tried to ask him a question Wednesday night. Gianforte apologized to the reporter in his victory speech Thursday night.

“When you make a mistake, you have to own up to it,” Gianforte told his supporters at his election night rally in Bozeman. “That’s the Montana way.”

Saying he was “not proud” of his behavior, he added, “I should not have responded the way I did. For that I’m sorry. I should not have treated that reporter that way, and for that I’m sorry, Mr. Ben Jacobs.”

As is often the case with special elections, the statewide Montana race (Montana, with fewer registered voters than Palm Beach County, has only one at-large U.S. House district) was viewed by many as an early referendum on Trump’s presidency. Trump won Montana by 20.6 percent over Hillary Clinton in November. But Montana isn’t a uniformly red state. While Trump was cruising to victory, Gianforte lost the governor’s race by 3.4 points to Democrat Steve Bullock.