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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
President Donald Trump this morning is accusing The New York Times of “a big lie” in its depiction of Wednesday’s White House ceremony honoring the Super Bowl champion New England Patriots.
Patriots owner Robert Kraft and coach Bill Bellichick are regulars at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago Club in Palm Beach. Before his daily national security briefing at the White House, Trump fired off a tweet ripping the “failing” publication, which he said “just got caught in a big lie concerning New England Patriots visit to W.H.”
Failing @nytimes, which has been calling me wrong for two years, just got caught in a big lie concerning New England Patriots visit to W.H.
The Times’ Twitter account for its sports section tweeted photos of Wednesday’s gathering on the South Lawn of the White House and a much more crowded picture of the team’s 2015 appearance when Barack Obama was president.
The team responded on its Twitter account a few hours later that the Times’ photos “lack context” because the 2015 picture includes more than 40 staff while staff were seated on the South Lawn for the latest pic.
These photos lack context. Facts: In 2015, over 40 football staff were on the stairs. In 2017, they were seated on the South Lawn. https://t.co/iIYtV0hR6Y
While some players stated they were skipping the Trump event for political reasons, the team suggested that because it has won two Super Bowls in three seasons, the lack of novelty of a White House visit might have kept some players away.
In 2004, when another Patriots squad won its second Super Bowl in three seasons, only 36 players showed up after more than 50 had turned out in 2002. Both those visits were when George W. Bush was president.
The Times also added a correction to a story about the gathering, writing: “An earlier version of this article included photos comparing the size of the Patriots’ gathering at the White House in 2015 and the gathering on Wednesday. The photo from Wednesday only showed players and coaches; the 2015 photo showed players, coaches and support staff and has been removed.”
The federally operated dike was built in the 1960s as an expanded form of levees and dams that had been put in place over the previous decades to protect nearby residents from devastating flooding that ensued each time a hurricane hit the lake. It has undergone many rounds of repairs ranging from minor to more intensive.
Speaking to members of the Florida Legislature in a news conference on Monday, Scott said he was “tired of waiting” for a solution to issues stemming from Lake Okeechobee’s nutrient-rich waters, including algae blooms that have plagued the St. Lucie River in Martin County and the Caloosahatchee River to the lake’s west. Scott also noted Monday that he had spoken to members of Trump’s administration about the dike and needed repairs.
Lawmakers, including state Sen. Joe Negron, R-Stuart, have expressed reservations about Scott’s proposal, saying the state should not have to foot the bill for something the federal government should cover.
“I want to make sure we do not spend hundreds of millions of dollars of (state) general revenue funds on what is unquestionably a federal responsibility,” Negron said in a statement issued Monday.
Here are Scott’s comments on his conversation with Trump, via today’s news release:
“Today, I spoke with President Trump on the importance of fixing the federally operated Herbert Hoover Dike and he committed that his administration would help provide the resources to do that. President Trump is clearly focused on protecting Florida’s environment and investing in our infrastructure, and I want to thank him for partnering with us to solve the water issues around Lake Okeechobee by fixing the dike.
“While I called on President Obama multiple times throughout his administration to step up and fulfill the federal government’s funding commitment to fixing the dike, it never happened. Today, President Trump is fighting for Florida’s families and this news is a big win for our state. My goal is for the dike to be completely repaired by 2022, and I look forward to continuing to work with the Trump Administration to complete this important project. With this commitment from the president, I hope that the Florida Legislature will immediately allocate $200 million in the budget they send me to help fix the dike.”
UPDATE: Gov. Rick Scott visited the White House this morning as President Donald Trump signed the Veteran’s Choice Program Extension and Improvement Act.
Scott joined Trump and more than a dozen other officials for the signing in the Roosevelt Room.
The measure allows veterans to seek care from non-VA providers. “The veterans have poured out their sweat and blood and tears for this country for so long, and it’s time that they are recognized and it’s time that we now take care of them and take care of them properly,” Trump said, according to a pool report.
“My father served in WWII and I proudly served in the United States Navy and I appreciate President Trump’s commitment to our military and our veterans,” Scott said in a news release following the bill signing. “I was honored to join him today as he signed this important bill for our veterans.”
EARLIER STORY: Florida Gov. Rick Scott — a not-unfamiliar White House guest and dining companion of President Donald Trump — is in Washington, D.C., again today to attend the 11:30 a.m. signing by the president of the Veterans Choice Program Extension and Improvement Act.
Scott also has a 12:30 p.m. meeting with Secretary of Veterans Affairs David Shulkin.
Joining Scott today is retired Army Lt. Col. Glenn Sutphin, the executive director of Florida’s Department of Veterans Affairs.
Scott also has a 2 p.m. meeting with Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney and a 3:15 meeting with U.S. Army Corps of Engineers officials.
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.
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.”
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
But a McDonald’s hamburger was not on the menu last Thursday as Xi and his wife, Peng Liyuan, dined at Mar-a-Lago with President Trump as part of a summit between the two leaders and top-ranking officials from both countries.
In an exclusive interview with The Palm Beach Post this morning, Bradshaw said that with the latest costs, his agency has racked up about $3.5 million in total expenditures since Trump’s November victory.
Said Trump in a statement released this afternoon: “Today’s chemical attack in Syria against innocent people, including women and children, is reprehensible and cannot be ignored by the civilized world. These heinous actions by the Bashar al-Assad regime are a consequence of the past administration’s weakness and irresolution. President Obama said in 2012 that he would establish a ‘red line’ against the use of chemical weapons and then did nothing. The United States stands with our allies across the globe to condemn this intolerable attack.”
Obama famously declared in 2012 that Syria’s use of chemical weapons would be a “red line for us.” When Syrian President Bashar Assad used chemical weapons against its own citizens a year later, the U.S. did not take military action after Assad agreed to destroy his chemical weapons stockpile.
During the 2013 debate over whether the U.S. should take military action, private citizen Trump weighed in against the idea on Twitter.
“President Obama, do not attack Syria. There is no upside and tremendous downside. Save your ‘powder’ for another (and more important) day!” Trump tweeted on Sept. 7, 2013.
President Obama, do not attack Syria. There is no upside and tremendous downside. Save your "powder" for another (and more important) day!