Bill Clinton expected in Palm Beach Saturday while Trump’s in town

Former President Bill Clinton and President Donald Trump will both be in Palm Beach on Saturday. (Damon Higgins & Allen Eyestone/The Palm Beach Post)
Former President Bill Clinton and President Donald Trump will both be in Palm Beach on Saturday. (Damon Higgins & Allen Eyestone/The Palm Beach Post)

PALM BEACH — Former President Bill Clinton is expected in town Saturday for a social gathering while President Donald Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe are at Mar-a-Lago.

 

Gregory Cox of The Palm Beach Daily News was first to report the Clinton visit here.

 

Clinton is expected to attend a wedding at The Breakers, about 3 miles north of Mar-a-Lago. There’s been no word on whether Hillary Clinton will be with him or whether the current and former presidents will meet.

Trump to leave Palm Beach, could be back soon with Japanese PM

President Donald Trump and his wife Melania are welcomed to Trump International Golf Club by the Palm Beach Central band. President Trump watched the Super Bowl at his club in West Palm Beach, Florida on February 5, 2017. (Allen Eyestone / The Palm Beach Post)
President Donald Trump and his wife Melania are welcomed to Trump International Golf Club by the Palm Beach Central band. President Trump watched the Super Bowl at his club in West Palm Beach, Florida on February 5, 2017. (Allen Eyestone / The Palm Beach Post)

 

PALM BEACH — After spending his first winter White House weekend at Mar-a-Lago, President Donald Trump is scheduled to depart from Palm Beach International Airport this morning for Tampa — but he could be back soon.

 

Trump spent Sunday golfing, watching the Super Bowl and being entertained by the Palm Beach Central High School marching band.

 

Trump could return to Palm Beach this weekend to play golf with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, according to CBS’s Mark Knoller and Japanese media. Trump and Abe are scheduled to meet in Washington on Friday.

 

Today, Trump will visit Tampa’s MacDill Air Force Base and the headquarters of U.S. Central Command and U.S. Special Operations Command.

 

Gov. Rick Scott is scheduled to meet with Trump in Tampa, Scott’s office said Sunday.

 

 

Moral equivalence watch: Rubio rips Trump on Putin comment

Donald Trump and Marco Rubio clashed over Russia and Vladimir Putin during the Republican presidential primaries.
Donald Trump and Marco Rubio clashed over Russia and Vladimir Putin during the Republican presidential primaries.

President Donald Trump‘s shrug at the description of Russian President Vladimir Putin as a “killer” drew a Twitter rebuke from Sen. Marco Rubio today.

 

In an advance clip of a Fox News interview set to air in full at 4 p.m. today, Bill O’Reilly described Putin as “a killer” after Trump said he respects the Russian leader and believes he can work with him on combating Islamic terrorism.

 

“There are a lot of killers,” Trump replied. “We’ve got a lot of killers. What, do you think our country is so innocent?”

Trump’s remark has drawn much criticism, including a morning tweet from Rubio, who accused Trump of being soft on Putin when they were Republican presidential rivals.

 

“When has a Democratic political activists been poisoned by the GOP, or vice versa? We are not the same as #Putin,” Rubio tweeted.

 

 

 

 

 

Trump in Palm Beach: Another golf course visit today

President Donald Trump's motorcade leaves Trump International Golf Club in West Palm Beach after an unscheduled round of golf Saturday in West Palm Beach. (Allen Eyestone / The Palm Beach Post)
President Donald Trump’s motorcade leaves Trump International Golf Club in West Palm Beach after an unscheduled round of golf Saturday in West Palm Beach. (Allen Eyestone / The Palm Beach Post)

 

PALM BEACH — President Donald Trump left Mar-a-Lago this morning for another visit to his Trump International Golf Club in unincorporated West Palm Beach.

 

Trump, who arrived Friday for a weekend at his “winter White House,” spent more than four hours at the golf course yesterday. The White House didn’t reveal who joined the president on the links.

 

Aside from golf, Trump filled his Saturday by attending the Red Cross Ball at his Mar-a-Lago Club, pledging to work for peace between Russia and Ukraine and tweeting his displeasure with the “so-called judge” who halted Trump’s travel ban. Meanwhile, across the Intracoastal Waterway in West Palm Beach, about 3,000 anti-Trump protesters marched down Flagler Drive.

 

Later today, the president is scheduled to talk on the phone with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg and New Zealand Prime Minister Bill English. He’ll return to Trump International Golf Club in the evening to watch the Super Bowl.

 

 

Trump’s Super Bowl Putin shrug: ‘We’ve got a lot of killers’

President Donald Trump and Bill O'Reilly of Fox News in an interview to air at 4 p.m. today.
President Donald Trump and Bill O’Reilly of Fox News in an interview to air at 4 p.m. today.

Before President Donald Trump watches the Super Bowl tonight from his Trump International Golf Club in West Palm Beach, he’ll appear in a 4 p.m. interview with Bill O’Reilly of Fox News.

 

The interview was taped at the White House last week and includes a segment in which O’Reilly asks Trump about getting along with Russia and its President Vladimir Putin.

According to a preview released by Fox News, O’Reilly asked Trump if he respects Putin.

“I do respect him, but I respect a lot of people,” Trump said, “That doesn’t mean I’m going to get along with him.”

Trump said Russia could help the U.S. in the fight against the Islamic State.

“He’s a killer though. Putin’s a killer,” O’Reilly said.

Said Trump: “There are a lot of killers. We’ve got a lot of killers. What do you think our country is so innocent?”

 

 

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.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.”

 

Trump’s Gorsuch nomination: Rubio applauds, Nelson vows ‘full examination’

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

It took about one minute for the Democratic National Committee to slam President Donald Trump‘s nomination of Judge Neil Gorsuch for the Supreme Court tonight.

 

Florida Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson, however, is holding fire.

 

“The confirmation of a Supreme Court justice is an awesome responsibility that I gladly accept. I will base my decision on a full examination of Judge Gorsuch’s judicial record and his responses to senators’ questions,” Nelson said a few minutes after Trump announced his selection of Gorsuch.

 

Republican Sen. Marco Rubio praised Trump’s choice.

 

“Judge Gorsuch is a highly qualified, mainstream jurist, which is why he was unanimously confirmed to the circuit court by the Senate in 2006,” said a Rubio statement. “By all accounts he has the right temperament and experience for the job, and I’m pleased to see him nominated to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court. Most importantly, he is committed to the principles of original intent and judicial restraint. This is critical, because too many in the federal judiciary today believe it is appropriate for judges to invent new policies and rights instead of interpreting and defending the Constitution as it is written.”

 

Nelson, who is up for re-election in 2018, has a mixed record on Republican nominations to the high court. He voted for President George W. Bush‘s nomination of John Roberts to be chief justice in 2005. Nelson voted against Bush’s nomination of Samuel Alito later that year.

 

Nelson voted in favor of President Barack Obama‘s nominations of Sonia Sotomayor in 2009 and Elena Kagan in 2010.

 

Nelson was a member of the Senate in 2006 when Gorsuch was confirmed by a voice vote for his seat on the 10th Circuit.

 

A potential Republican challenger of Nelson in 2018, Florida Gov. Rick Scott, tweeted his approval for Gorsuch in two languages.

 

“Great pick to the Supreme Court by President Trump!” Scott told his Twitter followers. A few minutes later, Scott tweeted the same message in Spanish.

 

Nelson can also expect pressure from the left to oppose Gorsuch. Leading liberal Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., announced  her opposition.

 

Rubio, elected in 2010, has never voted on a Supreme Court nominee. As a candidate, he opposed the Sotomayor and Kagan nominations in 2009 and 2010.

 

It has been nearly 6-1/2 years since the Senate confirmed Kagan in August 2010. The Republican-led Senate refused to consider President Barack Obama‘s nomination of Merrick Garland last year after conservative Justice Antonin Scalia died.

 

Twelve years separated Senate votes on Supreme Court nominees Gabriel Duvall (1811, at left) and Smith Thompson (1823).
Twelve years separated Senate votes on Supreme Court nominees Gabriel Duvall (1811, at left) and Smith Thompson (1823).

According to U.S. Senate records, the longest period between Senate confirmation votes on a Supreme Court justice was 12 years between President James Madison’s 1811 nomination of Gabriel Duvall and President James Monroe‘s 1823 nomination of Smith Thompson.

 

The second-longest drought was the 11 years that separated the 1994 confirmation of Stephen Breyer, a nominee of President Bill Clinton, and the 2005 confirmation of Roberts.

 

 

The last Supreme Court nominee to be rejected was Robert Bork, a nominee of President Ronald Reagan, in 1987.

 

 

Anti-Trump protesters aim to be ‘the left-wing tea party’

Jen Erickson of Jupiter criticizes President Donald Trump, his Cabinet picks Jeff Sessions and Betsy DeVos and his immigration policies while praising fired Acting Attorney General Sally Yates in a single sign aimed at drivers on PGA Boulevard.
Jen Erickson of Jupiter criticizes President Donald Trump, his Cabinet picks Jeff Sessions and Betsy DeVos and his immigration policies while praising fired Acting Attorney General Sally Yates in a single sign aimed at drivers on PGA Boulevard.

PALM BEACH GARDENS  — Aspiring to be the liberal answer to the tea party movement, dozens of demonstrators showed up outside Sen. Marco Rubio‘s office this morning to protest President Donald Trump‘s Cabinet picks and his executive order halting travel from seven nations.

 

Robb Allan of Palm Beach, left, helped organize today's demonstration and said he's hoping to be part of "the left-wing tea party" in opposition to President Donald Trump.
Robb Allan of Palm Beach, left, helped organize today’s demonstration and said he’s hoping to be part of “the left-wing tea party” in opposition to President Donald Trump.

About 60 people were waving signs along PGA Boulevard at 10:30 a.m. Some of them met with a Rubio staffer to express their concerns.

 

Their signs targeted at least six of Trump’s Cabinet nominees, White House senior adviser Steve Bannon and Trump’s executive order halting refugee admissions to the U.S. and visits from Iraq, Syria, Iran, Sudan, Libya, Somalia and Yemen.

 

Robb Allan, an investor from Palm Beach, helped organize the event as part of a group called Indivisibles. Amanda Kopacz of Boynton Beach also helped organize through a group called Florida Action Network, which she said recently changed its name from Rise Up because other groups were already using that name.

 

This demonstrator asks Sen. Marco Rubio to vote against six of President Donald Trump's Cabinet nominees.
This demonstrator asks Sen. Marco Rubio to vote against six of President Donald Trump’s Cabinet nominees.

Both described this morning’s demonstration as part of a national effort put together by MoveOn.org and other groups.

 

“These groups are starting everywhere spontaneously and we’re all just beginning to discover each other and participate,” said Allan.

 

“All of this for us is an outgrowth of a handbook that was written by a group of congressional staffers right after the election about how to be the left-wing tea party,” Allan said.

 

 

 

Trump expected to fulfill pledge to conservatives on Supreme Court

Speaking at a Palm Beach County GOP dinner at his Mar-a-Lago Club in March 2016, Donald Trump promised to list potential Supreme Court picks to assuage conservative doubts. (Daniel Owen/The Palm Beach Post)
Speaking at a Palm Beach County GOP dinner at his Mar-a-Lago Club in March 2016, Donald Trump promised to list potential Supreme Court picks to assuage conservative doubts. (Daniel Owen/The Palm Beach Post)

Whether it was his past support for universal health care, abortion rights and impeaching George W. Bush or his 2016 trade protectionism and NATO questioning, conservatives had their doubts about Donald Trump as he sought the presidency.

But part-time Palm Beach resident Trump was able to prevent defections from the GOP base by promising to nominate conservatives to the Supreme Court and even pledging in a Palm Beach speech to release a list of potential nominees for scrutiny.

 

When leading Never Trump figure Rick Wilson tried to persuade conservatives to leave Trump in favor of independent Evan McMullin, Trump’s Supreme Court pledge proved to be an obstacle.

 

“The Supreme Court was a value-added for Donald Trump that turned skeptical Republicans into at least tolerant Republicans of Trump. It was something we saw turn up in focus groups over and over and over again,” said Wilson.

 

Now Trump appears ready to honor his pledge to conservatives when he names a Supreme Court appointee this week.

 

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