In Remarks at CPAC, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis Slams “Failed Republican Establishment”

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis (R) slammed the “failed Republican establishment” in remarks at the Conservation Political Action Conference (CPAC).

“Florida’s leading on the issues that matter to conservatives,” DeSantis said. “We don’t spout hollow rhetoric. We take decisive action.” He referred to Florida as “an oasis of freedom” and praised his administration’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic. read more

Orlando Sentinel Criticizes DeSantis After He Blames the Unemployed for State’s Failure to Pay Benefits

The Orlando Sentinel‘s editorial board criticized Florida Governor Ron DeSantis after he blamed the high number of unemployed people for the state’s failure to pay unemployment benefits.

DeSantis made the remarks in response to a reporter’s question about delays that have affected individuals who first applied for unemployment in March.

“I can tell you that DEO goes through this, and nine times out of 10 the application’s incomplete. And I think if you have complied in that time period, and your application’s complete, and you qualify, I think 99.99% of those folks have been paid,” DeSantis said at the time.

His statements prompted a rebuke from the Sentinel: “As if getting laid off isn’t scary enough, as if getting put through the unemployment wringer isn’t humiliating and frustrating enough, Gov. Ron DeSantis has decided to start blaming the jobless for the state’s failure to pay benefits,” the editorial board wrote.

“In other words, the governor thinks the vast majority of the hundreds of thousands of people who still haven’t received unemployment benefits to pay for rent and food have only themselves to blame. User error,” they continued. “Not a state unemployment system that was designed to fail and frustrate workers who find themselves out of a job through no fault of their own. A system that, in the year 2020, is asking people to fax information.”

The editorial board goes on to say that it empathizes with DeSantis and his frustration, noting that he “is taking a lot of heat for an albatross he inherited from former Gov. Rick Scott.”

“But we’ve reached a new level of tone-deafness when responsibility is shifted from the state to the citizens who desperately need benefits they’re entitled to,” they say, later concluding that DeSantis:

…probably is right that many of those who haven’t been paid were deemed ineligible to receive unemployment for one reason or another. What’s mystifying is how DeSantis, knowing better than anyone how lousy and glitchy the state’s system is, can be so confident those people truly are not eligible.

This was a bad moment for the governor. People are hurting. They’re scared. They’re broke. But DeSantis gets peevish, and sounds like he’s totally over answering questions about unemployment benefits. read more

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis Refers to His State as “God’s Waiting Room” for Seniors

Republican Florida Governor Ron DeSantis called his state “God’s waiting room” for senior citizens during a coronavirus briefing.

“Florida is ground zero for the nursing home, we’re God’s waiting room,” DeSantis said. “We have a huge number of facilities, a huge number of residents.”

When he noted that the city of Orlando has 68 COVID-19 patients currently hospitalized, he described the number as “probably a two-hour stretch in Brooklyn” in a jab at the large number of fatalities in New York City.

“If you go back six weeks, there were people saying that Florida was going to be another New York or another Italy,” DeSantis said. “Those have all been proven to be false. Florida’s performed better than anyone predicted.”

You can watch DeSantis’s remarks in the video below.

People over the age of 60 make up roughly 28 percent of Florida’s population. Seniors are also especially vulnerable to the coronavirus, which according to the most up-to-date statistics, has claimed at least 1,074 lives in the state. Florida has currently recorded 31,528 coronavirus cases.

On Saturday, DeSantis said he is in no rush to lift restrictions on business operations in the wake of the pandemic. Although restrictions expire on April 30, it seems he will extend social distancing requirements through May.

“We’re not doing in-person sports yet, no matter what. That’s just not going to happen in May,” he said. “Another thing in Phase 1, they say movie theaters with social distancing, I’m not there yet on the movie theaters. I think it is an enclosed environment (and) you are much better off being outdoors then in an enclosed environment — that’s just a reality.”

GOP’s Florida Debacle Raises Question: Will Coronavirus Change the Way Americans Think About Unemployment?

Americans enduring unemployment have typically, in the culture of the U.S. political economy, not been responded to with sympathy but rather with disdain, judgment, and blame.

And this has been true, we see, even when the nation has faced conditions of great economic austerity, begging the question, how can we blame people for not working when there is a scarcity of jobs? read more

Former FDA Commissioner Urges Republican Governors to Be ‘More Aggressive’ Against Coronavirus

Former FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb has called on Texas and Florida to do more to contain the spread of Covid-19. Dr. Gottlieb told CNBC that the states’ governors needed to take action.

“I think the real wild card here and the decision point on whether or not we’re gonna have the bad outcome that Dr. Fauci and Dr. Birx talked about is what populous states like Texas and Florida do,” he said.

“[They] really haven’t taken aggressive steps even now,” Gottlieb said.

“They’re large states, they have large urban areas that have very dense populations and if they don’t get more aggressive, then we could be on the cusp of some of these bad outcomes.”

Gottlieb said Texas and Florida should act ‘very aggressively right now’ in order to keep the number of infections low.

He went on to explain how the federal government had limited authority to impose restrictions on states.

Watch the video:

Dr. Scott Gottlieb says he’s worried that large states like Florida and Texas have not been aggressive enough in combatting the coronavirus outbreak. “I don’t understand why those governors have not acted more forcefully.” read more

Trump Won’t Use Disaster Funds For His Wall After All

The Trump administration is backing off its plan to use disaster relief funding to build a Mexican border wall due to pushback from members of both parties in Congress.

Officials in the White House told news outlets on Thursday that President Trump is considering the use of billions of dollars of Army Corps of Engineers funding to build his unpopular border wall, which has been deemed to be unnecessary and ineffective.

The Corps of Engineers funding was originally allocated by Congress for states and territories suffering from storm or wildfire damage but has not yet been spent. The affected areas are Puerto Rico, Florida, Texas, and California.

Trump came up with the idea as a way for him to avoid the need to obtain the approval of Congress in order to build his border wall.

On Friday, after additional pushback and complaints from conservatives in Congress — as well as the Wall Street Journal — Trump said he’s “not looking” to declare a national emergency for the border wall right now.

Trump’s allies in Congress had denied that he is planning to divert disaster funding for the wall.

“I’ve spoken directly with the White House,” Texas Rep. Kevin Brady, the ranking member on the House Ways and Means Committee, said in a tweet.

Trump, he wrote, “Fully supports Corps funding to help Harvey communities rebuild/prevent future flooding.”

Brady is referring to 2017’s Hurricane Harvey in Houston, which inflicted $125 billion in damage, primarily from flooding. Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, also said Friday he opposes “any reprogramming of Harvey disaster funds.”

Basically what happened is that Trump and his advisers backtracked on the idea of diverting disaster funding after outcries from Republicans in the affected states.

For Trump to diverting disaster funding would mean real harm to many communities that are still recovering from storms and wildfires. It would also set an undesirable precedent for presidential use of money appropriated by Congress. It might also be unconstitutional, and would be subjected to legal challenges.

“This is weaponizing disaster assistance funding,” Craig Fugate, the former administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, said. “It’s using it for purposes to extract concessions or force issues that have nothing to do with a disaster.”

On Friday several state governors criticized Trump’s planned move, saying it would make their states more vulnerable.

For example, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, a conservative and Trump supporter, said he is against using hurricane funding for a Mexican border wall. Florida is still recovering from several hurricanes in the past few years, including Hurricane Michael, which hit the state in October and caused at least 60 deaths.

Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rossello, still suffering from the devastating impacts of Hurricane Maria in 2017, said:

“No wall should be funded on the pain and suffering of U.S. citizens who have endured tragedy and loss through a natural disaster.” read more

Trump Continues Bogus Florida Fraud Claims, Says Recounts Should Stop

President Donald Trump declared that “an honest vote count is no longer possible” in the controversial Florida midterm elections for the state’s governor and U.S. Senate positions. The president is now claiming (with no evidence) that many of the ballots are “missing or forged.”

Trump tweeted:

“The Florida Election should be called in favor of Rick Scott and Ron DeSantis in that large numbers of new ballots showed up out of nowhere, and many ballots are missing or forged. An honest vote count is no longer possible-ballots massively infected. Must go with Election Night!”

The Florida Election should be called in favor of Rick Scott and Ron DeSantis in that large numbers of new ballots showed up out of nowhere, and many ballots are missing or forged. An honest vote count is no longer possible-ballots massively infected. Must go with Election Night! read more

Gillum Responds to Trump: ‘I’m Stealing Hearts and Minds’

It’s possible that Andrew Gillum is the biggest surprise of the 2018 midterm election season.

Very few people thought he could win a crowded Democratic primary for Florida’s governor, yet he did.

Very few people think that a true liberal progressive who endorses all of the positions of Bernie Sanders can be elected governor of a Deep South state, but he might.

Since his shocking win against four other prominent and well-funded Florida Democrats in the August 28 primary Gillum has been leading his Republican opponent Ron DeSantis in almost every poll.

It seems that there is just something about the charismatic 39 year-old African American mayor of Tallahassee that people just like — and respect.

In recent days Gillum has also had the opportunity to demonstrate his poise and his leadership skills in the face of blistering attacks from the President of the United States.

DeSantis was hand-picked by Trump, and he has taken all the credit for the young congressman’s victory in the GOP primary. So if DeSantis loses it will be seen as a clear slap in the face for the president.

In his desperate attempts to prevent that from happening Trump has taken to Twitter to make ludicrous and outrageous charges against Gillum.

In the worst of these tweets Trump wrote:

In Florida there is a choice between a Harvard/Yale educated man named @RonDeSantisFL who has been a great Congressman and will be a great Governor – and a Dem who is a thief and who is Mayor of poorly run Tallahassee, said to be one of the most corrupt cities in the Country!”

In Florida there is a choice between a Harvard/Yale educated man named @RonDeSantisFL who has been a great Congressman and will be a great Governor – and a Dem who is a thief and who is Mayor of poorly run Tallahassee, said to be one of the most corrupt cities in the Country! read more

Racist Republican Ron DeSantis Spoke at Extremist Gatherings For Years

The Washington Post reported Sunday that Florida’s GOP candidate for governor, Ron DeSantis, spoke four different times at a conference organized by an extreme right-wing activist and attended by controversial conservative figures.

The Post article said that DeSantis attended conferences at the David Horowitz Freedom Center in 2013, 2015, 2016 and 2017. He has been in Congress six years and has often promoted right-wing causes. He is known to be a huge supporter of Donald Trump’s policies and receives financial support from the Koch Brothers Network.

Horowitz is an extremely controversial and outspoken figure who has always promoted a point of view that is considered racially divisive. He has often been quoted saying that in the United States, the “only serious race war” is against whites. He is also has been called an Islamaphobe, and has espoused anti-Islam views for many years.

Due to his wildly extremist views Horowitz has been thrown off Twitter and had his ability to receive donations blocked by Visa and Mastercard.

Other extreme right-wing speakers at the Horowitz conferences have included former White House chief strategist Stephen Bannon, right-wing provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos and far-right Dutch politician Geert Wilders, all of whom are famous for their white-supremacist points of view.

This latest revelation about DeSantis assures that the topic of race will continue to be an issue in the upcoming Florida gubernatorial contest between DeSantis and Democrat Andrew Gillum, who is black.

Last month DeSantis provoked outrage when he urged Florida voters to vote against Gillum, using a racially charged phrase. He said voters should not “monkey this up by trying to embrace a socialist agenda with huge tax increases and bankrupting the state.”

The comment was immediately criticized as being racially insensitive and provocative, and even Fox News told DeSantis he should apologize. But the current congressman from Florida’s sixth congressional district downplayed the criticism, saying his comments had “zero to do with race.”

Then, a few days after that, Gillum was the target of a

racist robocall read more

DeSantis’ Running Mate said ‘Trump is the biggest con-man there is’

Ron DeSantis, who on August 28th won the Republican nomination for governor of Florida, is getting off to a rough start, much to the delight of his Democratic opponents in the Sunshine State. It turns out that his lieutenant governor running mate once tweeted that “Trump is the biggest conman there is,” according to Florida’s Sun-Sentinel newspapers.

DeSantis is currently a Member of Congress from Florida’s 6th Congressional District, but he has never had any tough competition and never had to campaign very hard to get elected. He also is my Congressman, and I know what a horrible job he has done in Congress for his constituents, and what a horrible governor he would be for Florida. (For the record, he receives most of his financial backing from the Koch Brothers and their donor network.)

DeSantis won the GOP nomination by sucking up to Donald Trump as much as possible. He made a disgusting TV ad where he used his young children as props as he taught them how to build a wall with toy blocks while he read excerpts to them from one of Trump’s books.

After winning the nomination by being the most pro-Trump candidate, he immediately went full-blown racist on his African American opponent, Andrew Gillum, the current mayor of Tallahassee.  He said that electing Gillum would “monkey up” the state of Florida.

In addition to that it has now been revealed that “Rubber Stamp Ron” (his nickname for approving all of Trump’s agenda) has been an administrator of a white nationalist Facebook group. This has allowed him to show his true racist colors for all the world to see. In short, he is a confirmed racist, and doesn’t even try to hide it, which he thinks will help him win the governorship of a deep South state.

But two

recent polls read more

Neo-Nazis Use Racist Robocalls to Attack Andrew Gillum

Racism is already tainting the Florida governor’s race after African American candidate Andrew Gillum won the Democratic primary on Tuesday.

Voters in Tallahassee are now receiving robocalls against Gillum that are being paid for by a neo-Nazi group in Idaho.

Gillum’s GOP opponent, Ron DeSantis, started the campaign off on a negative footing when he seemed to call his opponent a monkey, which obviously is a racially derogatory term used to refer to Americans of African descent.

DeSantis said on Fox News:

“He is an articulate spokesman for those far left views and he’s a charismatic candidate. I watched those Democrat debates. None of that is my cup of tea but he performed better than the other people there. The last thing we need to do is to monkey this up by trying to embrace a socialist agenda with huge tax increases and bankrupting the state.”

The automated calls are racially offensive also. They are being narrated by a person who pretends to be Gillum with an exaggerated “minstrel dialect” with jungle noises in the background. Minstrel dialects were historically used in conjunction with blackface as ways to mimic and make fun of African Americans.

The robocalls end with a disclaimer that they are being paid for by “The Road to Power” which is an anti-Semitic, white supremacy website and podcast tied to Scott Rhodes of Sandpoint, Idaho, a well known for his racist activism and publishings.

According to the Tallahassee Democrat, the group has been linked to other robocall campaigns in Charlottesville, Virginia, Oregon and California.

Terry Kant-Rauch is one Tallahassee resident who received one of the robocalls in the voice mail of her cell phone. Kant-Rauch is a Democrat and a realtor who happens to have a biracial daughter, so the call was very upsetting to her and she became emotional after hearing it.

“Campaign on the merits,” she said, “not on the color of his skin.”

Geoff Burgan, communications director for Gillum’s campaign, responded to reports of the robocalls by saying, “This is reprehensible — and could only have come from someone with intentions to fuel hatred and seek publicity. Please don’t give it undeserved attention.”

The Democrat decided not to publish a transcript of the robocall because of its blatantly racist and extremely offensive content. They said the call came from a phone number in Tallahassee.

The Democrat tried calling Rhodes for comment but he did not answer and did not immediately return the phone call.

The Democrat’s sister paper, The Des Moines Register reported earlier this week that robocalls from the same group, Road to Power, were going out using the death of Mollie Tibbetts to promote white supremacist messages in Iowa.

Tibbetts, a University of Iowa student, disappeared July 18, and her body was discovered more than a month later. So-called alt-right groups have attempted to capitalize on her killing because the suspect is an undocumented immigrant from Mexico.

Although DeSantis has not been tied to the racist robocalls directly, it is clear from his comments and also from

President Trump’s comments after Gillum won, read more