GOP and Dems hit DeSantis over Ukraine
Hello and good Wednesday morning.
Well, that went over well.
What started it — Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ decision to weigh in on Ukraine (via Fox News’ Tucker Carlson) created a tsunami of responses from both Republicans and Democrats, many of them critical of the likely presidential candidate’s decision to call Russia’s invasion a “territorial dispute” and not among the U.S.’ “vital national interests.”
The response — Florida GOP Sen. Marco Rubio, appearing on Hugh Hewitt’s radio show, disagreed with DeSantis by saying: “Well, I don’t know what he’s trying to do or what the goal is. Obviously, he doesn’t deal with foreign policy every day as governor.”
Trump time — The statements by DeSantis, who at one time was viewed as hawkish on Russia while in Congress, were also called out by former President Donald Trump, who labeled it a “flip flop” designed to imitate his stance. Trump, who has contended that Russia’s Vladimir Putin would have never invaded Ukraine if he were still president, said that DeSantis was just following his lead and then zinged him by saying “Whatever I want, he wants.”
Another rival — Former U.S ambassador Nikki Haley — who is already officially challenging Trump — said in a statement: “President Trump is right when he says Governor DeSantis is copying him — first in his style, then on entitlement reform, and now on Ukraine. I have a different style than President Trump, and while I agree with him on most policies, I do not on those. Republicans deserve a choice, not an echo.”
Going there — Democrats also weighed in, with Florida Democratic Party Chair Nikki Fried going so far as to say on Twitter that “Being Putin’s bitch should disqualify anyone from becoming president of the United States.”
Moving — This episode is a reminder of the bumpy road that could lie ahead when DeSantis transitions from a leading red state governor (where he can ignore foreign policy issues if he chooses) to a candidate for president. But DeSantis had telegraphed he was headed in this direction by previously calling out what he called President Joe Biden’s “blank check policy” on Ukraine. His sentiments also mirror the growing agitation that other Republicans, especially some of those in the House, have about continuing to spend money on the conflict. The question is how it plays in Iowa.
— WHERE’S RON? — Nothing official for Gov. DeSantis.
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TRUMPLANDIA AND THE SWAMP
GAME PLAN — Trump prepares an extensive opposition file on ‘Ron DeSanctimonious,’ by POLITICO’s Meridith McGraw: Trump’s team and his allied PAC are preparing an expansive opposition research file by poring over DeSantis’ record as a prosecutor, member of Congress, and Florida governor. Among the items a Trump-allied group has drilled into is DeSantis’ record while serving as an assistant U.S. Attorney before running for congressional office, with plans to accuse him of being an “extremely lenient prosecutor” in cases involving, among other things, child pornography.
Getting ready — They have recently conducted focus groups and looked at polling to hone in on the best messaging to take on DeSantis. And they’re wasting no time to get organized and scoop up talent in key primary states. “The team itself has felt like he has had a free ride without scrutiny for a number of years,” said Bryan Lanza, who worked on Trump’s 2016 campaign and remains close to Trump’s team.
WINGING IT — “On the trail, freewheeling Donald Trump counters scripted Ron DeSantis,” by Washington Post’s Isaac Arnsdorf, Josh Dawsey and Maeve Reston: “[Former President Donald] Trump is leaning into his freewheeling style in no small measure, according to advisers, to draw a contrast with his potential chief rival for the Republican nomination: Ron DeSantis. The Florida governor’s unofficial pre-campaign book tour has consisted of more scripted and stage-managed events, often where the row of cameras that Trump so loves are excluded and the rituals of more intimate politics are limited. As DeSantis moves closer to entering the race against Trump, the emerging contrast between the two leading Republicans in the polls is more about presentation than ideology. With both seeking to tap into voter grievances with combative messages, they are offering GOP voters two distinct vessels for channeling their anger.”
FOLLOW UP — “FBI says it can find no records related to Trump’s claim he ‘sent’ agents to stop voter fraud in Florida during 2018 election,” by NBC News’ Lewis Kamb: The FBI has said it can find no records related to former President Donald Trump’s assertions in November that he “sent in the FBI and the U.S. Attorneys” to stop “ballot theft” in Florida during the 2018 election. In a letter dated March 6 and received this week by NBC News, the FBI wrote that it had searched its Central Records System but was “unable to identify records” in response to a reporter’s Freedom of Information Act request seeking any records related to Trump’s claims.
— “Pensacola man who ‘reigned terror on the police …’ in the Jan. 6 riots sentenced to 5 years,” by Pensacola News Journal’s Kevin Robinson
GRADING DESANTIS — As the 2024 race heats up, former Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker is weighing in on Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis. “I think of all the governors in America, he probably handled the best during the last four years,” said Walker.
POLITICO’s video team showed Walker some clips from DeSantis’ State of the State. Watch here to see what he had to say, including what grade he would give DeSantis.
FALLOUT — “DeSantis, backing away from Ukraine, angers G.O.P. hawks,” by New York Times’ Jonathan Swan and Maggie Haberman: “Republican foreign policy hawks recoiled at Mr. DeSantis’s statement on “Tucker Carlson Tonight” on Fox News on Monday night, in which the governor deviated from the position held by most of the Republican establishment on Capitol Hill, including Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the minority leader. Mr. McConnell and other top congressional Republicans have framed the invasion by President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia as a fight to defend the post-World War II international security framework.”
— “Author James Patterson: Write to DeSantis after ‘absurd’ ban on Maximum Ride series from Florida school district,” by Palm Beach Post’s Carol Rose and Jodie Wagner
… DATELINE TALLAHASSEE …
ABOUT THAT BLOGGING BILL — Both Gov. Ron DeSantis and House Speaker Paul Renner last week slammed a proposal to force bloggers that write about the governor and other state officials to register and disclose who is paying them. But State Sen. Jason Brodeur, the central Florida Republican who is sponsoring the bill, appears unpersuaded. In a brief exchange in the Capitol on Tuesday, Brodeur said he was going to present a bill and that “I would tell you that all the rest of my bills are all still in play.” Brodeur also again asserted that his legislation, (SB 1316), “is not what is being reported.”
WORDS — “Florida House targets preferred pronouns in new parental rights bill,” by POLITICO’s Andrew Atterbury: Florida lawmakers took the first step Tuesday toward expanding the state’s controversial parental rights policies restricting lessons on sexual orientation and gender identity by curbing the use of preferred pronouns in classrooms. The legislation, HB 1223, would broaden what the law critics call “Don’t Say Gay” to more grade levels while adding new provisions limiting how teachers and students can use pronouns for their gender identity. The Republican-led House advanced the legislation through the Choice & Innovation Subcommittee with most Democrats in opposition, arguing the policy would actually diminish the rights of parents who support their children’s pronouns.
THE AGENDA — “There are warnings across the political spectrum as House panel Oks defamation bill,” by Miami Herald’s Mary Ellen Klas: “A Florida House committee on Tuesday gave preliminary approval to a sweeping bill to make it easier to sue for defamation despite warnings from across the political spectrum that the measure is unconstitutional and could lead to a flurry of lawsuits against news organizations, talk radio hosts and even politicians. The House Civil Justice Subcommittee voted 14-4 for HB 991 by Rep. Alex Andrade, R-Pensacola, that he described as a ‘provide some clarity, some certainty, remove some vagueness and subjectiveness from the private cause of action and tort, known as defamation.’”
WHO’S FAULT IS IT AGAIN? — “Florida lawmakers want to help insurance companies by limiting lawsuits,” by Tampa Bay Times’ Lawrence Mower: “After years of legislation limiting lawsuits against property insurance companies, Gov. Ron DeSantis and Republican leaders are preparing to spread those limits to other lines of insurance, such as automobile, life, liability and health. The changes would make it riskier for lawyers to take cases against insurance companies and make insurance companies pay less in injury cases. Some of the changes overturn 130-year-old law meant to give the policyholder more of a level playing field against their insurer.”
— “House panel OK’s bill targeting auto glass repair lawsuits,” by Florida Politics’ Gray Rohrer
— “Negotiations nearly final on bills to protect insurers, businesses from lawsuits,” by Florida Politics’ Christine Jordan Sexton
TALLAHASSEE SPECIAL — Local land-use preemptions in affordable housing bill raise development planning concerns, by POLITICO’s Bruce Ritchie: Some environmentalists and Democratic lawmakers are raising concerns about an affordable housing bill pushed by Florida Senate President Kathleen Passidomo because it could allow high-rise buildings in neighborhoods and more development in the Florida Keys. The legislation, S.B. 102, would require cities and counties to allow residential development in commercial, industrial and mixed-use land categories and restrict their ability to regulate building height and densities.
REJECTED — “Sex, drugs and wiretaps: Feds accuse Andrew Gillum of ‘fabricating’ allegations of FBI misconduct,” by Tallahassee Democrat’s Jeff Burlew: “A federal judge presiding over Andrew Gillum’s public corruption case sided with prosecutors in a fight over whether to unseal court documents detailing alleged personal misconduct by undercover FBI agents. U.S. District Judge Allen Winsor on Monday shot down a request by Gillum’s lawyers, David Markus and Katherine Miller of Miami, to unseal a government motion seeking to exclude the allegations from the trial. In a one-page order, Winsor said the matter will be addressed at a later pretrial conference.”
— “A rundown of Florida bills causing ‘massive panic’ in transgender, LGBTQ communities,” by USA Today Network-Florida’s Kathryn Varn
— “Panel approves bill increasing penalties on illegal handling of venomous reptiles,” by Florida Politics’ Wes Wolfe
— “Just 30 seconds? Despite complex bills, Floridians are limited on public testimony in Legislature,” by Florida Phoenix’s Danielle J. Brown and Briana Michel
— “Bill granting unwed Florida fathers more parental rights clears first Senate stop,” by Florida Politics Jesse Scheckner
— “‘Very, very low’: Voter turnout was light for Broward and Palm Beach County elections,” by South Florida Sun-Sentinel’s David Lyons, Shira Moolten and Amber Bonefont
— “Wayne Messam wins third term as Miramar mayor,” by Florida Politics’ Anne Geggis
PENINSULA AND BEYOND
BY THE NUMBERS — “Florida universities provide little gender-affirming care, reports show,” by Tampa Bay Times’ Divya Kumar: Gender-affirming health care makes up a fraction of the caseloads in medical facilities run by Florida’s public universities, according to records that Gov. Ron DeSantis’ budget office ordered the schools to turn over in January. The order has been a topic of high interest across the state, inspiring student protests and frequent remarks by the governor. ‘You’re talking about publicly funded institutions,’ DeSantis said at a Jan. 31 news conference in Bradenton, laying out his rationale for the request. ‘Those are not things that I think are appropriate use of your tax dollars.’
COMPLAINT FILED — “Another drag show showdown: Florida targets prominent Miami hotel’s liquor license,” by Miami Herald’s Ana Ceballos and Joey Flechas: “Gov. Ron DeSantis’ administration is seeking to revoke the Hyatt Regency Miami’s liquor license because one of its facilities hosted a Christmas-themed drag queen show in which the state claimed minors were present. The event — ‘A Drag Queen Christmas’ — was held on Dec. 27 at the James L. Knight Center, a 4,500-seat auditorium affiliated with the hotel that typically hosts concerts, graduation ceremonies and other events. The December show was hosted by Nina West, a star from the reality show ‘RuPaul’s Drag Race,’ and minors were required to be accompanied by an adult to attend.”
— “New Jersey man arrested for posting death threats online aimed at Sheriff Mike Chitwood,” by The Daytona Beach News-Journal’s Patricio G. Balona
— “Crews start dismantling Orlando Free Fall ride, where Tyre Sampson died,” by Orlando Sentinel’s Katie Rice
— “FBI arrests Nassau sheriff’s sergeant, Jacksonville trooper in DEA investigation,” by First Coast News’ Anne Schindler, Atyia Collins and Tobie Nell Perkins
— “‘Completely unacceptable’: Boynton Beach fires officer, citing sex scandal,” by Palm Beach Post’s Giuseppe Sabella
ODDS, ENDS AND FLORIDA MEN
BIRTHDAYS : Former state Sen. Audrey Gibson … former state Senate President Mike Haridopolos … Austin Durrer … Former State Sen. Chris Smith
( Information from politico.com was used in this report. Also if you have any problem of this article or if you need to remove this articles, please email here and we will delete this immediately. [email protected] )