The message from Mar-A-Lago – POLITICO

The message from Mar-A-Lago

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Hello and welcome to Wednesday.

The day after — The spectacle, the courtroom drama, and the angry response from Palm Beach have now passed. And what next?

Scene from Palm Beach — After his arraignment earlier in the day former President Donald Trump gave a half-hour speech on Tuesday evening where he laid into Manhattan DA Alvin Bragg, the judge overseeing his case, as well as other prosecutors and foes that have him fighting on multiple legal fronts. It was a speech with familiar grievances and at time sounded like a campaign speech, but one without the normal boisterousness that occurs at Trump rallies.

Warning — The initial consensus is that Republicans across the country – even those who have clashed with him in the past – have largely sided with Trump. GOP Florida Sen. Marco Rubio called the indictment against Trump a “damaging new normal.” During remarks he put on social media Rubio said that “today American politics crosses a line that it’s never going to come back from … it’s poison to our country.”

Meanwhile — Gov. Ron DeSantis for his part kept largely out of public view on Tuesday by holding meetings with top aides and he met and took a photo with House and Senate pages. He was also scheduled to swing by a pet adoption fair held at The Grove, the home of late Gov. LeRoy Collins adjacent to the mansion.

What does it all mean? — There’s been a fair amount of punditry on what this case means to Trump’s campaign – and whether it will coalesce Republican support in such a dramatic fashion that it will undercut DeSantis’ still unofficial campaign for president. An opposite take is that all of this is a reminder of why a significant portion of the electorate had grown tired of Trump.

On course — DeSantis for his part appears to be staying the course even as he been buffeted by attacks and even television ads going after him. He’s off to Michigan on Thursday where he will have two stops including one at Hillsdale College – the inspiration for changes at New College. But will it be possible to go back to the normal political grind right now?

— WHERE’S RON? — Gov. DeSantis is scheduled to be in Tallahassee.

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RESPONSE — Trump decries charges against him as ‘insult to our country,’ by POLITICO’s Kelly Garrity: Former President Donald Trump struck a defiant note Tuesday evening, declaring that felony charges made against him were erroneous, politically motivated and “an insult to our country.” “The only crime that I have committed is to fearlessly defend our nation from those who seek to destroy it,” he said while addressing his supporters at his Mar-a-Lago estate just hours after being arraigned in New York.

PALM BEACH STORY — With an arraignment party, Trump jolts his campaign, by POLITICO’s Meridith McGraw, Natalie Allison and Alex Isenstadt: But in the ballroom at the Florida estate, there was no sense of sobriety in the air. It felt, instead, like a MAGA movie set. The room was lit up with bright spotlights for the cameras. And as the assembled guests waited for the man of the hour to arrive, the setting took on the feel of a catwalk for Trump world’s upper crust. Family, staff and top surrogates walked in smiling and waving. The crowd applauded as Donald Trump Jr. and Kimberly Guilfoyle, Tiffany Trump and her husband, Michael Boulos, and Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) and Ginger Gaetz walked two-by-two to the front of the room.

Trump pleads not guilty to 34 felony charges, by POLITICO’s Erica Orden, Kyle Cheney and Josh Gerstein

The new revelations – and key questions – in the Trump indictment, by POLITICO’s Josh Gerstein

STEP INSIDE THE WEST WING: What’s really happening in West Wing offices? Find out who’s up, who’s down, and who really has the president’s ear in our West Wing Playbook newsletter, the insider’s guide to the Biden White House and Cabinet. For buzzy nuggets and details that you won’t find anywhere else, subscribe today.

Former President Donald Trump sits with his attorneys Joe Tacopina and Boris Epshteyn inside the courtroom during his arraignment at the Manhattan Criminal Court.

Former President Donald Trump sits with his attorneys Joe Tacopina and Boris Epshteyn inside the courtroom during his arraignment at the Manhattan Criminal Court. | Andrew Kelly/Pool via Getty Images

AFTERMATH — While Trump’s base rallies, the GOP fractures, by POLITICO’s Sally Goldenberg: But if the pro-Trump rally laid bare the intensity of the Republican base’s support for the 45th president, it also suggested its limitations. While polling, fundraising and public displays of enthusiasm indicate the indictment is emboldening Trump’s MAGA supporters, there is no evidence yet it has helped him expand his political base. In fact, many Republicans have expressed fears it may ultimately damage his prospects with swing voters the GOP will need to win the White House in 2024. In New York on Tuesday, those absent from the rally said as much as those who attended.

THE HOME TEAM — “Trump’s fans surround him in his return home to Palm Beach following New York arrest,” by Miami Herald’s Linda Robertson: “Nothing was going to stop the intrepid Maria Korynsel from showing her loyalty to Donald Trump on the day he became the first former U.S. president to be charged with a crime. Korynsel brought her paddleboard to the shoreline of the Intracoastal Waterway on Tuesday. She planned to paddle up to the backyard of Trump’s Mar-a-Lago mansion and display her ‘MAGA Country’ and ‘Shut Up, Karen’ flags while he addressed supporters.”

‘I WAS EXPECTING MORE’ — “Case against Trump leaves defense ample openings, say legal authorities,” by Wall Street Journal’s Jacob Gershman: “But to some legal observers, the case against the former president and Republican presidential front-runner represents a delicate and untested welding of minor criminal offenses. They also say the case is built on a somewhat wobbly foundation, made up of circumstantial evidence and insider testimony from a fervent Trump foe whose credibility Mr. Trump’s defense team will be sure to assail. ‘I was expecting more in the four corners of the indictment,’ said Jeremy Shockett, a white-collar criminal defense attorney in New York.”

— “Trump indictment in Palm Beach County: ‘This isn’t about Trump. This is also about our country,’” by Palm Beach Post’s Antonio Fins, Julius Whigham II, Chris Persaud and Valentina Palm

— “Masking his worry, Trump has kept up his bravado,” by New York Times’ Maggie Haberman and Jonathan Swan

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CALLED OUT — “Judy Blume slams Gov. DeSantis’ Florida censorship in passionate speech: ‘Teachers are under fire,’” by Variety’s Selome Hailu: “The resident Floridian spoke passionately against Gov. Ron DeSantis’ recent moves to censor public education in the state. ‘I live in Key West — even though we like to pretend it’s not in Florida — we have the same governor,’ Blume said to the crowd. ‘A governor who wants to control everything, starting with what kids can think, what they can know, what they can question, what they can learn, and now even what they can talk about. We have a legislator who’s trying to put through a bill preventing girls in elementary school from talking about periods… Good luck there.’”

GROUNDED — “Despite police outcry, DeSantis administration bans Chinese drone,” by Tampa Bay Times’ Lawrence Mower: “Police departments across Florida are shelving millions of dollars in aerial drones because of a Gov. Ron DeSantis administration rule that takes effect Wednesday. In its latest attempt to stamp out foreign influence in Florida, the DeSantis administration is forbidding government agencies — including police, firefighters and mosquito control districts — from using drones manufactured by China-based Da Jiang Innovations, or DJI, by far the most popular drones in the world.”

— “Staff calls and puppies: DeSantis lays low on day Trump is arraigned,” by Miami Herald’s Ana Ceballos and McClatchy D.C.’s Alex Roarty

— “FIU Faculty Senate votes no-confidence in chair’s ability to fight DeSantis over higher ed,” by Miami Herald’s Jimena Tavel


MOVING AHEAD — Florida Senate approves ban on transgender treatments for kids, by POLITICO’s Arek Sarkissian: The Florida Senate on Tuesday signed off on a proposed ban on surgeries and prescription treatments for children diagnosed with gender dysphoria, expanding on new state health regulations pushed by Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis. The bill, SB 254, sponsored by Republican state Sen. Clay Yarborough, seeks to prohibit anyone under the age of 18 from undergoing the surgeries or prescription-based hormone therapies associated with gender-affirming care. The measure also bans universities, local governments, the health insurance plans for state workers and providers contracted with the state’s Medicaid Managed Care program from using public dollars to cover the treatments.

WHAT’S IN YOUR WALLET? Florida lawmakers want charter schools to get a bigger cut of tax dollars, by POLITICO’s Andrew Atterbury: Florida lawmakers are considering legislation that could give charter schools a larger share of the local tax dollars flowing to seven of the state’s largest public school districts for construction projects. The idea, which advanced Tuesday in the Senate’s Education Pre-K -12 committee, would redirect potentially hundreds of millions of dollars from traditional public schools to charter schools that Republicans say aren’t getting their fair share of funding.

SPLIT AMONG 5 DEMOCRATS — “‘Political stunt’ or ‘dystopian’ crackdown? Protester arrests further divide city commission,” by Tallahassee Democrat’s Jeff Burlew: “The two factions on the Tallahassee City Commission had entirely different takes on the arrests of state Sen. Lauren Book, Florida Democratic Party Chair Nikki Fried and other protesters on the plaza outside City Hall. Mayor John Dailey and City Commissioners Curtis Richardson and Dianne Williams-Cox all defended the move by city management to arrest the demonstrators, while City Commissioners Jeremy Matlow and Jack Porter blasted it.”

— “Four questions with Nikki Fried, Lauren Book after arrests outside Tallahassee City Hall,” by Tallahassee Democrat’s James Call

— “Abortion protest arrests put Florida mugshot exception law in the spotlight,” by Tallahassee Democrat’s James Call and Jeff Burlew

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FOR YOUR RADAR Miami-Dade County development gets new life under amended bills, by POLITICO’s Bruce Ritchie: Amended bills moving in the House and Senate could provide a legal boost to a proposal to expand Miami-Dade County’s urban development boundary to build a 378-acre development near Biscayne Bay. The Miami-Dade County Commission on Tuesday without discussion adopted a resolution opposing SB 540 and HB 359 because they would preempt local approval over the proposed mix of warehouses, call centers and other commercial facilities. Environmentalists also are stepping up their lobbying against the bills. They argue that the amendments make what they consider bad bills even worse by allowing the development to proceed, threatening an Everglades restoration project along Biscayne Bay.

Florida first lady Casey DeSantis promotes pet adoptions at an event held at the Governor's Mansion Pin

Florida first lady Casey DeSantis, at an event held Tuesday at the governor’s mansion, highlighted the need to improve protections for Florida’s pet population and lower euthanasia rates among animals admitted to a shelter. | Gary Fineout/POLITICO

ON THE MOVE — “Surprise Florida election bill could suppress student, minority vote, critics say,” by Orlando Sentinel’s Steven Lemongello: “A Florida elections bill introduced in the Senate this week could make it harder for college students to vote and add more restrictions to third-party registration groups, which opponents say amounts to more voter suppression. The package, the third of its kind in three years, is the latest being pushed by the Republican-led Legislature. The state Senate Ethics and Elections Committee voted to move forward on the bill on Tuesday, just a day after it was submitted by the committee itself to the surprise of its Democratic members.”

— “Environmental groups decry FL Legislature’s move to discourage citizens’ growth plans challenges,” by Sarasota Herald-Tribune’s Anne Snabes

— “The golf cart driving age in Florida is currently 14 years old. That may soon change,” by Tallahassee Democrat’s Ana Goñi-Lessan

— “Who’s DeSantis’ next Supreme Court pick? Florida must wait a bit longer to know,” by News Service of Florida

— “House passes $113B budget, sets stage for Senate talks,” by Florida Politics’ Gray Rohrer

— “Senate preps anti-drag show bill for passage despite apparent conflict with existing law,” by Florida Politics’ Jesse Scheckner


TO COURT — “Defeated GOP candidate seeks to subpoena top consultant in suit against blogger,” by Orlando Sentinel’s Annie Martin: “A former Central Florida state House candidate is trying to subpoena a top GOP consultant with ties to the 2020 “ghost” candidate scandal after a political committee under his control slammed her in a series of mailers accusing her of being liberal. Liz Cornell, a Republican who lost her August primary for a Lake County state House seat, is suing far-right blogger and Proud Boys associate Jacob Engels for libel after he published articles on his website accusing her of carrying on an extramarital affair and preying on an elderly client in her financial advising business.”

FLORIDA IS NO. 1 — “In a first, EPA survey puts a number of lead pipes around US,” by Associated Press’ Michael Phillis: “Some 9.2 million lead pipes carry water into homes across the U.S., with more in Florida than any other state, according to a new Environmental Protection Agency survey that will dictate how billions of dollars to find and replace those pipes are spent. The survey released Tuesday was the first time the agency asked about lead pipes and gave the best count yet of how many are underground. Florida, with an estimated 1.16 million pipes, was a surprise to one expert.”

— “Pitch to new students refers to New College as ‘Hillsdale College of the southeast,’” by News Service of Florida’s Ryan Dailey

— “Sarasota County School Board delays vote on Hillsdale-tied consulting firm contract,” by Sarasota Herald-Tribune’s Steven Walker

— “Florida redfish contaminated with drugs. Study finds opioids, psychoactive medications and more,” by South Florida Sun-Sentinel’s Bill Kearney

— “Federal Judge Roger Vinson, ‘a legend, loved and admired by all,’ dies at age 83,” by Pensacola News Journal Mollye Barrows


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— “2 Broward School Board members face review after accusations of touching,” by South Florida Sun-Sentinel’s Scott Travis: “An outside investigator will review two incidents where Broward School Board members have been accused of inappropriate touching. Board Chairwoman Lori Alhadeff told the School Board on Tuesday she had received “some disturbing information,” about two incidents, including one that involved a student. The South Florida Sun Sentinel has confirmed that the two board members are Brenda Fam and Allen Zeman, who both joined the School Board in November.”

BIRTHDAYS: Former Secretary of State Katherine Harris and Melissa Shuffield of Shuffield Co.

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