A unique brand of Trump politics descends on Tampa
President Donald Trump hit town yesterday and was greeted at the airport by longtime supporters Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi, joined by Congressman Gus Bilirakis and Matt Gaetz, two Florida Republicans running for re-election. On the flight from Washington with President Trump was Gov. Rick Scott along with and Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, a part-time resident of the state.
There can be no doubt that the Republican Party of Florida, as well as the country, is now “The Party of Trump.” Republicans were all over being seen around their new leader. Multiple polls show more than 8 in 10 Republicans approve of the president’s performance.
The good stuff came moments after first daughter Ivanka Trump introduced her dad to the crowd of the faithful who had gathered at The Florida State Fairgrounds to hear vintage Trump and they got it.
With early voting coming soon the new leader of the Republican Party gave his blessing and full-throated support to Congressman Ron DeSantis who he feels is a better choice for the GOP candidate for governor over establishment candidate Adam Putnam.
He called DeSantis as “a tough, brilliant cookie.” He predicted DeSantis will win against Putnam, the Agriculture Commissioner in the state’s Aug. 28 Republican primary. President Trump also heaped praise on his longtime supporter, Gov. Rick Scott, who is the Republican candidate doing battle with Democratic incumbent U.S. Senator Bill Nelson.
“We have to make sure Rick Scott wins and wins big,” Trump told the crowd. “It’s time to vote Bill Nelson out of office.”
For his part, Scott didn’t join Trump at the rally but appeared with him at an earlier roundtable event. Opening himself to speculation that he can’t be seen too close to Trump in what is expected to be a close Senate race with Nelson, Gov. Scott needs a little distance from President Trump as the state of Florida remains purple.
For his part DeSantis stood there on the same stage with the man that he has tied his campaign for governor directly to. DeSantis has appeared on Fox News more than 100 times to talk about federal issues and defend the president. DeSantis has campaigned with Fox’s Sean Hannity and Donald Trump Jr. and uses humor in a new ad to show his alliance with the president, teaching one of his two children to “build the wall” with blocks.
President Trump was also proud to point out his accomplishments on the strong economy as well as job growth.
He hit the high notes on his record number of judicial appointments to the lower courts as well as pushing for the swift passage of his latest nominee for the U.S. Supreme Judge Court Brett Kavanaugh.
After the pumping up of the candidate’s things began to get weird as Trump falsely claimed that shoppers need to show photo identification to buy groceries.
“If you go out and you want to buy groceries, you need a picture on a card, you need ID,” he said. “You go out and you want to buy anything, you need ID and you need your picture.”
He also advocated for requiring voters to present photo identification, even though Florida already has such a law on the books.
“The time has come for voter ID like everything else,” Trump said, before making his claim about groceries.
“It’s crazy,” he added, “but we’re turning it around.”
For the record, the only time one needs to provide a photo ID is if your buying items like alcohol, cigarettes or of course medication.
Meanwhile, back in Washington, a White House spokesman did not immediately respond to questions about when the billionaire president last bought groceries or anything else himself.
He also went on a rant and accused China and others of having “targeted our farmers,” despite the fact that it was his admiration who began the tariff process that started the trade war in the first place.
“Not good, not nice,” he told the crowd as tensions with China continue to escalate, adding: “You know what our farmers are saying? ’It’s OK, we can take it.” The Trump administration last week announced plans for $12 billion in temporary aid to help farmers deal with retaliatory tariffs from U.S. trading partners in response to Trump’s policies.
During the little more than one hour on stage in Tampa, President Trump briefly touched on his threat to shut down the federal government over his push to overhaul the nation’s immigration system and fund his signature border wall, though officials say he has privately assured staff he wouldn’t provoke a fiscal crisis before midterms. The president avoided making an outright reference to a government shutdown during the rally, saying, “We may have to do some pretty drastic things” unless Democrats support his agenda.
Again, for the record, the Republicans are in control of the House, the Senate, and the White House, so blaming the Democrats for holding things up is a bit rich. But last night was all about firing up the base and that is where Trump never disappoints.