Trump says Democrats would ruin Florida, his sec­ond home

The Tribune (SLO) (Sunday) - - Front Page - BY DAR­LENE SU­PERVILLE

Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump on Satur­day used his fi­nal Florida cam­paign event be­fore next week’s elec­tions to im­plore sup­port­ers to send Repub­li­cans to the gov­er­nor’s man­sion and the U.S. Sen­ate, claim­ing that al­low­ing Democrats to win ei­ther of­fice would bring ruin to the state he also calls home.

Trump re­turned to Florida for the sec­ond time this week to help rally sup­port for Gov. Rick Scott, who is chal­leng­ing Demo­cratic Sen. Bill Nel­son. Trump also sought to boost for­mer Rep. Ron DeSan­tis, who is fac­ing off against An­drew Gil­lum, the Demo­cratic mayor of Tal­la­has­see, in the race for gov­er­nor.

Trump ar­gued that Gil­lum

would “de­stroy Florida” and claimed that Gil­lum’s poli­cies would be a “to­tal night­mare” for the state.

“You have only one choice, Ron DeSan­tis for gov­er­nor,” Trump told thou­sands of cheer­ing sup­port­ers at a rally at Pen­sacola In­ter­na­tional Air­port, with Air Force One park right out­side of the hangar.

“If you want to pay high taxes, you ought to vote for the mayor of Tal­la­has­see,” Trump said. “You will de­stroy the state that I love.” Trump noted that he also calls Florida home; his Mar-a-Lago es­tate is lo­cated in Palm Beach and he spends most week­ends there in the win­ter.

Trump also crit­i­cized Nel­son, claim­ing that he only sees the for­mer as­tro­naut “around elec­tion time when he’s on tele­vi­sion every night.”

Ear­lier Satur­day, Trump cam­paigned in Mon­tana, where he made it clear that he wants to see Demo­crat Jon Tester booted from the Sen­ate on Tues­day over a per­sonal grudge as much as po­lit­i­cal am­bi­tion.

Trump blames Tester for the de­feat of his nom­i­nee to run the Depart­ment of Vet­er­ans Af­fairs. The pres­i­dent told hun­dreds of cheer­ing sup­port­ers at a sep­a­rate air­port rally in the Mon­tana chill that Tester “tried to de­stroy” Ronny Jack­son, a Navy ad­mi­ral and White House doc­tor.

“That’s why I’m here,” Trump said. “I’ve never for­got­ten it and it’s hon­estly one of the rea­sons I’m here so much,” said Trump, who last cam­paigned in Mon­tana in mid-Oc­to­ber. “It’s a dis­grace, what he did to that man.”

Trump was in Mon­tana to boost GOP Sen­ate can­di­date Matt Rosendale, who is chal­leng­ing Tester in Tues­day’s elec­tion. The ral­lies are part of Trump’s mul­ti­state blitz in the run-up to Tues­day’s bal­lot­ing, when con­trol of the House and Sen­ate – and per­haps the fu­ture of Trump’s agenda – are at stake.

Trump said hav­ing Rosendale in the Sen­ate will be “phe­nom­e­nal.”

The pres­i­dent blames Tester for the back­lash against Jack­son, who even­tu­ally with­drew his nom­i­na­tion af­ter fac­ing anony­mous ethics al­le­ga­tions, in­clud­ing claims of on-the-job drunk­en­ness and wreck­ing a gov­ern­ment ve­hi­cle.

Jack­son de­nied the al­le­ga­tions.

Tester, the top Demo­crat on the Sen­ate com­mit­tee that over­sees vet­er­ans’ is­sues, had re­leased a list of the al­le­ga­tions against Jack­son that was com­piled by the com­mit­tee’s Demo­cratic staff.

Trump, how­ever, doesn’t men­tion that the al­le­ga­tions weren’t the only fac­tor that con­trib­uted Jack­son with­draw­ing from con­sid­er­a­tion. Law­mak­ers ques­tioned Jack­son’s lim­ited man­age­rial ex­pe­ri­ence and his fit­ness to run a depart­ment as sprawl­ing as the VA.

At both ral­lies, Trump sought to rally the en­er­gized crowds by talk­ing up the econ­omy and tax cuts, new Supreme Court Jus­tice Brett Ka­vanaugh, border se­cu­rity and sev­eral car­a­vans of Cen­tral Amer­i­can mi­grants who are slowly ad­vanc­ing to­ward the U.S.-Mex­ico border.

He men­tioned plans for a new mil­i­tary branch called the Space Force, and com­plained anew about the news me­dia.

Trump also de­fended his de­ci­sion to fo­cus al­most ex­clu­sively on the mi­grants and im­mi­gra­tion in the clos­ing days of the elec­tion. He re­cently an­nounced that he in­tends to change asy­lum pro­ce­dures, end the con­sti­tu­tional guar­an­tee of birthright cit­i­zen­ship and build nu­mer­ous “tent cities” to hold mi­grants caught cross­ing the border il­le­gally.

“You can only say so many times that we cre­ated 250,000 jobs last month,” Trump said in Mon­tana, in de­fense of his fo­cus on im­mi­gra­tion that some of the pres­i­dent’s crit­ics say amounts to fear-mon­ger­ing. Trump has de­nied try­ing to in­still fear as a rea­son to vote Repub­li­can on Elec­tion Day.

“When we’re fix­ing a prob­lem or fixed a prob­lem there’s no rea­son to go on about it for 45 min­utes,” Trump said.

Trump also called up Rep. Greg Gian­forte to speak from the podium but did not re­peat his praise of the con­gress­man, who was con­victed of body slam­ming a jour­nal­ist just be­fore win­ning a 2017 spe­cial elec­tion. Trump had said dur­ing last month’s Mon­tana stop that any­one who can do a body slam “is my kind of guy.”

The pres­i­dent sub­se­quently was crit­i­cized for seem­ing to glo­rify vi­o­lence against jour­nal­ists.


Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump, who’s Mar-a-Lago es­tate is lo­cated in Palm Beach, Fla.

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