Good Monday morning. President Donald Trump said that Sen. Rick Scott is one of the Republicans who is going to help the GOP craft a replacement plan for the Affordable Care Act. But maybe Scott didn’t get the memo.
OFF SCRIPT — When it came time for the Florida senator to talk about health care on CBS' "Face the Nation" on Sunday, Scott said that any health care plan would come from the White House — thereby contradicting the president. No wonder the highly scripted Scott wanted to talk about the new drug pricing plan he announced last week and made sure to say that Medicare for all
— the plan championed by Vermont Sanders Bernie Sanders
— would “ruin our health care system.”
Story Continued Below
PIECE BY PIECE — And then Scott made it sound as if there would not be an overall plan at all. When asked if a plan would be released ahead of the 2020 elections, he said he was focusing on what could get “done today.”
“I personally don’t believe in grand bargains,” Scott told CBS’s Margaret Brennan. “I believe in piece by piece fixing things.” Scott said that would include protecting people with pre-existing conditions and letting parents keep their children on their individual plans.
OWNING THE LIBS — “Matt Gaetz Is a Congressman Liberals Love to Loathe. It’s All Part of the Plan,” by New York Times’ Glenn Thrush: “Representative Matt Gaetz of Florida came to Washington in 2017 with a reputation for bipartisan deal-cutting in the State Legislature — then spent a year idling behind the slow-moving minivans in the House Republican Conference like a Mustang stuck in traffic. So he decided to go the full Trump.” Read more
FROM POLITICO’S PLAYBOOK—STONE SPEAKS: A judge has granted Roger Stone permission to travel to The Villages, Winter Park and Clearwater, Fla. this week. He wanted permission to travel for “business opportunities.” He told POLITICO’s Daniel Lippman that will he speak and sign his books, T-shirts, and u">>signed stones during his visit to The Villages on Monday. On Tuesday he’s holding a ticketed lunch to benefit his legal defense fund. “While I am not permitted to discuss anything about my case I am permitted to speak about general politics, 2020 and other issues,” Stone told Lippman.
SPOTLIGHT — “Protestors ‘shed light’ on Homestead detention center for migrant children — literally,” by Miami Herald’s Monique O. Madan: “Binoculars in hand, Joshua Rubin stood atop a concrete barricade just a few feet away from the Homestead migrant shelter’s property line. It’s the only vantage point that could give the protestor any glimpse into the life of the thousands of unaccompanied minors detained there after crossing the Southern border without their biological parents.” Read more
WITHOUT ME — “Trump says Lake Okeechobee project ‘was dying until we got involved,’” by POLITICO Florida’s Bruce Ritchie: “President Donald Trump said during a tour of Lake Okeechobee Friday that the broad, shallow lake had a ‘lot of problems’ and that the dike-strengthening project around its shore ‘wasn’t properly funded for years.’ ‘This project was dying until we got involved," Trump told reporters along the Herbert Hoover Dike, which protects surrounding communities from flooding. ‘This was really dying.’” Read more
WHEN THE PRESIDENT COMES TO TOWN — “President Trump pays big visit to small lakeside town in trip to Lake Okeechobee,” by TCPalm’s Ed Killer: “It was a big day in a small place. Make no mistake, Canal Point is no big place. The town is under 2 square miles in area. It is bounded by the looming Herbert Hoover Dike to its west and wide open sugar cane fields that stretch to the horizon to its east. But Friday, when President Donald Trump came to town, nearly the whole town turned up to roll out the welcome mat.” Read more
BEING HELD IN WAKULLA — “Former Trump driver detained, faces deportation to Romania,” by Palm Beach Post's Jeff Ostrowski: “Four days after Rania Tamas-Rogozan was born with a severe heart defect, doctors in her home country of Romania told her parents to accept the inevitable: The little girl would die soon. ‘She was born with half a heart,’ says Rania’s mother, Alina Rogozan. ‘The doctors told us to let her die, and to go home and make another one, because we are young.’” Read more
AUTHOR — “Political Insider: Buchanan working with Trump on NAFTA rewrite,” by Herald-Tribune’s Zac Anderson: “As President Donald Trump gears up to try and push his rewrite of the North American Free Trade Agreement through Congress, U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan is leading the charge on Trump’s behalf. Buchanan, R-Longboat Key, is one of the top Republicans in Congress on trade issues as the ranking Republican on the House Ways and Means Trade Subcommittee.” Read more
MAR-A-LAGO REPORT, from Anita Kumar: A week after Special Counsel Robert Mueller wrapped up his report, a relaxed Trump made a single reference to the investigation Saturday night at a closed fundraiser, calling it a “phony witch hunt,” bragging that “they tried to tie one hand behind my back” but failed, according to people familiar with the event. Trump help raise more than $2 million for Trump Victory, a joint committee of his re-election campaign and the Republican National Committee at the high-dollar fundraiser at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida.
AS ABOUT 25 attendees sipped on drinks and nibbled hors d’oeuvres, the president was funny and entertaining, speaking much as he would at one of his campaign rallies. He delivered remarks and answered questions for about an hour and 15 minutes before he left to have dinner with First Lady Melania Trump.
IN ATTENDANCE: Tommy Hicks Jr., a longtime friend who was recently named co-chair of the Republican National Committee; Jacksonville developer Ed Burr; Louis DeJoy, a North Carolinian raising money for the 2020 convention; recycling mogul Anthony Lomangino; lobbyist Brian Ballard; and former Democratic congressional candidate Randy Perkins.
SUNDAY — “Trump in Palm Beach: Four hours of golf. Two tweets on Mueller, Russia,” by Palm Beach Post's Christine Stapleton and George Bennett: Read more
FROM ANITA KUMAR: A company that sells luxury home and yachts appears to be using Air Force One to drum up business.
EARLIER LAST WEEK, Coastal Concierge Home & Yacht Management posted a photo on its Instagram account of 10 people posing on the steps of Air Force One, most smiling with their thumbs up.
CANDACE ROJAS, who says she owns the company, has been on the executive board of the Republican Party of Palm Beach County, which hosted a fundraiser at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort last weekend.
A DAY AFTER Trump dropped by the party’s Lincoln Day Dinner, the group of Palm Beach Republicans got a tour of Air Force One, according to their social media accounts. In a brief phone call, Rojas said the people in the photo were all GOP volunteers and that she didn’t go on the tour. “I post things that are positive to him,” she said of Trump.
AT LEAST SIX OF THE 10 PEOPLE tagged in the photo were at the fundraiser, according to a Facebook post by Ken Baker, who declined to comment. The others didn’t respond to requests for comments. Michael Barnett, chairman of the Palm Beach GOP, said he didn’t know how the tour was organized. “I would love to have been on the tour of Air Force One,” he said. i">>The Facebook post … Instagram post
“BARRIERS” — Orlando attorney John Morgan on Sunday lambasted the Republican-controlled Legislature over its newly-crafted proposal to put restrictions on groups seeking to put constitutional amendments on the ballot. Morgan, who successfully pushed a measure that legalized medical marijuana and is now pushing to raise the minimum wage, said the point of the House and Senate bills is “to put barriers up so it’s impossible” to pass future amendments. GOP sponsors contend the changes would bring more transparency to the process. The next stop for the bill is in the Senate Judiciary Committee.
“ANNIHILATE THEM” — Morgan, who maintained the “people of Florida” will lose if the legislation goes through this session, blamed “special interests” for opposing both his medical marijuana amendment and the new proposal on minimum wage. He also vowed to debate anyone on the proposal to raise the minimum wage. “If you put John Morgan on a stage and debate a fair living wage with any politician they will have to bring a stretcher. I will annihilate them.”
LET UBER DO IT? — “When a Medicaid ride to the doctor’s office fails to show, others foot the bill,” by Tampa Bay Times’ Caitlin Johnston: “Elisabeth Olden, 53, waited earlier this month for the Medicaid-provided van to take her to a doctor’s appointment. The minutes ticked by, and Olden eyed the clock nervously. The wheelchair-accessible van was supposed to arrive no later than 12:15 p.m. for her 1 p.m. follow-up appointment. At 12:45 p.m., she called.” Read more
CITIZEN LEGISLATURE — “Lawmaker’s bill helping injured workers or his business?” by WFLA’s Steve Andrews: “A Gainesville lawmaker plans to re-introduce a bill that could force injured workers to wait up to nine weeks to receive medical care and benefits. It could also end up lowering workers’ compensation premiums that Republican Senator Keith Perry's company currently pays.” Read more
‘DEEPLY TROUBLED’—Investigations underway into sexual misconduct allegations at Florida National Guard,” by Tampa Bay Times’ Howard Altman. “Maj. Gen. Michael Calhoun retires April 6 as commander of the Florida National Guard and Gov. Ron DeSantis will name a replacement. But the search comes while the guard – some 12,000 soldiers and airmen who deploy to combat zones and help at home in natural disasters – is facing ongoing investigations into allegations of sexual misconduct and coverups that date back a decade, the Tampa Bay Times has learned.” Read more
MATH COURSE — “Florida’s budget battleground: Universities,” by GateHouse Capital Bureau’s John Kennedy: “With spending problems at Florida universities drawing scrutiny – and the resignation of the University of Central Florida’s president – higher education dollars are emerging as a battleground for state House and Senate budget writers.” Read more
BOOZE BATTLES — “Florida’s craft distillers could get big boost if lawmakers ease restrictions on liquor sales,” by Tampa Bay Times’ Graham Brink: “Craft distilleries have popped up all over the state in recent years. They make white whiskey, apple pie moonshine, gin aged in bourbon barrels, and vodka for nearly any palate — honey, grapefruit, key lime, gluten free, organic. Less than a decade ago, only a dozen or so distilleries operated in the state, including a couple large contract manufacturers. Now there’s that many in Pinellas and Hillsborough counties alone.” Read more
NO DEAL? — “Tax on online buying to offset cut in office rent tax falls flat,” by GateHouse Capital Bureau’s John Kennedy: “A tax overhaul backed by some of Florida’s biggest business groups and sponsored by a state senator who chairs the state Republican Party looks like it should be a slam dunk in the GOP-controlled Legislature.” Read more
FIASCO — “SunPass: FDOT fines contractor $4.6 million, replaces tolling director,” by Tampa Bay Times’ Lawrence Mower: “The Florida Department of Transportation has replaced its tolling director and fined the contractor responsible for botching last year’s takeover of the SunPass system $4.6 million so far, the department said Friday.” Read more
SEEKING PAYMENT — “Dontrell Stephens claims bill hotly debated in Tallahassee hearing,” by GateHouse Capital Bureau’s John Kennedy: “A multi-million dollar legal battle between Palm Beach County Sheriff Ric Bradshaw and Dontrell Stephens, who was left paralyzed after being shot by a PBSO deputy, was the subject of a contentious hearing Friday at the state Capitol. Stephens, 25, is asking the Legislature to order Bradshaw’s office to pay him the $22.4 million awarded three years ago by a federal jury along with interest and other costs that bring the amount to about $25 million.” Read more
DEMOCRATS UNITED? — Florida House Democrats are expected on Tuesday to join with Senate Democrats and take a caucus position against a bill that would authorize teachers to carry guns on campus if they take part in the state’s guardian program. Senate Democrats have already taken a caucus position against the proposal
— which is included in a school safety bill that is now moving though both chambers. A commission set up in the wake of the Parkland massacre recommended the change. Legislators last year agreed to keep teachers out of the program, a move at the time that was endorsed by then-Gov. Rick Scott.
— WHERE’S RON? — Gov. DeSantis says he will make a “major announcement” along with Lieutenant Gov. Jeanette Nunez and Attorney General Ashley Moody at the Sanford Fire Department. DeSantis then has another “major announcement” he plans to make at the South Florida Science and Aquarium in West Palm Beach. He will be joined at the second event by Department of Environmental Protection Secretary Noah Valenstein.
AND NOW THE FIRES — “500 acres burn in Callaway as wind whips up wildfire,” by News Herald’s Eryn Dion: “Amy Davis woke up Sunday to a firefighter pounding on her door. Coming back from Tallahassee the day before, where her and her husband had gone out for his birthday, Davis thought it was neat, how the clouds in the area looked like smoke. That is, until her husband pointed out that what she was seeing was actually smoke. Coming right from their neighborhood.” Read more
CRACKDOWN — “AP Investigation: Florida gets tougher on massage-parlor sex,” by AP’s Mike Schneider and Terry Spencer: “When Florida authorities shut down 10 massage spas last month and charged hundreds of men with buying sex, they broke a longstanding pattern of meting out minor charges and punishment for owners, letting patrons off scot-free and turning a mostly blind eye to signs of human trafficking.” Read more
OOPS — “They failed to document drug stops and activate body cameras. Now, Tampa police officers face discipline,” by Tampa Bay Times’ Tony Marrero: “Ten Tampa police officers face disciplinary action after they failed to document drug offenses, disposed of evidence and, in some cases, turned off their body cameras while detaining suspects. Officers admitted they found small amounts marijuana, drug paraphernalia or both while detaining and searching suspects.” Read more
RESTAURANT WARS — “Protesters in MAGA hats descend on Bahi Hut,” by Herald-Tribune’s Zac Anderson: “Following the controversy over a man who says he was refused service at Sarasota’s Bahi Hut Lounge, asked to leave and had the police called on him for wearing a Make America Great Again hat supporting President Donald Trump, a group of people wearing MAGA hats descended on the bar Friday evening.” Read more
FESTIVAL FAIL — “Though more organized, long lines and frustration mark the close of Ultra’s day two,” by Miami Herald’s Joey Flechas: “The second night of Ultra Music Festival’s first event on Virginia Key ended with a more organized approach to moving more than 50,000 people off the island. The organization doesn’t necessarily mean it went faster for everyone.” Read more
UPWARD — “Report: Floridians feel good about national economy,” by Business Observer: “Florida consumers are feeling good — as good as they have felt in at least 13 months. That’s the word from the University of Florida UF Survey Research Center’s latest Consumer Sentiment report. The index increased 2.8 points in February to 100.9, up from a revised figure of 98.1 in January, the report shows. It’s the first score over 100 since it was 100.6 last July and the highest since it was 101.3 in January 2018, the report adds.” Read more
TO COURT — “Not so fast: Confederate monument appeal reinstated in circuit court,” by The Ledger’s Sara-Megan Walsh: “Two United States 11th Circuit court judges have agreed to hear the plea of a Confederate rights group that once sought to keep the Confederate monument in Munn Park, and now will fight for its return. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit in Atlanta on Friday reinstated the lawsuit filed against Lakeland officials for ordering the 109-year-old statue be moved.” Read more
FLASH OF GREEN — “Meteor lights up sky in N. Florida, Georgia: ‘Like someone turned on the stadium lights,’” by Tallahassee Democrat’s William Hatfield: “Jania Kadar and her friend were cleaning up in the backyard after a gathering of friends in eastern Tallahassee when the night sky lit up. ‘It was like someone turned on the stadium lights,’ the Tallahassee resident said. ‘I look up and there is this bluish-green flash. It almost looks like daylight.’” Read more
JUSTICE DELAYED — “Anatomy of a wrongful conviction: Two Jacksonville men spent 43 years behind bars for a crime they didn’t commit,” by Times-Union’s Andrew Pantazi: “In the humid, early hours of May 2, 1976, somebody murdered Jeanette ‘Baldie’ Williams. By the time police followed bloody footprints into Williams’ dark apartment, her pulse had already stopped. Her body lay on a bed in a pool of blood.” Read more
PAID OUT — “Local government employees cash in on unused time,” by Gainesville Sun’s Andrew Caplan: “Government jobs in Gainesville and Alachua County come with a perk rarely seen in the private sector — the opportunity to cash out on unused vacation time and sick leave that has totaled more than $18 million in additional pay over the past five years.” Read more
LOST IN TRANSLATION — “Latino outreach or Google Translate? 2020 Dems bungle Spanish websites,” by POLITICO’s Jesus Rodriguez: “Using Google to translate Spanish text into English is a trick used by high school students to avoid doing their Spanish homework – not something you’d expect to see from candidates for the highest office in the land.” Read more
JUMP RIGHT IN — “South Florida mayor Wayne Messam starts push for presidency with ‘American Dream’ rally,” by Sun Sentinel’s Marc Freeman: “In the first speech of his presidential campaign, Miramar Mayor Wayne Messam on Saturday said he’s aiming to ‘give Americans a second chance at the American Dream.’ The 44-year-old son of Jamaican immigrants said his top priorities are greatly reducing gun violence and preventing mass shootings, eliminating college loan debt, reversing harmful climate change, and rebuilding ties with America’s allies across the planet.” Read more
JUST A LOCAL RACE — “Jane Castor and David Straz top $5 million mark in Tampa mayor’s race,” by Tampa Bay Times’ Charlie Frago: “When Jane Castor addressed the crowd at Tampa Pride Saturday morning, she said she hoped the parade – banned for eight years earlier this century – would eventually become the biggest Pride gathering the Southeast. Castor, the 59-year-old former police chief, would make history as the city’s first openly-gay mayor if elected on April 23. But her race against 76-year-old retired banker and philanthropist David Straz smashed another record months ago: money.” Read more
PER MORNING MEDIA: "Michael Sallah, a Pulitzer-winning investigative reporter who has had a distinguished career at the Washington Post, Miami Herald and Toledo Blade, is joining BuzzFeed News's investigations team as a Washington-based editor and reporter."
— “Austin Harrouff defense psychiatrist: Suspect in face-biting deaths didn’t know conduct was wrong,” by TCPalm’s Sara Marino: Read more
— “‘We have to stop this crisis,’ says Venezuela’s interim first lady, wife of Juan Guaidó,” by Miami Herald’s Antonio Maria Delgado: Read more
— “Michael Irvin reveals he’s cancer free after scare. ‘You all covered and encourage me,’” by Miami Herald’s David Wilson: Read more
— “Fired city attorney claims racial bias in wrongful termination lawsuit," by Sun Sentinel's Susannah Bryan: Read more
— “Disgraced Tampa lawyer faces prison for stealing $2 million from clients,” by Tampa Bay Times’ Dan Sullivan: Read more
Rep. Peter Deutsch (D-Fla.) is 62 ...
(was Saturday): former
Rep.Patrick Murphy (D-Fla.) turned 36
Want to make an impact? POLITICO Florida has a variety of solutions available for partners looking to reach and activate the most influential people in the Sunshine State. Have a petition you want signed? A cause you're promoting? Seeking to increase brand awareness amongst this key audience? Share your message with our influential readers to foster engagement and drive action. Contact Jesse Shapiro to find out how: [email protected].