Hillary Clinton Archives - Page 2 of 127 - SaintPetersBlog

Charlie Crist, Stephanie Murphy among top GOP targets for 2018

National Republicans, in an effort to boost their majority for the midterms, are targeting top House Democrats over the next two years – including Florida’s Charlie Crist and Stephanie Murphy.

POLITICO first reported on the list of 36 lawmakers coming from the National Republican Congressional Committee, with a particular focus on “blue-collar parts of the country where President Donald Trump is popular.”

Nearly one-third of the districts on the NRCC spreadsheet were taken by President Donald Trump over Hillary Clinton and won by a Democratic House member. Many of those are heavily blue-collar districts in the Midwest, a region Republicans believe see as winnable territory in the Trump era.

Florida’s 13th Congressional District, the district Democrat Crist won in November over incumbent Republican David Jolly, covers much of Pinellas County, which also elected Trump by a single percentage point.

POLITICO notes that there are two Democrats who were not key GOP targets in 2016: Reps. Dave Loebsack of Iowa and Ron Kind from Wisconsin. In 2016, Kind ran unopposed in the West Central Wisconsin district that Trump by more than four points.

“The success of our government depends on Republicans maintaining a strong majority in the House,” NRCC chair Steve Stivers said in a news release. “We owe the American people assurance that the agenda we were elected on — health care reform, a stronger national defense, and more good-paying jobs – is fulfilled.”

Democrats have issued their own list of 59 Republicans, released last month by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. Democrats need a gain of 24 seats in 2018 to take back the House.

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With sanctuary city comment, Rick Kriseman defiant, but misguided

Whether you agree with the rules or you don’t, it’s never wise for a person in authority to say they are not going to follow the law. St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman essentially did that when he stated the following in a blog post:

“While our county sheriff’s office is ultimately responsible for notifying the federal government about individuals who are here illegally, I have no hesitation in declaring St. Petersburg a sanctuary from harmful federal immigration laws,” he wrote.

“We will not expend resources to help enforce such laws, nor will our police officers stop, question or arrest an individual solely on the basis that they may have unlawfully entered the United States. Should our solidarity with ‘Sanctuary Cities’ put in peril the millions of dollars we receive each year from the federal government or via pass-through grants, we will then challenge that decision in court. Win or lose, we will have upheld our values.”

Kriseman was forced to retreat Sunday after Sheriff Bob Gualtieri said his officers would enforce the law. That’s when Kriseman said in an interview that St. Pete isn’t really a so-called Sanctuary City — it just agrees with the concept.

That’s called trying to have it both ways. It usually doesn’t work.

That said, I agree completely with Kriseman that President Trump’s demonization of undocumented immigrants goes against everything America is supposed to stand for. So much about the president’s immigration policy is morally and ethically repugnant, designed to stoke irrational fear among the citizenry.

I just wish Kriseman had taken the approach of Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn. He visited the Islamic Society of Tampa Bay mosque Friday to support those jittery about the travel ban Trump wants to impose on people from seven predominantly Muslim nations.

“This city has your back,” Buckhorn told them. “I don’t care what this President did — that is not who America is. That is not what we represent. That is not what we are all about!”

See the difference in the approaches of the two mayors?

Buckhorn stepped up to the line and maybe jumped up and down on it a bit, but Kriseman stepped over it.

Buckhorn was supportive. Kriseman was defiant.

Both are Democrats, by the way.

Buckhorn told reporters covering the Friday event that Tampa is not a Sanctuary City, but he left enforcement up to his police department. When Kriseman said St. Petersburg police wouldn’t stop someone suspected of being here illegally, that took it a bit too far.

Hence, his retreat Sunday.

That could have repercussions for Kriseman in a re-election bid. While Pinellas County has only 245 more registered Republicans than Democrats (out of 641,484 voters), Trump won there in November by about 5,500 votes over Hillary Clinton.

A recent poll showed Kriseman trailing former St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Baker in a theoretical rematch (Baker has not declared he is running).

That’s a discussion for another day, though.

For now, I’ll give Kriseman high marks for having his heart in the right place. On the rest of it, though, he gets an incomplete.

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Beyonce, Tim Tebow for prez? Invalid votes spiked in Florida

Beyonce, Tim Tebow or the Norse god Thor for prez? Those were some of Florida’s more unusual picks for president this past election.

And the number of Florida voters who didn’t cast a vote for either Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton or any other valid contender spiked in 2016, apparently in protest over the ballot choices.

A report released by state officials Wednesday showed more than 161,000 Florida voters who took part in the elections either at the polls or by mail didn’t cast a valid vote for president.

The “non-valid votes” include those who wrote in such names as Mickey Mouse or Bernie Sanders and others who simply left the ballot blank. It also includes those who voted for more than one candidate.

All told, the invalid ballots outnumbered Republican Trump’s margin of victory over Democrat Clinton of nearly 113,000 votes to clinch Florida’s 29 electoral votes.

And the rate of invalid votes for president in 2016 — 1.69 percent overall — was more than double the rate it was in 2012 and 2008 when President Barack Obama won the state each time.

“There were some people who were very disgruntled,” said Orange County Supervisor of Elections Bill Cowles, giving the read of some fellow election officials on the report.

Independently, he compiled a list showing his own Florida county had write-in votes for president including Beyonce, the former University of Florida quarterback Tebow, Thor of Norse mythology and even one vote for “We Can Do Better.”

There also were a number of write-ins for Sanders, the senator who lost the Democratic nod to Clinton as well as for other Republican or independent candidates.

“I think it was a reflection of the election,” said Cowles, who tracked the names and number of invalid write-in votes even though he was not required to.

Florida’s report — compiled from data collected by all 67 counties — is required after every major election. It got its start after the chaotic 2000 presidential election, which hinged on a contentious recount in Florida famously involving “hanging chads” and more.

In the latest report, Florida Secretary of State Ken Detzner‘s office concluded the spike in “non-valid votes” was not the result of voter confusion or problems with voting equipment.

The report found nearly 65,000 Florida voters left their ballot blank, also known as an “undervote,” while more than 82,000 wrote the name of someone who did not qualify to run for president in Florida.

All told, more than 9.5 million Floridians voted in the election. The total of “non-valid votes” didn’t include nearly 13,000 provision ballots that were also rejected.

Pasco County Supervisor of Elections Brian Corley echoed the view of other local election officials who said the invalid vote spike showed a segment of the electorate was unsatisfied with the two major candidates.

“I would attribute the spike in invalid undervotes to a highly combative presidential election with two polarizing candidates,” Corley said. “I suspect the voter who wrote in an invalid write-in did so deliberately.”

Republished with permission of The Associated Press.

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Hillsborough County Dems add 44 new committee members at January meeting

For Democrats, Donald Trump might be making life a hell on earth. But the president is successful in one thing — uniting them in a way missing throughout the 2016 campaign.

Take the Hillsborough County Democratic Executive Committee, for instance.

On Monday night, the local party added 44 new members to its organization at its monthly meeting at the Children’s Board of Hillsborough County in Ybor City.

It was the third consecutive standing room only meeting for the local party, all coming since Trump defeated Hillary Clinton on November 8.

And unlike their last meeting, which devolved into chaos when some locally elected officials got into shouting matches with DEC members, everyone in the room seemed united, 10 days into the Trump administration.

At that December 5 re-organization meeting, Party Chair Ione Townsend alienated some membership when she ruled that a bylaw prevented nonpartisan DEC members from participating in that night’s election for party officers. The result contributed to Alan Clendenin‘s loss for state committeeman to Russ Patterson, temporarily taking him out of the running for state party chair. He ultimately relocated to Bradford County, where he was elected as a committeeman before ultimately losing his bid for chair to Stephen Bittel earlier this month.

Townsend said the priorities for local Democrats in 2017 was voter engagement, building a bench of candidates to run in 2018 and continue to fundraise, which has been at record levels ever since they brought on former Pinellas chair Mark Hanisee two years ago.

The DEC raised nearly $140,000 for local candidates in 2016, with $46,500 of that going to Andrew Warren, the former federal prosecutor who upset 16-year GOP incumbent Mark Ober in the race for State Attorney.

One man attending Monday night’s meeting said he had never attended a DEC meeting in his life, saying, “I’ve been asleep for 43 years.”

Another man apologized for being an independent, before announcing he was switching to become a Democrat, generating a loud round of applause.

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Kathy Castor is right calling ‘extreme vetting’ order immoral, un-American

It might be easy to dismiss the harsh comments by U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor of Tampa regarding President Donald Trump’s controversial executive order that called for “extreme vetting” of potential refugees from seven Muslim nations.

As Mitch Perry reported Sunday on SaintPetersBlog, Castor said, “President Trump’s executive order targeting and banning legal permanent residents and refugees from war-torn areas is illegal, immoral and un-American.  It has made us less safe.  If the president wants to empower jihadists, this is the way to do it.”

I would expect nothing less from Castor. She is reliably liberal. She is from the opposition party, and Trump’s action is right in the Democrats’ you-were-warned wheelhouse. And she was a staunch supporter of Hillary Clinton.

There is something else to keep in mind, though. In my dealings with Castor, I have found her concern for all people to be genuine and deep. She also is extremely smart and usually says exactly what she believes.

I don’t think she was just trying to make political hay here. I think she was trying to make an important point before this deeply divided nation drives off the edge of the cliff and careens into the abyss.

Did I say divided?

For all the notoriety about President Trump’s Twitter habits, his Facebook page is what raised my eyebrows Monday morning.

His statement explaining the executive order had more than 574,000 reactions – most of which appeared to be positive. The statement also had been shared with other Facebook users more than 213,000 times. And he is doing exactly what he promised to do if elected. More than a few people have said they find that refreshing.

There appeared to be thousands of comments under the statement – I didn’t have time to count them all – and most of them (but not all) were supportive of the president.

One reader noted, “If you’re saying you’re doing this to keep America safe, and now you’re saying you’re doing the same thing President Obama did (in 2011, when he restricted visas for refugees from Iraq), then why did you waste all your time during your campaign saying Obama did nothing to keep America safe?

“And if he’s doing the same thing Obama did, then why are his supporters praising him now but trashed Obama during his entire presidency?”

C’mon, we know the answer to that.

President Trump is playing politics.

The reality of his administration is matching his campaign rhetoric, and it puts Florida (of course) in the middle of the maelstrom. Perhaps inspired by Trump’s jingoistic rants, Gov. Rick Scott last week promised economic reprisals against Florida ports that do business with Cuba.

Part of his reasoning: security.

That seems to be a catch-all word when politicians want to pander to jittery voters. Republicans have demanded tighter border security for years and now they will have it. But at what cost?

Go back to what Castor said about this being “immoral.”

President Trump said Christian refugees would get priority for admission to the U.S. I’m no constitutional scholar, but that sounds dangerously like establishing Christianity as the national religion – something expressly forbidden by the First Amendment. And if we turn our backs on refugees driven from their land by war, that’s not exactly the Christian response.

Our enemies will use that as propaganda, so Castor is right that it will empower jihadists. Our friends will think Ronald Reagan’s shining city on a hill has turned dark and foreboding.

Castor is right when she says that is un-American. This is not who we are. If we’re not careful, though, that’s who we’re going to be.

 

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Blake Dowling: Tech, politics & the Simpsons

The marriage of technology and politics is like the pairing of Katie Holmes and Tom Cruise – a big mess (minus the Scientology shenanigans of course).

Hillary emails, Trump tweets, Ashley Madison’s hack … there’s always something to keep your eye on. Always will be.

With breaches and exposure around every corner, certain key figures inside our government use apps for communication that disappear after a certain amount of time. If any of you readers in Florida Politics-land have teenagers, I’m sure you’ve seen Snapchat on their phone.

Unlike texts, where you can read what they are up to, Snapchat messages vanish.

Well, now there is a Snapchat for adults, and one of those messaging apps is called Signal.

Signal uses end-to-end encrypted messaging; providers keep no record of private communications.

That’s all good to keep national security concerns (and illicit affairs) on the down low? Not so fast.

There’s a little thing called the “Presidential Records Act.” It requires elected officials to keep track of all communications.

For those who care about this sort of thing, it’s driving them crazy – Kitty-Dukakis-guzzling-rubbing-alcohol sort of crazy.

Experts say these officials are breaking retention laws and hiding from public scrutiny. The whole deal is a recipe for corruption, they warn.

Here’s some advice for all involved. If you don’t want anyone to see it, don’t put it in writing, don’t say it on the phone. Ane when you talk in person and cover your mouth like an NFL coach on the sidelines. Capish?

Get on Predict It, and take your best guess on how long before an official charge is made. A month? A week? Place your bets.

If you aren’t familiar with Predict It, you’re really missing the boat. Think Vegas + politics.

Forget sports betting, try making a bet on how many tweets Trump will spit out in a week.

The app is advertised as a “real-money political prediction market.” If you think you know politics, log on — before Predict It becomes illegal too, that is.

There is a lot to take in here. Let’s close with America’s favorite animated family — The Simpsons.

Did you know that in an episode aired 2000 (“Bart to the Future”), guess who was president? That’s right, Donald Trump.

It’s all real folks, and it’s coming at you like a warm can of Budweiser shaken for about five minutes. You just can’t make this stuff up, it’s called 2017.

Who knows? Maybe I will run for office. Let’s do this!

 ___

Blake Dowling is CEO of Aegis Business Technologies and writes for several organizations. He can be reached at dowlingb@aegisbiztech.com

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Political football: For some, Super Bowl reflects U.S. divide

Not even the grandest of American sports spectacles is immune to the nation’s deep political divisions.

Patriots fans have spent nearly two full seasons being reminded of the close friendship between President Donald Trump and their team’s three top figures — owner Robert Kraft, star quarterback Tom Brady and coach Bill Belichick.

As the Super Bowl approaches, that has put the typically united Patriots Nation at odds over how hard to celebrate a team chasing its fifth Super Bowl win under Brady and Belichick. New England faces the Atlanta Falcons on Feb. 5.

Some fans in the northeastern states that backed Democrat Hillary Clinton in the November presidential election say they’re struggling to reconcile their football loyalties with their distaste for Trump. Many other fans — more than 1 million people voted for Trump in Massachusetts alone, Clinton won by less than 3,000 votes in New Hampshire and Trump picked up one of four electoral votes in Maine — say critics are simply injecting politics where it doesn’t belong.

“It’s pathetic. We have a double standard where if you admit you like Trump, you get blasted by the media,” said Brian Craig, a Lowell, Massachusetts, Republican who voted for Trump. “If Brady endorsed Hillary, no one would care.”

Plenty of people put politics aside completely when they root for their teams. But after an election that magnified the country’s deep differences of opinion, the Super Bowl matchup offers easy symbolic foils for anyone inclined to play politics.

Trump’s friendship with Brady has been fodder for sports talk radio and local news in New England since September 2015, when one of Trump’s trademark red “Make America Great Again” hats was spotted in Brady’s locker and the quarterback said it would be “great” if the GOP hopeful in a crowded primary field won it all.

Most of Atlanta is represented by longtime Democratic U.S. Rep. John Lewis, who has been excoriated by Trump because he boycotted the inauguration and doesn’t consider Trump a “legitimate” president because of intelligence reports of Russian involvement in the election. Trump won Georgia in November with more than 2 million votes.

“It’s been very tough,” said Segun Idowu, a Boston civil rights activist who grew up in Massachusetts, went to college in Atlanta, voted for Clinton and will likely be rooting for the Patriots. “The Trump versus Lewis metaphor seems apt to me.”

Patrick Dugan, a Clinton voter from West Hartford, Connecticut, said his Patriots fanhood has become “increasingly lukewarm” because of the team’s Trump connections.

“You can’t put that genie back in the bottle,” he said. “It’s out there at this point. And once it’s out there, it colors how you look at them, whether you want it to or not.”

Trump drew attention to his relationships with the Patriots several times throughout his campaign and leading up to his inauguration, including an election eve rally where he read a glowing letter from Belichick and claimed Brady voted for him, prompting a denial from the quarterback’s supermodel wife, Gisele Bundchen.

Brady, for his part, hasn’t revealed his vote and questioned this week why his long friendship with Trump is “such a big deal” after being asked whether he called the Republican to congratulate him, as Trump claimed in a speech attended by Kraft the night before his inauguration.

“If you know someone, it doesn’t mean that you agree with everything they say or do,” Brady said.

Indeed, few recent marriages of sports and politics have caused this much hand-wringing. There was relatively little furor when basketball megastar LeBron James — fresh off winning a title for the Cleveland Cavaliers — endorsed and stumped for Clinton in his home state of Ohio, which Trump won anyway; or when now-ousted Bills coach Rex Ryan introduced Trump at a campaign rally in Buffalo last year.

As president, Trump drew on his sports connections when he tapped New York Jets owner Woody Johnson as the next U.S. ambassador to Britain. And Peyton Manning, the retired Denver Broncos quarterback who won the Super Bowl last year, joined Trump and other leaders in Philadelphia on Thursday night as Republican lawmakers gathered to map out their congressional agenda.

Conversations on Twitter, Facebook and other social networks show the Patriots have certainly won over some new fans because of the Trump ties.

And many in Patriots Nation are certainly dreaming of sweet revenge if NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has to hand the championship trophy to Brady. Goodell suspended Brady for four games at the start of this season for using underinflated footballs in a playoff game, a case that winded through two federal courts and spurred lots of disdain for Goodell among Patriots fans.

For plenty of others, the Trump association is just another reason to dislike a franchise that’s enjoyed unprecedented success but has also been the part of two high-profile cheating scandals (“Spygate” and “Deflategate”) and whose coach cultivates a gruff, stand-offish persona.

“I want the Falcons to win for normal sports fan reasons, but I want the Patriots to lose in embarrassing fashion for political reasons,” said Todd Moye, who grew up in Atlanta and now lives in Fort Worth, Texas.

As the Super Bowl approaches, some skeptical New Englanders say they’ve made their peace with politics and, for now, are just focused on the game.

“I have family members who support Trump. I’m not going to write them off, either,” said Clinton voter Jack Peterson of Fairhaven, Massachusetts. “You just try to compartmentalize.”

Republished with permission of The Associated Press.

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No, Donald Trump did not win the popular vote!

Shortly after defeating Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential election, Donald Trump claimed he would have won the popular vote if not for “millions of people who voted illegally. He then revived those comments after the inauguration in a Twitter post that set off a political firestorm.

Trump has called for “a major investigation” of voter fraud, although the issue has been widely examined by legislative bodies and academic scholars. The conclusions have almost always been the same:  fraud happens, but it is limited and isolated. It has not taken place on the massive scale that Trump implies.

Trump lost the popular vote to Hillary Clinton by almost 3 million votes, and no one can find 300 cases of vote fraud in the election, let alone 3 million.

President Trump stands alone in his claim of massive electoral fraud, even among his Republican colleagues. Speaker Paul Ryan told reporters he found no evidence of vote fraud and South Carolina Senator Lindsay Graham told Trump to “knock this off.” Graham argued that Trump is undermining his own political legitimacy and credibility in pursuing his bogus claims.

Even President Trump’s own attorneys disagreed with him in defending him against the voter recount in Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania brought by Green Party candidate Jill Stein. Trump’s lawyers told the court that “all available evidence suggests that the 2016 general election was not tainted by fraud or mistake.”

State supervisors of elections, most of whom are Republicans, have uniformly claimed there was little evidence of fraud, especially the massive amounts claimed by Trump.

Ohio Supervisor of Elections Jon Husted commented that there was “no evidence of widespread fraud.” The National Association of Secretaries of States wrote that “we are not aware of any evidence that supports the vote fraud claims by President Trump, but we are open to learning more about the administration’s concerns.”

Critics of the president find it surprising that Trump sees fraud where his own party members see none, but that he fails to see the Soviet influence in the presidential election although the American intelligence community uniformly concluded that the Soviets were directly involved in attempting to influence the election.

What is Trump’s evidence that voter fraud exists?  According to Sean Spicer, President Trump’s press secretary, Trump believes that ‘vote fraud and people voting illegally during the campaign and continues to maintain that belief based on studies and evidence people have brought to him.”

I would love to see that evidence. So would every political reporter and supervisor of election in America.

Spicer cites a Pew report from 2008 that he claims found that 14 percent of voters were non-citizens. Unfortunately, the authors of that study say it does not say that.

Spicer also cites a 2012 Pew study that found there were almost 2 million dead voters and 2.7 million voters were registered to vote in two cities or states. No one denies that there are dead voters on the registration rolls or that many people are registered to vote in two places. This is not illegal unless the dead attempt to vote along with those registered in multiple jurisdictions.

It was somewhat embarrassing when it was found that Trump’s daughter Tiffany was registered to vote in both New York and Pennsylvania. Steve Bannon, Trump’s campaign and political adviser, was registered in Sarasota and New York and his nominee for Treasury Secretary, Steve Mnuchin, was registered in California and New York.

Election officials are constantly “cleansing” the rolls of dead voters and those who have moved. Unless an individual notifies election officials of their move, it will take some time to remove them from the rolls.

So, did almost 3 million individuals illegally vote for Hillary Clinton in 2016 allowing her to win the popular vote. No, is the simple answer. If you can get 3 million people to cast illegal votes, you ought to make sure they vote in the closely competitive states where the electoral vote was needed.

According to the highly-respected Brennan Center, vote fraud in elections generally runs between .00004% and .0009%. Trump is wasting his time, as well as the nation’s time, in focusing on an issue he has no credibility. He is also impugning the integrity of the electoral process which may have devastating long-term consequences.

President Trump, don’t waste your time and political resources in trying to prove the unprovable. You won. Move on to more important things.

___

Darryl Paulson is Emeritus Professor of Government at Unioversity of South Florida St. Petersburg.

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Bill Nelson sounds off on Donald Trump’s “rocky” first week in office

Although U.S. Senator Bill Nelson’s press conference on Wednesday in Tampa was ostensibly to discuss President Donald Trump’s campaign pledge to spend up to one trillion dollars improving the nation’s infrastructurehe spent considerable time discussing – and criticizing- some of the moves that the newly-inaugurated president has made in his first week in office.

Nelson has voted against Jeff Sessions for Attorney General and Mike Pompeo for CIA Director, and he says he’ll oppose Rex Tillerson when the former ExxonMobil CEO’s name comes up for a confirmation vote for Secretary of State. When asked why at a press conference in Tampa, Nelson said just two words.

“Vladimir Putin.”

When asked to elaborate, Nelson simply said he didn’t feel comfortable with Tillerson’s past relationships with the Russian leader.

In his confirmation hearing before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee earlier this month, Florida’s other U.S. Senator, Marco Rubio, was remarkably aggressive in questioning Tillerson, asking him at one point if he thought Putin was a war criminal. But Rubio ultimately voted for Tillerson in committee earlier this week.

Regarding Steven Mnuchin, Trump’s choice as Treasury Secretary, Nelson said he has not made up his mind, even after speaking with him personally.

“There are a number of things that trouble me about him,” he said about the former partner of Goldman Sachs and hedge fund manager. “He’s got some tax issues. But the main thing is it’s kind of an attitude that – ‘I know better than you’ – and for a Treasury Secretary who has the tremendous responsibility to keep our economy on an even keel, that concerns me.”

Mnuchin initially failed to disclose $100 million in assets last week, which he called an “unintentional” oversight.

Meanwhile, Democrats have accused a potential conflict of interest for Tom Price, Trump’s selection at HHS, saying he held more than $100,000 in stock in companies that could have benefited from legislation he promoted.

In 2009, former Democratic Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle withdrew  his nomination by Barack Obama to become Health and Human Services secretary, amidst a scandal involving unpaid taxes. When asked if there had been a lowering of standards in vetting cabinet selections, Nelson said they had not been lowered in terms of how he votes.

Meanwhile, Trump repeated his false claim on Wednesday hat at least three million illegal immigrants cast ballots for Hillary Clinton, calling for an investigation into voter fraud, even though his own legal team has previously argued that no such fraud occurred.

Nelson said it “well documented” how little voter fraud there actually is in the U.S., and told the reporter who asked that it was “illustrative of our times that you have to ask that question.”

He grew quite passionate, however, in claiming that there’s been voter suppression in Florida and around the nation, and spent several minutes discussing specific examples in and outside of Florida.

Nelson also was dismissive of Trump’s call on Wednesday to begin plans to construct a border security fence on the Mexican border, saying that a “multiplicity of things” can be done to  protect our borders.

“This, unfortunately has gotten into a political issue,” he said, “and one particular demographic group is being singled out and I think unfairly,” referring to Mexicans.

When asked to describe Trump’s first week in office, Nelson described it simply as “rocky.”

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NBA figures turning up rhetoric on Donald Trump

It is safe to say President Donald Trump has a few detractors. Many of his supporters tend to keep their views to themselves, but those opposed to him, especially those in the entertainment world, often have a lot to say.

Sports figures, including those aligned with the NBA, are beginning to share their views. Players such as LeBron James make no secret of their disdain for the 45th President. Some coaches and owners are joining the forum.

Steve Kerr and Gregg Popovich might be on opposite sides when their teams meet on the court, but there is something they have in common. The Golden State Warriors‘ coach and San Antonio Spurs‘ head man are not big fans of the President.

Both coaches were prompted to comment on the tumultuous opening days of the Trump Administration on days their teams scored impressive road victories. One took the humor route, while the other was significantly harsher.

On Sunday, after the Warriors blew away the Orlando Magic, Kerr had the chance to use sarcasm instead of venom.

Kerr, who briefly played for the Magic in 1992-93, was introduced before the game by Magic PA Announcer Paul Porter as a “former Magic star.” Kerr was asked in the postgame interview if that was an example of “alternative facts,” the term used to describe an incorrect statement provided by White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer on Saturday.

Kerr averaged 2.6 points per game during his brief Magic stay, so he took the chance to jab Spicer.

“Sean Spicer will be talking about my Magic career any second now,” Kerr told reporters. “14,000 points. Greatest Magic player ever.”

Popovich, on the other hand, was far more direct. Before his team scored a huge victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers, he was prompted to comment on the President.

“All of the things he said (during the campaign), if our children would have said it, we would have grounded them for six months,” he said. “But we ignore all of that, because…because why? That says something about all of us.”

It’s not the first time either coach has commented on Trump and it likely will not be the last. Shortly after the election, Popovich described the fact Trump is leading our country as “disgusting.”

Sports figures, like anyone else, are free to offer their political opinions. They have the right to say what they think, just as much as those hearing the message can tune it out or react negatively to it.

Popovich and Kerr are at the top of their profession and can feel free to comment without significant fallout from their fan base as long as their teams keep winning. How many coaches with losing records are commenting on political issues?

Another well-known NBA figure with anti-Trump views is Dallas Mavericks’ owner Mark Cuban. The star of “Shark Tank” openly campaigned for Hillary Clinton and called Trump “bat **** crazy” on the trail.

Yet, he is taking a “wait-and-see” attitude on President Trump. To the surprise of many, Cuban is not piling on.

“Rather than shadow boxing about what he might do, I’d rather deal with what he does,” Cuban said. “And there are some positive things and some negative things, just like with any president.”

If the economy grows like Trump predicts, entrepreneurs like Cuban will benefit, which makes his comments a smart approach. He has far more business interests than just the Mavericks.

If the Spurs or the Warriors win the NBA Championship, will the team accept invitations to the White House as other champions before them? If the Cavaliers repeat, there will clearly be some issues, according to forward Richard Jefferson. James will “cross that bridge” when it appears.

Who will be next to step in the spotlight?

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