The Delegation for 05.18.17 — Insights from the Beltway to the Sunshine State

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Great Flood of 2017 rocks Washington

Some political wordsmiths might call it the Great Flood of 2017 in Washington. No, the Potomac has not crested its banks. No water main has ruptured.

This is all about what began as occasional damaging leaks to the media involving President Trump. Those leaks have turned into a tsunami of stories and narratives that is paralyzing the executive and legislative branches.

Just this week alone, leakers set the detonators for two bombshells. On Monday, it was the Washington Post reporting on information slipped to them that Trump had given “highly classified information” to Russian officials.

Delegation Democrats voiced their outrage, while Republicans did not excuse the alleged breach, but were much more circumspect.

On Tuesday, the New York Times reported, via another leak, that Trump had asked former FBI Director James Comey to end the investigation against former national security advisor Michael Flynn. Boca Raton Democrat Ted Deutch offered comments reflective  of the mood within his party.

“The President asked the FBI Director to shut down one investigation, then fired the FBI Director in order to shut down another investigation,” Deutch said in a statement as he further repeated the call for an independent investigation.

Everyone, Republican and Democrat, can agree the leaks have elevated the regular media revelations to flood stage. The trouble began with leaked information on Flynn’s call to Russian officials, as well as Trump’s conversation with Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, to name just two.

Back-to-back, cycle-dominating leaked stories like never seen before leads to another analogy. Trump is being compared to Richard Nixon, who was desperate to stop the leaking within his administration.

History tells us how Nixon’s “plumbers” helped turn an uncomfortable situation into a catastrophe. His ultimate fate was determined by testimony before Congress and an aggressive special counsel.

With the appointment of respected former FBI Director Robert Mueller to that role late Wednesday, the leaks should slow to a trickle. For those that perpetrated illegal leaks of unmasked surveillance subjects, it would be in their best interests to turn off the spigot.

Meanwhile, here are this week’s insights from the Beltway to the Sunshine State.

Delegation reacts to Trump’s revelations to Russians

Several of Florida’s delegation, mostly Democrats, reacted with disbelief to news reports — and later tweets from President Trump himself — that he shared classified, high sensitive ISIS information with Russian diplomats last week.

— “If the story is true, this is a serious breach of security and will have lasting and dangerous consequences for the U.S.” – Sen. Bill Nelson.

— “Reports of President Trump sharing highly sensitive information with Russian officials is extremely concerning. This underscores the need for a Special Prosecutor to investigate this administration’s ties to Russia.” – Rep. Al Lawson, a Tallahassee Democrat in a Facebook post

— “Trump betrays our country & allies when he leaks classified info to Russia.” – Rep. Darren Soto, an Orlando Democrat, in a Tweet

— “If these allegations are true, they are inexcusable and deserve immediate action from Congress. In leaking this kind of intelligence, the President would be putting lives in danger. Our allies need to know that they can trust us.” – Rep. Val Demings, an Orlando Democrat

— “The news that the president gave highly classified information to the Russian foreign minister and Russian ambassador in the Oval Office is deeply, deeply disturbing. His actions are indefensible. They delivered a self-inflicted wound to our national security, imperiling secret, sensitive operations overseas battling ISIS, putting the lives of our operatives in grave danger. Congress must exercise its oversight responsibilities immediately. The repercussions of the disclosure, and measures to prevent the President from repeating such a serious error, must be weighed.” – Rep. Charlie Crist, a St. Petersburg Democrat

— “When you betray the trust of our allies and national security partners, it jeopardizes our safety and future intelligence sharing. As the former vice chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, I can’t stress enough how serious of a blunder this is. It is imperative that Congress is given a full briefing on the extent of the damage that President Donald John Trump has caused in compromising highly classified code-word intelligence to the Russians.” – Rep. Alcee Hastings, Miramar Democrat

— “It is shocking that President Trump shared classified information reportedly obtained by Israel with the Russians. Not only does this endanger Israel’s intelligence network, but it puts highly sensitive information into the hands of Russia – a partner of Israel’s enemies Syria, Iran, and its proxy Hezbollah. Intelligence cooperation between the United States and Israel has always been a cornerstone of our relationship, and to jeopardize this while boasting to the Russians puts America’s national security and Israel’s security at serious risk.” – Rep. Ted Deutch, a Boca Raton Democrat

Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, shown here in January 2016, said the disclosure of highly classified material would be “gravely dangerous.” (AP Photo/Stephen B. Morton)

— “If true, news reports indicate that President Trump compromised America’s intelligence gathering operations and security, and possibly harmed a relationship with a key ally and put lives at risk. His disclosure would be a gravely dangerous compromise of classified information with an adversary. Congress needs an immediate and full briefing on what damage has been done.” – Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, a Weston Democrat

— “As president, Trump has the right to declassify anything he wants, but that doesn’t mean it’s the right thing to do. Russia is not our friend, and the sooner he realizes that, the better off our country will be.” – Rep. Frederica Wilson, a Miami Gardens Democrat

— “Putin and the Russian regime are dangerous players in the global arena. They are not our allies and cannot be trusted with sensitive, classified information.” – Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart, a Miami Republican

— “No one should share classified information with nations like #Russia that have interests adverse to ours.” – Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, a Miami Republican in a Tweet

Not all the responses were critical of Trump, though. Rockledge Republican Rep. Bill Posey argued that if the concerns are real and serious, the sources who brought the story forward need to be taking their concerns to Congress, not offering unnamed source tips to the media.

“The President has the authority to make decisions regarding our national security and work with other nations to combat international terrorism,” he said. “It’s time for these unnamed sources to come forward and inform Congress and the public of any specific allegations.”

Florida think tank urges Nelson, Rubio to reject GOP health care bill

A Florida-based think tank is warning the Republican-supported health care bill will severely harm those on Medicaid if enacted. The Florida Policy Institute touts a recent study by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities that claims if the American Health Care Act (AHCA) becomes law, 2.35 million women and girls would be harmed.

The U.S. House of Representatives passed the legislation by four votes on May 4. The Senate is now contemplating changes or a possible re-write.

“It’s not enough for the U.S. Senate to simply reject the House’s version of the ‘repeal and replace’ American Health Care Act – they need to reject any bill that does not preserve Medicaid expansion, institutes per capita caps or block grants or eliminates protections for essential benefits and people with pre-existing conditions,” said Joseph Pennisi, executive director of the FPI, in a news release.

Citing the Florida Agency for Health Care Administration, FPI makes the case that Medicaid “covers 63 percent of all deliveries in Florida.” Of the women and girls on Medicaid, 37 percent are white, 33 percent are Hispanic and 25 percent are African-American.

“It is crucial for the U.S. Senate to protect this program, not cut it or radically restructure it,” said Pennisi. “I urge Senators Bill Nelson and Marco Rubio to protect the health of their constituents and accept only legislation that does not cap or cut Medicaid, fully protects vulnerable populations and preserves expansion.”

Crist, Rubio team up to unite Florida family

Last week, Florida’s junior senator tweeted out a story from the Tampa Bay Times about a St. Petersburg business owner struggling to get her son-in-law into the U.S. from Vietnam. The article, “Charlie Crist and Marco Rubio: A love story” was enough to attract political names when the words Rubio, Crist and love were used in the same sentence.

Working on behalf of the same constituent, both Crist and Rubio’s Orlando office helped facilitate the arrival of the son-in-law. Rubio learned of the collaboration at the first meeting of the full delegation in January, which was held in the Senator’s office.

Sen. Marco Rubio and Rep. Charlie Crist, once political nemeses, worked together to help bring a St. Petersburg business owner’s son-in-law into the United States from Vietnam.

“You may not know this, but your office in Orlando and I are working on getting a Vietnamese husband to be with his wife,” Crist told Rubio at the end of the delegation meeting.

Rubio’s office pressed harder and the family sent photos taken with Crist to Vietnam. One month later, the husband was in Florida.

“ ‘Good news’ story in turbulent time,” Rubio tweeted with a link to the story. “Neither party nor politics should keep us from helping Floridians.”

Local governments offer support for Gaetz’s military budget request

Rep. Matt Gaetz, the freshman Republican from Fort Walton Beach, has gained the support of five county governments on one of his signature issues. Gaetz is seeking $30 million to expand the training area of the northern portion of the Gulf Test Range, which is currently limited to a portion of the Gulf of Mexico due south of Eglin Air Force Base.

According to Gaetz, the resulting congestion has prevented numerous training missions and fighter aircraft from “undertaking mission-relevant training.” Last week the County Commissions in Escambia, Santa Rosa, Okaloosa, Walton and Holmes County signed resolutions supporting Gaetz’s efforts. All five counties are in the First Congressional District represented by Gaetz.

“We must expand and modernize the Gulf Test Range, so we can better train America’s next generation of heroes,” Gaetz said in a statement. “The more they prepare on the training field, the more effective they will be on the battlefield.”

While thanking the counties for their support, Gaetz added his commitment to the members of the military, many of which he represents in Congress.

“The brave men and women in our military don’t stop working until the job is done,” he said. “Neither will I.”

Dunn joins colleagues in urging repeal of sequestration

The Panama City Republican believes the time is now to end the defense budget restraints known as sequestration. Dunn joined with 140 of his colleagues in a letter to House Speaker Paul Ryan calling for an end to the budget practice.

“Sequestration diminishes our military’s readiness, impedes our ability to deter adversaries effectively, and ravages our defense communities across the country,” the letter said.

Among those joining Dunn in signing the letter were Republicans Ileana Ros-Lehtinen of Miami, Gus Bilirakis of Palm Harbor, Dennis Ross of Lakeland, Bill Posey of Rockledge and Brian Mast of Hutchinson Island.

The Republican lawmakers indicated sequestration is set to reduce national defense spending by $500 billion over the course of a decade. Dunn made his own case in a recent op-ed.

“We have hollowed out our armed forces, leaving them with tools and weapons that are decades old at a time when technology is leaping forward faster than ever,” he wrote. “Their vehicles, aircraft, and weapons systems were designed for another time, and they have been used relentlessly in battle, long past their designed lifespan.”

The lawmakers urged Ryan to schedule a vote on repeal.

After threats, Yoho’s Gainesville office changing procedures

Since the Gainesville Republican voted in support of the American Health Care Act, the congressman and his district staffers have been on the receiving end of hundreds of angry phone calls and threats, his spokesman says.

The Ocala StarBanner reports some constituents are said to have left piles of dog feces at the front door of his Gainesville office and even vandalized a staff member’s car. As a result, Yoho’s Gainesville office temporarily stopped allowing walk-ins, and his staff is now meeting with constituents on an appointment-only basis.

“We completely get the emotion involved in legislation,” said Brian Kaveney, a Yoho spokesman. “But when it starts getting to the point where you feel you’re in danger, you have to take precautions.”

Kaveney said the change only applies to the Gainesville office and was recommended by federal police. Anytime a member of Congress or their staff is threatened, Capitol Hill police must be notified, he said. Yoho’s Orange Park, Palatka and Marion County offices will maintain normal business hours and allow walk-ins.

According to Kaveney, some of the threats and vandalism include paint on a staff member’s car, the dog poop, a direct threat to a staffer and a chalk outline of a body outside the Gainesville office.

Paulson’s Principles: The jury delivers a fatal blow to Corrine Brown

In 1992, Corrine Brown was one of three blacks elected to the Florida congressional delegation, the first black members of Congress since the end of Reconstruction in the 1880s.

For 28 years, Congresswoman Brown’s campaign theme was “Corrine Delivers.” This time, it was a federal court jury that delivered a fatal blow to Brown’s political career. Combined with her electoral defeat in November, 2016 to Al Lawson of Tallahassee in a newly drawn district, there is little doubt that Brown has reached the end of along career.

The jury found Brown guilty of 18 of the 22 counts and potentially faces hundreds of years in prison and millions in fines. U.S. District Judge Timothy Corrigan did not set a sentencing date, but it will be handed down within 120 days.

Brown was accused of raising over $800,000 for her One Door Educational Foundation. Donors believed the Foundation was a properly registered 501(c)(3) non-profit. It was not.

In fact, only one $1,200 scholarship was handed out. Over $300,000 of the funds were used to promote Brown at concerts, football games and magazine ads. Another $141,000 in untraceable cash was funneled to Brown over the years. Funds were removed from the One Door account and deposited into Brown’s personal bank account.

Even with her $175,000 congressional salary and her Florida legislative pension, prosecutors showed that Brown was spending $1,438 more each month than she was earning.

Acting U.S. Attorney W. Stephen Muldrow said Brown “chose greed and personal gain over the sacred trust given to her by the community that she served for many years.”

FBI agent Charles Spencer of Jacksonville noted that “corrupt public officials undermine the integrity of our government and violate the public’s trust, and that is why investigating public corruption remains the FBI’s top crime priority.”

Brown has long had the reputation of playing the victim. She called the charges and the trial a “half-truth witch-hunt.” She accused the U.S. Justice Department of racism in bringing the charges. With Obama in the White House and Eric Holder as the first black attorney general, the charge lacked credibility.

Brown’s attorney, James Smith, announced that “this is just the first quarter and there is plenty of time left.” Many would argue the clock has run out for Brown. Smith has promised to file a motion for a new trial, but Brown had to sell her beach house to pay for legal expenses for this trial.

Brown did deliver for Jacksonville and her Congressional District for 28 years. Former Jacksonville Mayor John Delaney, a force in Republican Party politics, said a Lawson electoral victory or a Brown loss in her criminal case would be devastating for Jacksonville. “Lawson’s all about Tallahassee,” he said.

Brown lost her congressional campaign and criminal case and now may lose her personal freedom. Corrine may have “delivered” for Jacksonville for decades, but a federal jury delivered the death blow for Brown’s political career.

DeSantis wants IRS Commissioner to follow Comey out the door

The Republican from Ponte Vedra Beach weighed in on the controversial firing of FBI Director James Comey last week. While he agrees with President Trump on that high profile personnel move, he makes the point that one other high-level agency head should be on his way out as well.

After Comey’s ouster, Rep. DeSantis wonders why Internal Revenue Service Commissioner John Koskinen is still at his desk. Despite “arrogance” and “incompetence,” Koskinen’s removal should have been “a no-brainer,” DeSantis argues.

“After all, this is the guy who presided over the stonewalling of the IRS targeting investigation and who made a number of false statements before Congressional committees,” DeSantis said in an email to constituents.

Despite his total agreement in the firing of Comey, with concurring opinions by Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, DeSantis believes there is a fundamental difference between the two cases.

“Unlike Koskinen, Comey has been effective in a number of areas, such as his support of law enforcement,” DeSantis said.

Soto wants to declare Kissimmee River ‘Wild and Scenic’

Rep. Soto said he plans to sponsor legislation to protect the Kissimmee River with a designation under the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act.

If approved, it would enact broad protections for the river, which starts in Osceola County’s Little Lake Tohopekaliga and, at least in its original bed, meanders 103 miles before emptying into Lake Okeechobee, and providing the Everglades with one of its largest sources of water.

Soto, speaking at a town hall meeting in Orlando focusing on environmental issues, called for widespread actions to address Florida’s natural environment, particularly the Everglades, and announced that as part of that he will introduce a bill to put the Kissimmee River into the class of the nation’s most protected and revered rivers.

“The Kissimmee River has an unusual windiness to us which allows the water to be cleaned. If it’s a Wild and Scenic River, that’ll limit what activities can be done on there, primarily recreational,” Soto said. “Right now there’s not much other than recreational happening there. But there is nothing in the law to stop that. So we want to enshrine it into law. And then we’ll be able to get federal funds.”

The Wild and Scenic River Act of 1972 has three designations: wild, scenic and recreational, with varying degrees of restrictions. Nationally more than 200 rivers are in the system, covering about 12,700 miles, representing less than one half of one percent of the nation’s rivers, according to the U.S. National and Wild Scenic Rivers Office.

In Florida, just two rivers are enrolled, the Wekiva River in Central Florida, and the Loxahatchee River along the Treasure Coast.

Demings, Ros-Lehtinen spend Mother’s Day with female troops in Middle East

The Orlando Democrat and Miami Republican made a week-long visit to visit troops in Afghanistan and Iraq this week, including a Mother’s Day visit at which Rep.  Demings was able to deliver cards from students in her Florida’s 10th Congressional District.

Demings and Rep. Ros-Lehtinen were part of a bipartisan group of members of Congress to make the tour to conduct oversight of U.S. operations in Afghanistan and Iraq with a focus on the contribution, efforts, and concerns of women in the United States Armed Forces and local women.

Reps. Val Demings and Ilena Ros-Lehtinen pose with military moms during a recent stop in Afghanistan.

“This was my first trip to Afghanistan and Iraq, and it was such an honor to meet with our female troops and commanders, and see firsthand the difference they are making in Afghanistan and Iraq all while protecting our homeland,” Demings stated in a news release issued by her office.

The delegation met with U.S. female service members, toured local businesses, participated in roundtables with Afghan Female Police and Soldiers, met with Iraqi women leaders, and humanitarian leaders. Others in the group in clouded U.S. Reps. Martha Roby, an Alabama Republican; Susan Davis, a California Democrat; Susan Brooks, an Indiana Republican; and members of the House Armed Services Committee.

Bilirakis makes futile plea to Trump to focus on Turkish human rights

Rep. Bilirakis had a request for President Trump before the latter met with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan at the White House Tuesday. The Palm Harbor Republican called on the president to bring up the deteriorating state of human rights in Turkey during their sit-down talks.

“As it is a critical moment for Turkey and the U.S.-Turkish relationship, the United States must be candid and consistent in our support of democratic values and respect for human rights for the sake of Turkey’s future, as well as the long-term interests in the region of both the United States and our NATO allies,” Bilirakis and a bipartisan collection of colleagues said in a letter made available Tuesday afternoon.

“We, therefore, urge you to make support for Turkish democracy a priority, both in your meetings with President Erdogan and in U.S. policy toward Turkey thereafter.”

Also signing the letter, cc’d to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, was Jacksonville Republican John Rutherford, Orlando Democrats Darren Soto and Stephanie Murphy, Boca Raton Democrat Ted Deutch, Gainesville Republican Ron DeSantis, and Weston Democrat Debbie Wasserman-Schultz.

Either Trump didn’t get the message or he ignored it. The Independent (U.K.) reports Trump “made no mention of human rights during a friendly press conference” with Erdogan.

After the talks, Turkish security staff roughed up protestors outside the country’s embassy in Washington. Some were left bloodied.

Bilirakis is the co-chair of the House Hellenic Caucus.

T. Rooney target of ethics complaint

The Okeechobee Republican drew the attention of a liberal interest group for publicly calling for the defeat of Sen. Bill Nelson. The American Democracy Legal Fund filed a complaint against Rep. Rooney with the House Office of Congressional Ethics for issuing a statement saying, in part, “I hope Florida voters replace (Nelson) next year in the 2018 election.”

“Rep. Rooney violated the House’s prohibition on the use of official resources when he issued a press release on his official House website announcing his opposition to Florida Senator Bill Nelson’s reelection and condemning his decision not to support cloture for Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch,” the group said in announcing their action.

The American Democracy Legal Fund is a Washington, DC-based advocacy group founded by David Brock. Brock is well-known as the founder of the conservative media critic site Media Matters.

Rooney responded to the complaint when asked about it by the Tampa Bay Times.

“I in no way, shape or form endorsed any candidate,” Rooney said. “I merely said that Bill Nelson, in my opinion, for political reasons opposed a guy he supported 10 years ago and nothing has changed with (Gorsuch’s) judicial acumen or character, which is the standard by which senators are supposed to confirm Supreme Court justices.”

In the end, Rooney said “maybe I shouldn’t have used the word ‘election’ and maybe we should change it to ‘I hope he’s no longer the Senator if he is going to act in such a political way.”

Rooney has said he will not be a candidate for the Senate in 2018, but may run in the future.

House Majority PAC targets Mast in new ads

Rep. Brian Mast is among six Republicans being targeted by the House Majority PAC, a political committee aimed at helping Democrats win seats in the U.S. House.

The 30-second digital spot focuses on his vote to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, often called Obamacare, with the American Health Care Act. The ad claims the measure could allow insurance companies to charge older people five times as much as they charge younger people for premiums, citing an AARP report.

“It is critical that we expose House Republicans for their dreadful plan that includes an ‘age tax’ – charging people over 50 years old up to five times more for their coverage. All the while, these same House Republicans have taken six-figures or more in campaign contributions from insurance and financial interests,” said Charlie Kelly, executive director of House Majority PAC, in a statement. The American public deserves to know the truth about the House Republican plan, and we intend to hold them accountable delivering a clear and effective message in districts around the country over the coming weeks and months.”

Similar ads will air in districts targeting Reps. Dana Rohrabacher of California, Erik Paulsen of Minnesota, Lee Zeldin and John Faso of New York, and John Culberson of Texas.

Deutch, Curbelo have joint praise for Rex Tillerson

It’s not the kind of headline readers expect to see very often, but the two south Florida lawmakers had kind words for the Secretary of State after he signed an international agreement acknowledging the threat posed by climate change to the Arctic region.

At a meeting of countries in the region, called the Arctic Council, Tillerson signed the agreement called the Fairbanks Declaration. The document notes that among other things, the Arctic region is “warming at more than twice the rate of the global average” and “resilience and adaptation to climate change are important to Arctic communities and ecosystems.”

“I’m surprised and cautiously pleased by the Secretary’s move,” said Rep. Ted Deutch said in a joint release. “If the administration is signaling that it is ready to get serious on climate change, the President should unequivocally reaffirm our pledge to the Paris Agreement and follow through with climate-friendly policies.”

“American leadership on climate stewardship is essential to reducing greenhouse gas emissions worldwide, and by keeping a seat at the table, we have an opportunity to ensure our research, ingenuity, and innovation are part of global conversation and initiatives,” said Rep. Carlos Curbelo.

Deutch and Curbelo are co-chairs of the House Climate Solutions Caucus.

In response to a question, Curbelo talks impeachment, obstruction of justice

The Republican from Kendall became one of the first among his party to discuss “impeachment” when responding to questions surrounding this week’s revelations concerning President Trump. Curbelo did not call for impeachment, but left open the possibility.

“Obstruction of justice in the case of Nixon, in the case of Clinton in the late 90’s, has been considered an impeachable offense,” Curbelo said on CNN this week.

He did not say Trump was guilty of obstruction of justice or any wrongdoing. “It may be very serious, it may be nothing,” Curbelo said. The key, Curbelo believes, is James Comey.

“We have to hear from Director Comey,” Curbelo told CNN’s Don Lemon.

Many of Curbelo’s Florida colleagues agreed for the need to have Comey testify.

Graham snags big endorsement in run for Governor

The former Congresswoman from the 2nd District picked up a huge endorsement in her run for the Democratic nomination for governor of Florida. Civil rights icon John Lewis is backing his former colleague.

“Only one Democrat for Governor of Florida —my good friend Gwen Graham — has the passion and commitment, the track record and the leadership skills to stand up, speak out, protect our priorities, and get things done,” the Georgia Democrat said in a statement. “Gwen is a champion for the progressive values so many of us share, and I am proud to give Gwen Graham my strongest endorsement for Governor of Florida.”

Graham marched with Lewis and President Barack Obama across the Edmund Pettus Bridge to mark the 50th anniversary of the civil rights march from Selma to Montgomery, joined him and other House Democrats in a sit-in to demand commonsense gun safety, and co-sponsored legislation to protect voting rights while in Congress.

“Congressman John Lewis’s support and friendship mean the world to me. Marching with him to mark the anniversary of Bloody Sunday, sitting in with him to demand commonsense gun reform, and fighting for voting rights with him are among my proudest moments while representing Florida in Congress,” the former congresswoman said in a statement.

Graham, the daughter of former governor and Sen. Bob Graham, is one of three Democrats running for governor in 2018. Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum and Orlando businessman Chris King are also running.

Laura Bush returns to D.C. to push for women’s museum

The National Women’s History Museum tipped its hat to former First Lady Laura Bush, who said Americans need to redouble their efforts to “make sure there’s a women’s museum right here in our country,” reports Juliet Eilperin with the Washington Post.

The museum hosted its annual Women Making History Awards at the Carnegie Institute of Science this week. The 2017 event honored Bush, and featured a video introduction from former Secretary of State (and a former First Lady herself) Hillary Clinton.

Both women expressed the need for a museum on the mall. In her video remarks, Clinton, who ran for president in 2016, said she looks forward to a time when her grandchildren can visit the museum and “come away feeling a little braver, walking a little taller, knowing they stand on the shoulders of generations of history makers and trailblazers.”

“It’s really important to have a museum that focuses on women because half of the population is left out from American History,” said Bush. “We need to figure out how we can encourage women to run for office—and to run for President.”

The event also honored Maj. Gen. Charles Bolden (USMC, Retired), the 12th NASA Administrator and Henry Blackwell Award recipient; Dr. Faye Laing, a pioneering radiologist and professor; Diane Rehm, the former host of The Diane Rehm Show; the Honorable Rosie Rios, the 43rd Treasurer of the United States; and Brig. Gen. Wilma Vaught (USAF, Retired), the founding president, of the Women in Military Service for America Memorial.

“We all know there is a story that needs to be told to girls and boys,” said Rep. Ed Royce, who co-sponsored the bill to create the women’s history museum. “A national museum that focuses on women’s history is the best way to tell that story.”

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including,,, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.