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Mitch Perry Report for 6.14.16 — Will Trump’s tough talk help his candidacy?

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

When it comes to foreign lands, Americans can sometimes be strangely provincial.

Polls traditionally show that Americans think we give too much foreign aid. The Kaiser Family Foundation found last year that the average respondent estimated that 26 percent went toward assisting other countries, when in fact it’s just less than 1 percent.

So when Donald Trump says in a speech in Manchester, New Hampshire that there was a “tremendous flow” of Syrian refugees coming into the U.S., it’s important to note that just 2,805 have been admitted into our country since last May, fewer than one-third of the 10,000 Syrians President Obama said the United States would accept this fiscal year.

Trump was crowing yesterday that he was prescient, and renewed his call for a ban on Muslim migration to the United States — and extended it to cover all nations with a history of terrorism.

“The current politically correct response cripples our ability to talk and to think and act clearly,” Trump said at Saint Anselm College in New Hampshire. “If we don’t get tough, and if we don’t get smart, and fast, we’re not going to have our country anymore. There will be nothing, absolutely nothing, left.”

Will the Orlando tragedy help Trump? Yes, says none other than Michael Oren, the former Israeli ambassador to the U.S. He tweeted on Sunday that, “If I were Trump I’d emphasize the Muslim name, Omar Saddiqui Mateen. This changes race.”

Will it? That seems to be what some people are thinking, and traditionally in our age of terror, the perception (accurately or not) is that Republicans, believing in a strong defense and law and order, will benefit in the short term. That’s what we’ll have to wait and see over the next few months.

I will say this: we heard the same thing after Paris and San Bernardino. Did that really play out? Not really, I’d argue.

In other news …

Thousands came to Ybor City last night for a vigil for the Orlando victims.

Bill Nelson, a resident of the Orlando area, was all over the media yesterday. The Democratic Senator assailed the use of assault weapons in the Pulse nightclub murders, and later joined up with fellow Democrats Dianne Feinstein, Chuck Schumer and Richard Blumenthal in talking up more gun control legislation.

Tampa Bay area Congresswoman Kathy Castor was scheduled to participate in a moment of silence in the House of Representatives last night in memory of the victims in Orlando, but she says she’s tired of having such moments of silence after gun massacres, and says it’s time for some action.

St. Pete Pride organizers says they don’t intend any major changes — as of yet — in the wake of the Orlando shootings when they hold their huge confab at the end of this month.

And Darryl Rouson leads Betty Reed and Ed Narain in a new St. Pete Polls survey of their Senate District 19 race released on Monday.

Mitch Perry has been a reporter with Extensive Enterprises since November of 2014. Previously, he served as five years as the political editor of the alternative newsweekly Creative Loafing. He also was the assistant news director with WMNF 88.5 FM in Tampa from 2000-2009, and currently hosts MidPoint, a weekly talk show, on WMNF on Thursday afternoons. He began his reporting career at KPFA radio in Berkeley. He's a San Francisco native who has now lived in Tampa for 15 years and can be reached at

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