The Buzz on Florida politics

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Latest Buzz on Florida politics

President Donald Trump on Saturday continued to lash out at Rep. Frederica Wilson, calling her "wacky" and fueling a now days-long controversy that involves a dead American soldier, husband and father.

Today was the funeral for Army Sgt. La David Johnson, one of four Americans killed in an ambush in Niger.

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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) -- The Florida Senate is refusing to turn over dozens of emails involving a state budget website that was shuttered despite taxpayers paying $5 million for it so far.

The contractor that built the website has sued the Senate for a final payment of $500,000. While the case moves along, attorneys for both sides are arguing over what information should be turned over in the case.

Attorneys representing the Senate are withholding more than 50 emails sent between Senate employees, as well as some Republican senators. The emails deal with a website that was supposed to help the public understand the state budget. Legislative officials say it didn’t work as intended and never went online.

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Rep. Frederica Wilson is facing a backlash for saying she's a "rock star" now given the national attention from her feud with President Donald Trump.

"You mean to tell me that I have become so important that the White House is following me and my words?" a laughing Wilson said in an interview that aired Thursday on a Miami TV station. "This is amazing. That's amazing. That is absolutely phenomenal. I'll have to tell my kids that I'm a rock star now."

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Inside the University of Florida Phillips Center, Richard Spencer was about to take the stage Thursday to spread his message of white supremacy. Outside, bells chimed a message of unity.

CNN reports that music professor Laura Ellis climbed 11 flights of stairs in the university's carillon tower to play Lift Every Voice and Sing, also known as the black national anthem.

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Congrats to former Hillsborough County Democratic Chairman Alan Clendenin, who was elected yesterday as Chairman of the Democratic National Committee Southern Caucus. Clendenin also will serve on the DNC’s coveted s Executive Board.

The Southern Caucus represents Alabama. Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia,West Virginia, and Democrats Abroad.

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White House Chief of Staff John Kelly Thursday criticized Rep. Frederica Wilson, D-Miami for taking credit for securing funding for the Miramar FBI building in 2015.

“A congresswoman stood up, and in a long tradition of empty barrels making the most noise, stood up there in all of that and talked about how she was instrumental in getting the funding for that building,” Kelly said in the daily press briefing.

Except video of Wilson’s speech at the dedication of the building shows she said no such thing.

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Rep. Frederica Wilson said John Kelly's explanation of how Trump delivered his message to the Miami widow of Sgt. La David Johnson is no good.

"That is not a good message to say to anyone who has lost a child at war. You don't sign up because you think you're going to die," the Florida Democrat said Friday on CNN. "You sign up to serve your country.

"And when (Kelly) says (Johnson) died surrounded by his fiends – he was abandoned. That did not apply to him. He was abandoned for two days. For 48 hours. Why?"

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A local political battle in the Florida Keys is proving very costly for four Monroe County commissioners.

The four agreed Friday to pay a total of $20,000 in fines for filing inaccurate financial disclosure forms with the state for four years in violation of state law and the Florida Constitution.

Meeting in Tallahassee, the Commission on Ethics unanimously approved the fines against commissioners Heather Carruthers, Danny Kolhage, Sylvia Jean Murphy and David Payne Rice.

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Beyond the Buzz

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The war of words between the White House and Rep. Frederica Wilson has overshadowed the tragedy: four American soldiers, including one from Miami, were killed in an ambush in Niger.

So far, not a lot is known about the attack and there are growing calls on Capitol Hill for answers. Sen. John McCain, chairman of the Armed Services Committee, has threatened to subpoena Trump administration officials if they aren't more forthcoming.

Sen. Bill Nelson, a Democratic member of the committee, on Thursday called for an investigation.

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UPDATE: There’s now video from the event. In the story of the week, the Miami Herald breaks a new chapter refuting the White House chief of staff’s story. Read the great reporting of Alex Daugherty, Anita Kumar and Douglas Hanks:

When White House Chief of Staff John Kelly condemned a Miami congresswoman on Thursday for sneering at President Donald Trump’s condolence call to a soldier’s widow, the retired general recalled when the two attended a somber ceremony in Miramar to dedicate a new FBI building named after two slain FBI agents.

Kelly criticized Democratic U.S. Rep. Frederica Wilson for claiming “she got the money” for the new building during the 2015 ceremony while he and others in the audience were focused on the heroism of agents Benjamin Grogan and Jerry Dove, killed during a 1986 shootout with bank robbers south of Miami.

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WASHINGTON – Sen. Bill Nelson says he put a procedural hold on one of President Donald Trump's nominees after accusing the president of blocking speedy disaster aid for Florida's citrus growers.

"I'm disappointed that the president has nixed the disaster money for Florida's citrus growers. He said it will be included in a November supplemental instead. So I just put a hold on one of his nominees to make sure we get this money, as promised," Nelson said in a statement.

Nelson today placed a procedural hold on Russell Vought's nomination to be deputy director of the Office of Management and Budget.

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White House Chief of Staff John Kelly said Thursday he was "stunned" that Florida Rep. Frederica Wilson listened in on President Trump's call to the Florida widow of a fallen soldier and then publicized it.

Kelly also said Wilson, who was riding in the car with the family when the call came in, engaged in "selfish behavior" by telling reporters that Trump told the widow her husband "knew what he signed up for."

The soldier's mother said Wednesday that Trump showed "disrespect" to the family. Wilson said Trump made the remark and added, "but when it happens, it hurts anyway."

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The White House continues to defend President Donald Trump's comments to the Florida widow of a fallen soldier, and says any criticism is from those looking to score political points.

"Everybody knows that this president is very sorry for this family's loss, as he is every other family's loss. I've seen it first and it's just the haters being presumptively negative as they always are," Kellyanne Conway said on Fox News this afternoon.

"But you know what's tragic Harris? That that family just suffered a loss, many families have suffered – a grievance unspeakable loss, and yet it gets immediately politicized because people think people of privilege think that they can score cheap political points against a president and that's what we find to be most disgraceful and most unfortunate but America is smarter than that. I have faith in the wisdom of Americans to know that this President, he like other presidents does a variety of different things when God forbid a soldier has fallen. Sometimes you call, sometimes you write, sometimes you go and you receive the fallen soldier in a casket with an American flag draped on it, by the way everyone, for a reason. The American flag is there for a good reason and you know what's in his heart. He is remorseful for their loss. He is respectful and sympathetic as he is for every fallen soldier in this nation and I just can't believe with so much going on that people think that they can score cheap political points instead of telling people the full story."

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