Ron DeSantis says French would not fight if Putin attacked them


By Brian E. Crowley

One can only wonder what they teach at Yale and Harvard these days. Clearly, the Ivy League schools are not doing a great job of teaching world history. So maybe Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, who attended both schools, should not be blamed for basically calling the French a bunch of cowards.

During a news conference today at the University of South Florida, DeSantis began chatting about Putin and the brave citizens of Ukraine. DeSantis described Putin as an "authoritarian gas station attendant."  DeSantis called Russia, "a hollowed out country" except for its energy resources.  Of course, he took a moment to slam President Biden suggesting Putin attacked Ukraine, in part, because Biden pulled troops out of Afghanistan. 

DeSantis, called the Ukrainian war effort "inspiring"  especially the combat efforts of Ukraine's civilians. Then, DeSantis added this gem: "A lot of other places around the world they just fold the minute there is any type of adversity. I mean can you imagine if he went into France would they do anything to put up a fight? Probably not."

Matt tweeted this response: "Jesus. World War I was largely fought in France, the French Resistance was courageous and fearsome and France was one of the four occupation powers in postwar Germany. France is also, along with the US and UK, one of the three nuclear powers in NATO."

Of course, all of this begs the question - why would a Florida governor go out of his way to insult France? Especially at a time when the United States and its allies need to be united in opposition to Putin. 




Florida GOP leaders have failed

By Brian E. Crowley
Trump is back on Twitter this morning.
He says nothing about the murdered Capitol Police Officer. He says nothing about the violence at the Capitol. He says nothing about the destruction. Instead, he defends them and tells them they will "have a giant voice in the future."
The responses to his tweet are equally disturbing. Sadly, I fear the violence we saw Wednesday from the Trump fringe is just the beginning and not the end.
Dc violence
And even as Florida's GOP members of our congressional cowered under their desks yesterday, few understand today that what they say and do has consequences.
As of this moment, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis still has not challenged Trump for inciting the riot. Video of Trump and his family and senior officials watching monitors of the crowd just before he went on stage, demonstrates just how eager they all were for the crowd to take action. And Trump, telling the crowd that he would walk with them to the Capitol (egging others to take action while hiding on the sidelines is typical of bullies), got exactly what he wanted as the rioters rampaged through the Capitol.
Did any of this convince Congressman Matt Gaetz to shut-up. No. Instead, the child-congressman took to the floor not only to falsely protest the election results, but to claim that Antifa had blended in with Trump supporters so they could attack the Capitol.
Congressman, have you no shame? 
And of course, not surprisingly, some of the thugs looting, destroying, defecating the Capitol were Florida "patriots." 
Thank you for being dumb enough to post your pictures on social media. The FBI, Capitol Police, and other investigators appreciate it. Your neighbors may be thrilled to know they live next to someone willing to attack our Capitol. Your employers may take note as well. And if you own a business, don't be surprised if you lose a few customers.
Where was DeSantis? Marco Rubio? Rick Scott? 
This sad, after-the-fact comment from DeSantis, (the same father who used his small child in a build the wall campaign commercial), "In no way have I supported any type of lawlessness or anything like that" is spineless.
And now, a gentle reminder to the mob. You are not "patriots." You are thugs. 
Real Patriots understand why the Founders established a House and Senate. It is there for disagreements to be seriously debated and compromises reached. The Founders did not envision a system in which everyone would leave happy about the results. Our leaders, and the voters who chose them, have failed miserably in living up to those ideals.
Moments ago, Trump tweeted again. He says he will not be going to the inauguration. 
Meanwhile, there are posts from "patriots" threatening even more disruption during the inauguration. 

Will Donald Trump wind up in the coat closet?

By Brian E. Crowley

Some years ago, a New York Times photographer was at the headquarters of the Democratic National Committee to cover an event.  As he was walking through the building he noticed a portrait hanging in the back of the coat closet. It was a portrait of a man who was once a leader of the Democratic Party. He was the nominee for president twice. He was a former governor of Illinois from a prominent political family.

Adlai Stevenson II.

Coat Closet


Odds are that few of the folks working at the DNC remembered Stevenson. 

Here is a description of him from Wikipedia:

Noted historian Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr., who served as one of his speechwriters, described Stevenson as a "great creative figure in American politics. He turned the Democratic Party around in the fifties and made JFK the United States and the world he was the voice of a reasonable, civilized, and elevated America. He brought a new generation into politics, and moved millions of people in the United States and around the world."[2] Journalist David Halberstam wrote that "Stevenson's gift to the nation was his language, elegant and well-crafted, thoughtful and calming."[3] His biographer Jean H. Baker stated that Stevenson's memory "still an expression of a different kind of politics - nobler, more issue-oriented, less compliant to the greedy ambitions of modern politicians, and less driven by public opinion polls and the media."

Stevenson was the party's presidential nominee in 1952 and 1956. He lost both times to Republican Dwight Eisenhower. He later was our United Nations Ambassador.

So how did this prominent member of the Democrat Party wind up in the coat closet at DNC headquarters?

Continue reading "Will Donald Trump wind up in the coat closet?" »

Ron DeSantis shares long list of those joining him in Israel

Moments ago, the governor's office released this rather lengthy list of folks joining him on his trip to Israel.....and here it is:


Tallahassee, Fla. — Today, Governor Ron DeSantis announced the leadership and delegation for the Governor’s Business Development Mission to Israel, which takes place Saturday, May 25ththrough Friday, May 31st. Organized in conjunction with Enterprise Florida, Inc., the mission includes more than 90 delegation members and serves to strengthen the economic, academic and cultural bonds between Florida and Israel.

“This group of diverse Florida leaders will represent our state and nation proudly on this historic business development mission to Israel, the only democracy in the Middle East,” said Governor DeSantis. “Our delegation includes professionals and experts from a wide range of policy and business areas, representing every corner of our state. During this trip, we will affirm Florida as the most pro-Israel state in the nation and strengthen the bond between Florida and Israel for decades to come.”

Business Development Mission Leadership and Delegation

Continue reading "Ron DeSantis shares long list of those joining him in Israel" »

Ron DeSantis gets a surprise, NRA is unhappy, and locals win one over Tallahassee

Episode 10 of High Tops and Politics is a fun one. A mix of humor and serious discussion. 

Thank you for all the positive feedback. 

Please enjoy and share it with your friends.


This week co-hosts Brian Crowley and Mary Anna Mancuso chat about:

Who stole the Plastic Cow?

Florida binges.

Florida Legislature plants corn?

Charlie Crist get 15 minutes.

This week's High Tops Award, and much more. 

Thank you for joining us.


High Tops and Politics - Mister Geppetto did what?

In Florida politics you can run but you can't hide.

High Tops and Politics chases it all from Tallahassee to Mar-a-Lago as only veteran political journalist Brian Crowley and political strategist Mary Anna Mancuso can do.

Join us for our often amusing run through the Sunshine State.

Episode 6 - A problem with Starbucks and cellphone? Will Florida drones be wearing badges? Are Florida elections safe? Is the GOP undermining local government? This week's High Tops Award, and much more.


High Tops and Politics - The Mystery of the Double Knot

In Florida politics you can run but you can't hide.

High Tops and Politics chases it all from Tallahassee to Mar-a-Lago as only veteran political journalist Brian Crowley and political strategist Mary Anna Mancuso can do.

Join us for our often amusing run through the Sunshine State.

Episode 5 - Should Florida take on Alexa? Donald Trump's favorite Bush. Do Florida voters matter? Roxie gets moxie. The mystery of the Double Knot. This week's High Tops Award, and much more.


Ron DeSantis quits, Rick Scott looks shameful


By Brian E. Crowley

Florida Republican nominee for Governor, Ron DeSantis just announced that he is quitting Congress immediately so he can run full time for governor. In fact, his resignation is even more than immediate. He is time warping the effective date to Sept. 1.

As a low rung member of Congress, his impact there was minimal but that is not unusual for members in their first years on the Hill. DeSantis, with enormous help from President Trump and Fox News, easily knocked out Republican establishment favorite Adam Putnam in the GOP primary.

Now, we are in the early stages of what will be a blistering general election between arch-conservative DeSantis, and Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum who swings hard left. 

Meanwhile, Governor Rick Scott demonstrated what a soulless state leader is has been in a video of him talking to felons asking for a return of their voting rights.  Florida and Scott in particular were skewered Sunday night on HBO's Last Week Tonight with John Oliver.

Oliver is not only funny and merciless, but as he often does, he closely examines an important issue and gives his audience something to think about. In this case, he urged viewers to vote to restore felon voting rights in November.

It is a must watch video. If nothing else, watch Scott, who wants to replace Democrat Bill Nelson in the U.S. Senate, at about the 6:45 mark. No matter how you feel about the issue, every Floridian should be embarrassed by Scott's callousness. His lack of compassion is chilling.



Miami Herald leaves earth in search of extra-terrestrials

By Brian E. Crowley

No. Someone dear God tell me this is a joke. Have we moved April Fool's Day to August? Has the Miami Herald been sold to Area 51?

Why you might ask am I ranting? Well, let's just say the Herald made a rather unusual endorsement in the Republican Primary for 27th Congressional District - Bettina Rodriguez Aguilera. Unusual because she is Hispanic? Nope? Unusual because she is a woman? Nope.

Unusual because, well judge for yourself:

We realize that Rodriguez Aguilera is an unusual candidate. Last year, she told the Miami Herald — and several Spanish-language media outlets — that she believes in extra-terrestrials. She says when she was 7, she was taken aboard a spaceship and, throughout her life, she has communicated telepathically with the beings, which remind her of the concrete Christ in Brazil. There you have it.

“This is a non-issue,” she told the Board. We agree. Her bona fides as a former elected official, and now a businesswoman who spends time in other countries training women to run for office are solid.

Rodriguez Aguilera is a strong candidate in the race with plausible conservative ideas. 

You think I made that up don't you. Please read it for yourself:

So the Herald is trying to convince voters that this is the best the Republican Party has to offer as a candidate to go Washington.


At a time when journalism has more than its share of problems this silliness seems like more like click-bait than a thoughtful look at the candidates.

The Herald should be embarrassed. 

Are Florida Republicans leaderless?

Hatchet135 copy

Rick Scott talks guns at the White House

Florida Gov. Rick Scott spoke at the White House this morning at a gathering of governors hosted by President Trump.

Here is the White House transcript of Scott's remarks:

GOVERNOR SCOTT: Well, the first thing I want to do is I want to thank the President for making something happen. All of us, as governors, know, in any jobs we've had, you have to get something done. If you -- anybody that has gone through one of these -- and if you've gone to the funeral of a 14-year-old girl that her parents just loved her, you know that you have to make a change.

 So what we've done in the last -- I guess, it's a little less than two weeks -- we've looked at what other governors have done. We've brought people together. I'm very appreciative of what the President has done by bringing us all together to talk about this, and also what he did last week by bringing people together because it has created momentum to make sure something happens this time, that we dont go through this and nothing happen.

So, in our state, the way I've done this is I've broken it down into three things. Number one, we're going to have school safety. No parent in our state is going to say, "I'm concerned whether my child can go to school safely." If you go to school in Florida, you're going to know that your child can come home safely. If you're a teacher, if you work at one of these schools, you're going to know you're going to come home safely. That's step one.

We're going to spend $500 million. I have two weeks left in my legislative session; I'm not waiting for the federal government. We're going to invest $500 million, and we're going to have significant law enforcement presence at every public school in our state.


Continue reading "Rick Scott talks guns at the White House" »

Why Rick Scott should not run for the Senate. It's not what you think.



By Brian E. Crowley

Many believe that most mornings Florida Governor Rick Scott looks in the mirror and sees the Sunshine State's newest U.S. Senator. Certainly Republicans hope he is right.

Scott is their perfect candidate. He can largely pay his own way. He has won two statewide races. And most importantly, he could knock off a three-term Democrat - Bill Nelson - and perhaps help the GOP keep control of the Senate.

Those are swell reasons for the Republican Party to cheer him on but the fact is that Scott might just be miserable as a United States senator. Unless, his plan is to retire to the Senate - and he would not be the first, Scott might be better off not running.

Let's start with why Scott would be miserable.

Continue reading "Why Rick Scott should not run for the Senate. It's not what you think." »

Jeb Bush should stop talking and start running for the Senate



By Brian E. Crowley

Sometimes the saddest thing is watching a politician who has been booted from the stage. No matter how happy they say they are, one can always see the longing to be back. Sometimes they run again. Sometimes they pontificate from the sidelines, with fewer and fewer people paying attention. Jeb Bush has been doing a lot of pontificating lately.

He is clearly still ticked off at his humiliating 2016 defeat. He has the good fortune of being able to blame his loss on Donald Trump, a character he breezily dismissed when much of the Republican world presumed Bush would be their nominee.

One can only imagine how it felt when in the early debates he stood center stage and then as his poll numbers dropped found himself standing further on the edge while Trump took his place at center stage.

Partly, Bush continues to blame Sen. Marco Rubio.  In the Bush world, once Jeb decided to run, no loyal Florida Republican would dare to challenge him. Rubio, considered at the time one of the leading figures in what many believed would be a new GOP, saw no reason to stand aside for his elder.

Today, Bush still pokes at Rubio.

During an interview with USA Today's Alan Gomez, Bush, talking about immigration, said, "God forbid you actually took on something that was controversial and paid a political price. That's the  attitude in D.C. right now. Certainly Sen. Rubio is no different in that regard."

During a podcast with The Federalist, Bush chastised Rubio again. "When you're that talented and knowledgeable about subjects you need to step up," said Bush. "I think he's being too cautious."

So about that stepping up stuff. Perhaps, it's time for Bush to step up. Chirping from the sidelines makes him sound more like a parent yelling at the umpire during a middle school baseball game.

Continue reading "Jeb Bush should stop talking and start running for the Senate" »

Charlie Crist needs a nap




Poor Charlie Crist. The Florida Congressman couldn't sleep a wink last night.  Of course Crist's reason for not sleeping was a tad different than Frank Sinatra's song would suggest. Sinatra didn't have to worry about "Trumpcare."

So here's what Democrat Crist is sending out in an email:

I was up all night thinking about the score of Trumpcare 2.0, friend.

850%. That's the estimate of how much insurance premiums would rise for elderly, poor people over the next decade. That's shameful. I’m incredibly disheartened that my colleagues in the House put politics over people -- and I’m going to do everything I can to stop it.

 Will you help me show my colleagues how many of us are against this horrendous bill? Sign my petition right now.

 Trumpcare 2.0 is un-American. We need to look out for each other -- not rip away health care from 23 million people.

Thank you,

 Sent from my iPhone

Continue reading "Charlie Crist needs a nap" »

WSJ reports Florida GOP operative got help from alleged Russian hacker Guccifer 2.0

The Wall Street Journal is reporting that Guccifer 2.0, an alleged Russian hacker, helped Florida Republican operative Aaron Nevins during the 2016 campaign.  

Nevins told WSJ that he is not convinced the Russians are involved but even if they were, it doesn’t matter to him because the agenda of the hackers seemed to match his own. “If your interests align,” he said, “never shut any doors in politics.”

Newly elected Republican Congressman Brian Mast also gets a mention in WSJ story.

The hacking spree that upended the presidential election wasn’t limited to Democratic National Committee memos and Clinton-aide emails posted on websites. The hacker also privately sent Democratic voter-turnout analyses to a Republican political operative in Florida named Aaron Nevins.

Learning that hacker “Guccifer 2.0” had tapped into a Democratic committee that helps House candidates, Mr. Nevins wrote to the hacker to say: “Feel free to send any Florida based information.”

Ten days later, Mr. Nevins received 2.5 gigabytes of Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee documents, some of which he posted on a blog called that he ran using a pseudonym.

Soon after, the hacker sent a link to the blog article to Roger Stone, a longtime informal adviser to then-candidate Donald Trump, along with Mr. Nevins’ analysis of the hacked data.

Mr. Nevins confirmed his exchanges after The Wall Street Journal identified him first as the operator of the HelloFLA blog and then as the recipient of the stolen DCCC data. The Journal also reviewed copies of exchanges between the hacker and Mr. Nevins. That the obscure blog had received hacked Democratic documents was previously known, but not the extent of the trove or the blogger’s identity.

“I just threw an arrow in the dark,” Mr. Nevins said in an interview, adding he set up a Dropbox account so whoever was using the Guccifer 2.0 name could send large amounts of material. Later, going through what the hacker sent as someone who “actually knows what some of these documents mean,” the GOP consultant said he “realized it was a lot more than even Guccifer knew that he had.”

A must read

Gwen Graham becomes third Graham to run for Florida Governor




Former Congresswoman Gwen Graham today became the third member of her family to run for Florida governor.  Her father, Bob Graham, was governor from 1979 to 1987. He then served in the U.S. Senate from 1987 to 2005.  He ran for president in 2003 but dropped out after nine months.

Gwen Graham's grandfather, Ernest "Cap" Graham, a state Senator, ran for governor in 1944. He was defeated.

Graham's announcement was long expected and she joins a growing field of Democratic and Republican candidates.

Below is the campaign release about her announcement:

Declaring, "We do not have time for typical politics, because this is the time to paint Florida’s future in sharp lines, and bold colors," Gwen Graham announced she is running to serve as Florida's next governor, Tuesday morning.

With her family by her side, Graham said, after almost 20 years of a enduring a state government with the wrong priorities for the wrong people, she would renew Florida's education system, environment and economy.

Citing her experience as a working mother, PTA president and school board official, Graham said she is determined to end the lottery shell game diverting funds from Florida schools and high-stakes testing.  

Graham announced her campaign next to Miami Carol City Senior High, where she spent a full Workday alongside educators teaching students, the previous day. The high school was where her father, former Governor Bob Graham, performed his first Workday in 1974.

“As governor, I won’t just criticize this culture of teaching to the test. I will end it,” Graham said. “Because high-stakes standardized testing has led us to one-size-fits-all learning. Yet our children, parents and teachers are not one-dimensional. Our children, parents, and teachers are not standardized. I will work with the legislature – and do whatever it takes, including using the governor’s line-item veto to end high-stakes testing.”

She also shared her vision for Florida's economy and environment. Graham called for Florida to raise the minimum wage, provide paid sick leave, invest in infrastructure, and diversify Florida's economy.

Continue reading "Gwen Graham becomes third Graham to run for Florida Governor" »

Florida Senator Frank Artiles resigns following offensive remarks

Senator Frank Artiles, whose use of hateful, offensive language toward fellow lawmakers, gave up the fight to keep his Miami-Dade seat and resigned effective immediately.

Below is the Republican's letter of resignation to Senate President Joe Negron.

April 21, 2017

Dear President Negron,

Seven years ago, I began my public service with one goal in mind, and that was to serve a cause greater than my own.

Serving my constituents and improving their lives is why I serve. On many important issues, caring for the elderly, education and job creation, I have made it my personal mission to put others first. It’s the way I was raised, and the way I still choose to live my life today.

As a Marine, this attitude was embodied in our motto: Semper Fidelis, or “Always Faithful.” Be faithful to God, to country and to our fellow soldiers.

As a father and husband, despite the daily demands of elected office, I always keep the promises that I make to my two beautiful daughters, Bella and Giavanna, and my loving wife Aimee. I’m a fulfilled man, because of their unconditional love and support.

It is clear to me my recent actions and words that I spoke fell far short of what I expect for myself, and for this I am very sorry. I apologize to my family and friends and I apologize to all of my fellow Senators and lawmakers. To the people of my district and all of Miami-Dade, I am sorry I have let you down and ask for your forgiveness.

It is clear to me my recent actions and words that I spoke fell far short of what I expect for myself, and for this I am very sorry. I apologize to my family and friends and I apologize to all of my fellow Senators and lawmakers. To the people of my district and all of Miami-Dade, I am sorry I have let you down and ask for your forgiveness.

Continue reading "Florida Senator Frank Artiles resigns following offensive remarks" »

Floridians should be ashamed at what happened in the state Senate today

Senate President Joe Negron failed. The Florida Senate failed. Florida Republicans failed. With a silly slap on the wrist, they are simply tolerating a member of the senate using the harshest of racist words - nigger.  

Republican Senator Frank Artiles stood on the Senate floor Wednesday and read a scripted apology. Negron removed him as committee chairman and considers that punishment enough.

Artiles blew it by not resigning.

Negron blew it by not moving to expel him.

Now, Artiles should not resign. He should face the humiliation of being tossed out of the Senate. 

Here is what happened according to the Miami Herald's Patricia Mazzei:

Miami Republican Sen. Frank Artiles dropped the n-word to a pair of African-American colleagues in private conversation Monday night — after calling one of them a "f------ a------," a "b----" and a "girl," the two senators said.

Over drinks after 10 p.m. at the members-only Governors Club just steps from the state Capitol, Artiles told Sens. Audrey Gibson of Jacksonville and Perry Thurston of Fort Lauderdale that Senate President Joe Negron of Stuart had risen to his powerful GOP leadership role because "six n-----rs" in the Republican caucus had elected him.

Artiles later told Gibson and Thurston that he'd used the word "n----as," suggesting the slang term was not meant to be insulting, Gibson and Thurston said. It's unclear whom Artiles was referring to, since the only black senators in the state Senate are all Democrats — and none of them backed Negron's bid to lead the chamber.

Artiles apologized to Gibson late Tuesday afternoon, after he'd been reported to Republican leaders and reporters started asking questions.

It is important to note that Artiles did not attempt to apologize until he was caught.

He even told the Herald he has no intention of resigning and plans to run for reelection in 2018.

Basically, Artiles was offering a FU to the Senate and his constituents.

The members of the Black Caucus are calling for Artiles to be ousted.

Negron should move quickly to do so.

This is not the first time that Artiles has acted like a bully. This is not the first time that he has harmed the reputation of the Senate. This is not first time that he has insulted others.

Peter Schorsch - in a must read column about Artiles - reports:

A lobbyist, who shall remain unnamed, said it was reported to him after he left the Governors Club that same night that Artiles called him and another person who works in the Capitol “faggots.”

That’s according to two friends of the lobbyist, who told him of the exchange later in the evening. The lobbyist then told me.

This issue is no longer about Artiles. This issues falls squarely in the lap of the Senate President and the entire Senate. 

And frankly, perhaps it is time for Gov. Rick Scott to stand up and speak out. 

Florida is better than this.

Or are we?