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Florida Republicans Try to Come to Terms With The Donald, #NeverTrump Notwithstanding

| May 4, 2016

trump florida

Trump beckons. (Tony Webster)

As Donald Trump essentially locked up the Republican presidential nomination late Tuesday, Florida GOP leaders began facing a decision none of them expected to be making a year ago: Line up behind the real-estate mogul’s White House bid, or figure out how to win around him in the fall.

U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, the last Republican given much of a chance of beating Trump at the Republican National Convention this summer, dropped out of the race Tuesday night after a crushing loss in Indiana. Ohio Gov. John Kasich, who lagged far behind, followed suit Wednesday morning — clearing the field for Trump.

Shortly after Trump’s victory Tuesday, Republican Party of Florida Chairman Blaise Ingoglia issued a statement calling on the party to get over a contentious primary that once included U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush.

“Now, we must all come together as a party and complete the task at hand, which is defeating Hillary Clinton in November,” Ingoglia said. “A Clinton presidency would be disastrous for this country, our military, our debt, our freedoms and the Supreme Court.”

At the end of a Flagler County Republican Club meeting this evening at the Palm Coast Community Center, Bob Updegrave, a local party leader, said that “virtually every Republican in this room tonight, 91 of them, is moving behind Donald Trump. The Party is moving behind Donald Trump. We all are.” He added: “You will find quickly that Republicans will get behind Donald Trump. Flagler Republicans.”

Joe Gruters, co-chairman of Trump’s campaign in Florida, said Wednesday the party has already started to gel behind the billionaire developer, who will now lead the GOP’s quest to put together 270 electoral votes in the general election. Florida is likely to be crucial to that effort. If Clinton, the likely Democratic nominee, simply wins the states that have voted for her party in every election dating back to 1992, a victory in Florida would put her in the White House.

“People will come together,” Gruters said. “It’s always difficult after an election to see your guy go down.”

Gov. Rick Scott long ago said the GOP should back Trump, and some candidates running for other offices began calling for party unity on Wednesday. Carlos Beruff, a U.S. Senate candidate whose outspoken style has drawn comparisons to Trump, called on his fellow Republicans to back the nominee.

Like many trying to rally the party around Trump — whose slashing attacks on presidential rivals helped spark a particularly contentious race — Beruff zeroed in on the possibility of a third straight presidential win for Democrats after President Barack Obama’s victories in 2008 and 2012.

“Beating Hillary Clinton in November should be the first goal of all Republicans,” Beruff said. “Donald Trump is the nominee of our party, and I am committed to voting for him and supporting him so that we can take our country back from the liberal policies of Obama and Clinton.”

But other Republicans were balking at the possibility. Members of the #NeverTrump movement that sprung up on social media in response to Trump’s growing popularity insisted that “never means never” — and that they would not vote for Trump in November.

“I expect enough Republicans of conscience and principle will not vote for Donald Trump that it’s going to make it very difficult to win the presidency,” said Rick Wilson, a Republican strategist in Florida who has been a leading voice against Trump.

Wilson said he also expected some Republicans, especially in swing districts, to be hesitant about lining up behind Trump. While some Democrats are already cautioning that Trump could have hidden strengths in a general election, the nominee still polls poorly among women and Hispanic voters.

“You’re not latching onto a campaign that has coattails in a possible direction for most candidates. … There will not be the rally effect that you normally get with a presidential candidate,” Wilson said.

Democrats were already seeking to capitalize on the dynamic of Trump at the top of the ticket. Congressional candidates sent out emails Wednesday trying to fundraise off the GOP front-runner, or get in some shots.

Congressman Patrick Murphy, one of two Democrats running for Florida’s open U.S. Senate seat, raised the possibility in a fund-raising letter of a Republican-controlled Senate confirming a Trump Supreme Court nominee. And the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee tried to tie a slew of Republican candidates running for Murphy’s U.S. House seat to the GOP presidential candidate.

“Inflammatory rhetoric cost Republicans in 2012, now with Trump at the top of the ticket, Brian Mast, Rebecca Negron, and the host of Republican candidates won’t be able to escape their divisive leader who has offended women, minorities and veterans across the Treasure Coast,” said Jermaine House of the DCCC.

State Rep. Dennis Baxley, an Ocala Republican running for the Florida Senate in a strongly Republican district, said he thought much of the anger behind the #NeverTrump movement would begin to cool with time.

“I do think people have to look at the big picture, too, and realize that governing is a crucible that will temper anyone’s posture,” he said.

Baxley also said candidates down the ballot might try to learn things from Trump’s unorthodox campaign, whether joining him in touting the fact that they’re investing in their own campaigns or shying away from referring to “endorsements” by that name.

And at least one prominent Democratic strategist noted parallels to a Florida election in 2010, when an outsider businessman clashed with the Republican Party establishment before winning the top spot on the ticket: Gov. Rick Scott.

“He rightly gambled that #NeverScott would go away after the primary, and the establishment would quickly come together,” strategist Steve Schale wrote in an open letter to fellow Democrats.

–Brandon Larrabee, News Service of Florida

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27 Responses for “Florida Republicans Try to Come to Terms With The Donald, #NeverTrump Notwithstanding”

  1. anonymous says:

    Im voting for trump. Im glad he won gop race. This country is in the worst condition that i have ever seen.

  2. Donald Trump's Tiny Fingers says:

    Trump isn’t what this country needs, but it’s becoming more and more clear that he’s a lesson that this country deserves.

  3. Anonymous says:

    The only reason Trump will be the Republican nominee is because of the inflated egos of Rubio and Kasich. Had they dropped out earlier, Trump would not have won with 40.2% of the vote. Kasich was the spoiler, of course, preventing Cruz from trouncing Trump. Pathetic choices this year. Write-in candidate time.

  4. Rich Mikola says:

    The only reason Trump is the Republican nominee is due to the inflated egos of Rubio and Kasich. Had they dropped out earlier, Trump would not have won with 40.2% of the vote. Kasich in particular, prevented Cruz from trouncing Trump by splitting the vote, right up to the last minute. Pathetic choice this year.

  5. r&r says:

    The peolple want Trump but the employees of the people say we don’t care. He’s not one of US “The Establiishment” who hired protesters to disrupt Trump’s rallies etc. and posted all those negative ads on TV toward Trump. I’m a registered republican and is mad as hell at the establishment. When this is over I’m dropping the party and going independent.

  6. PCer says:

    The Republican Party is a mess. It goes back to the policies of Gingrich in the House. He basically created the idea that the Repubkicans stand as one or you are out. Members were not allowed to vote with the other side, even if it meant voting against the best interest of their districts. If they did, they lost funding and support. The party has become sheep to the leadership. Those that go against the leadership that keeps moving further to the right are labeled RINOs. Wake up conservatives!! Stand on your own feet. Vote with your wallet, not with your emotions.

  7. PCer says:

    Questions for Trump??? How are you going to “label” Muslims? Once they are labeled will you have them check in periodically or will you move them all to the same location to make tracking easier? (Let’s not forget the 1930s and 40s).

    How are you going to defeat ISIS? And who is going to pay for it? The oil under their feet belongs to the people of the Middle East. Are you going to steal it from them? Don’t you think they will fight us…then we end up in another senseless war that I have to pay for with the lives of my children and my taxes. BTW if you start a war, will you be sending your children to the front lines? Or is that just for losers?

    Who is paying for the wall and mass deportation of illegals? not all illegals are Mexican and Mexico is certainly not going to pay for it. How much of an increase can I expect to see in my taxes and the national debt?

    When you move jobs back to the US how are you going to offset the increase in production costs? Will I see the cost of my television quadruple? American workers charge more for labor and we no longer have the updated facilities needed for manufacturing jobs that have left.

  8. Robjr says:

    @ anonymous says:
    May 4, 2016 at 9:19 pm
    “”Im voting for trump. Im glad he won gop race. This country is in the worst condition that i have ever seen.”

    You must have been on a trip into deep space from 2001 to 2009 and missed the most severe recession this country has seen since the great depression. Or else you haven’t been seeing to well.

  9. Geezer says:

    Donald Trump’s Tiny Fingers:

    Donald Trump is going to be the next president.
    I agree with your comment too.
    There’s too many “Bernie or Bust” people like me who
    will NEVER cast their vote for Hillary Clinton, come what may.

    Our first black president will be replaced by our first orange president.

  10. Knightwatch says:

    Flagler Republicans, as elsewhere, can back whom they wish. But remember, Republicans, when you back Trump, you are agreeing with him that all Muslims are suspected terrorists; most Mexican immigrants (can’t tell who’s “legal” or not, can you?) are rapists and murderers; women are pigs and disgusting and bleed from “wherever”; and laziness is a black trait”. Do you really believe he will build a 2,000-mile $26 billion wall and get Mexico to pay for it? Do you really believe he will round up 11 million “illegal” immigrants and deport them… in two years? Do you really believe he can repeal Obamacare immediately and take health insurance from 14 million Americans? Do you really believe he will invade Iraq and destroy their oil fields? Do you really believe he has a secret plan to utterly destroy ISIS? Do you think he can actually authorize torture of suspected terrorists. Do you think he can order our military to kill the families of ISIS terrorists? Do you really want to start trade wars with Mexico and China? Do you think his self-proclaimed negotiating skills, or new federal sanctions will force American manufacturers to bring offshore plants back to America? Do you think he will eliminate the EPA and IRS? Do you think he will eliminate “gun-free zones” in schools and on military bases?

    These are but a few of Trump’s promises to his followers. After thinking about these and his many other promises, do you still want to support him? Because if you do, YOU are the problem, not him. He merely says what you are thinking and feeling… the racism, bigotry, misogyny and xenophobia of the fearful and hateful extreme right wing. Is that really who you are??

  11. Knightwatch says:

    And, anonymous, in 2008 when we were engaged in two land wars and the peak of the Great Recession, that was better than today? Are you serious or is it just an overdose of Faux News?

  12. Sherry says:

    Please, speak ONLY for yourself! I am one of “the people”! And, I consider Trump to be a despicable, very dangerous, racist megalomaniac who has already severely damaged the credibility and reputation of our country in most countries across the globe!

    Please wake up and realize that the reason so many speak out against Trump is that millions upon millions of people worldwide consider him and his followers to be an anathema (look it up!) to everything civilized in the USA and to the human species in general.

    We should all be embarrassed and ashamed that such a person is running for President!

  13. Anonymous says:

    Vote Trump!! We know what we will get if Hillary gets elected…..more of the same old. If she can’t be truthful about Benghazi and her emails, how could we ever trust her as president? We can’t!!!! It’s time to make the USA GREAT AGAIN!!!

  14. Common Sense says:

    The economy is slow but strong, housing starts are up. unemployment is down, the market is stable, oil prices are down, millions more have health insurance, relations with Cuba are improving, the world is coming together on climate change, who says we are in bad shape?

    4 bankruptcies
    12 failed businesses
    3 wives and too many affairs to count
    did not serve in the military because of a heel spur but was well enough to play golf during that time
    cheats at golf
    has insulted blacks, latinos, women, gays, the handicapped and war heroes
    has used foreign workers although he is against the program
    has his good made in Mexico and Japan to avoid employing Americans
    has flip flopped on the minimum wage , abortion, immigration, the military and many other issues
    has no government experience whatsoever
    has lied about his academic credentials
    has behaved in a rude and vulgar way to other Republicans
    has encouraged violence against lawful protestors
    wants to do away with NAFTA, The healthcare act and build a wall but has no actual plans to do any of it
    admits he appeals to the uneducated because they are gullible

    Is this really the best this country can do for a President?

  15. Dave says:

    Hey Sherry “” We should all be embarrassed and ashamed that such a person is running for President!”” It goes both ways. I don’t like Trump but I can’t stand the Great Lair Hillary.

  16. anonymous says:

    I can’t stand Hillary Clinton. I will not vote her in. You all can make all the rude comments you want. I don’t care. Everyone can make their own decisions and vote for whoever they want.
    You can’t say anything about anything without criticism.

  17. Hammock says:

    If only we had another candidate that was a community organizer. I guess you could vote for Bernie who went to college in Chicago with a degree in political science that never had a real job till he was 45 and a socialist. Or you have Hillary who fight for women’s rights but is a enabler and she can pardon herself once elected

  18. Sherry says:

    Please know that you can always, always count on me to criticize the hatred I too often read here towards other human beings! That includes, but is not limited to: Racism, Xenophobia, Religious Zealotry, Bigotry, Chauvinism, Homophobia, and all the other horrific “isms, trys and phobias” out there that describe the destruction of love towards our family of the human species and the evolution of civilization on this planet!

    Regarding Hillary Clinton. . . while Elizabeth Warren would be my first choice as President. . . please tell me PRECISELY what lie has been PROVEN that Hillary Clinton has told? There have been several investigations into the tragic Benghazi incident, some by zealous “witch hunting” Republicans, and in each and everyone, Hillary Clinton has been completely exonerated.

    Now let’s compare that to Trump’s long list of despicable acts and words. . . take a read IF you actually want the TRUTH:

    1. How Trump comments are false 76% of the time:

    2.. How Trump cheats the poor:

    3. How Trump treats women like property:

    4. Trump’s connection to the Mob:

    5. Trump’s lies and FOUR bankruptcies in which he cheated creditors who were forced to lay off thousands of employees:

    Of course, I could go on and on. . . but any “reasonable, intelligent” person who is actually willing to compare experience, reputation, actions and rhetoric would choose Hillary Clinton without doubt. Now, the question is whether many of those commenting here actually are willing to use their intellect to research the facts and make decisions based on that analysis. . . while I think not, I still hold out hope!

  19. Donald Trump's Tiny Fingers says:

    Sanders for actual change, trump to see it burn to the ground.

  20. Bc. says:

    Wow some Trump haters out there. This country needs a man like Trump, one who doesn’t care what other country’s think of him, they don’t like him because he will cut them off from ripping us off and yes we need a wall in the south west to stop the illegals and drugs from coming into the USA. Yes we need to stop Muslims from coming into the USA. Until we can stop (kill) isis they flat out told us that they will send in their own to kill us. Look what we have now a spineless potus. Who put this country back 20 years and made us the laughing stock of a super power we don’t need another lying potus (Hilary ) who can’t be trusted and she was the worst secretary this country has every had. Her and the jitter bug president we have now put the Middle East in ruin. Oh and don’t forget if you like your doctor you can keep him. Just remember when u go to the polls this November, do u want to vote for a person who will make America great again or a person who failed to answer the phone at 3am and lied about it and is still lying!

  21. alp says:

    FACT: There Is No Evidence That Clinton Personally Signed Off On A Cable Reducing Security In Benghazi

    FACT: The State Department Did Not Watch The Benghazi Attacks Unfold In Real Time

    FACT: Hillary Clinton Was Not Unaccounted For During The Attacks, She Was In Continuous Contact With Administration Officials

    FACT: Contrary To Conservative Conspiracies, Clinton Missed A Scheduled Benghazi Hearing After Being Injured

    FACT: Clinton’s “What Difference, At This Point, Does It Make” Comment Was Referring To The Administration’s Post-Attack Talking Points, Not Tragic Consequences Of Attack

    FACT: Intelligence Community, The Suspected Attackers, And Eyewitnesses All Linked The Inflammatory Anti-Islam Video To The Attacks

    FACT: There Is No Proof Clinton’s State Department Scrubbed, Altered, Or Covered Up Any Benghazi Documents

    FACT: Benghazi Witnesses Spoke To Federal Officials And Congress, And Were Not Blocked From Coming Forward By Clinton

    FACT: Contrary To Consevative Media Smears, Clinton Said She Took Responsibility For The Benghazi Attack

    FACT: While Conservatives Claimed She Was Silent, Clinton Spoke Extensively About Benghazi Following Attack

    FACT: Clinton’s Use Of A Personal Email Account Was Legal And Did Not Violate State Department Policy

    FACT: Clinton Is Not The Subject Of A Criminal Investigation Over Her Emails

    FACT: Clinton Did Not Receive Any Emails Labeled As “Classified” Or “Top Secret” At The Time They Were Sent

    FACT:Clinton’s Use Of A Private Server Did Not Raise Additional Questions About The Retroactive Classification Of Her Emails

    FACT: Conservative Comparisons Of Clinton To Petraeus Ignore The Fact That Unlike Petraeus, There’s No Evidence Clinton Knowingly Emailed Classified Information

    FACT: CIA Says Clinton Did Not Expose Classified Information About Libyan Intelligence Source With Email Contrary To Conservative Claims

  22. Sherry says:

    Errrr, BC. . . and just exactly and precisely does “Make America Great Again” mean??? Trump hasn’t been able to tell us. . . perhaps you can enlighten us. . . please do explain in detail!

    Thanks alp. . . great post!

  23. Sherry says:

    Hammock. . . and precisely how is Hillary Clinton an enabler . . . what exactly should your woman do if you cheated on her? Should you not be forgiven? Should you be killed in your bed? What?

    Should sinners never be forgiven? Have you never, ever sinned and sought forgiveness? Please reply! Perhaps you should have a long talk with your minister, or your God.

  24. Lin says:

    Media Matters is a progressive liberal media arm connected not at all surreptitiously with the Democrat Administration and George Soros.

    They are biased to the extreme, and I don’t believe a word they put out as FACT.

  25. alp says:


    Media Matters carefully documents with footnotes every fact, unlike the conservative bloggers who pull their “facts” from the lower extremities of their back side. knowing full well that their knuckle dragging followers will believe whatever BS they tell them.

  26. Sherry says:

    So Lin. . . did you even watch the Benghazi Senate hearing? They raked Secretary Clinton over the coals for more hours than maybe any other hearing in history. Did you witness a PROVEN lie of any significance, or PROVEN blame or responsibility on Hillary Clinton’s part? Is it not a FACT that she has been completely EXONERATED by all investigations (by her passionate opponents) for the tragedy in Benghazi? Is it reasonable or justifiable that Secretary Clinton still be called a liar and be blamed for Benghazi, really? Do you actually believe she is being treated fairly and without undue bias?

  27. Common Sense says:

    Well Lin, did you research any of the facts? Do you deny that they are true, regardless of who printed them?

    This is the typical Republican approach. Try to discredit the source but ignore the facts.

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