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At Florida GOP Gathering, Opposition To Clinton Congeals Support for Trump

| May 13, 2016

donald trump florida gop

Trump is winning them over. (Mark Taylor)

With varying degrees of enthusiasm at times overshadowed by resignation, Florida Republican leaders are girding themselves for a must-win battle this fall as they work to coalesce support for their party’s presumptive presidential nominee, Donald Trump.

At a quarterly meeting of the Republican Party of Florida in Tampa, numerous county GOP officials Friday offered the same response when asked if they are supporting Trump, a part-time Palm Beach County resident who’s all but closed the deal to face off against likely Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton in November.

“I am now,” said Clint Pate, chairman of the Jackson County GOP who’s also a county commissioner, mimicking the responses of two other county chairs.

“I think we all are, aren’t we?” Sarasota County state committeeman Christian Ziegler said.

As they held the final quarterly meeting before July’s national GOP convention in Cleveland, state party officials were focused on pumping up county leaders in the hopes of delivering Florida’s 29 electoral votes — which President Barack Obama racked up in the “blue” column during the past two elections — to Trump.

The contentious GOP primary battle, which included the defeats of two Florida favorite sons, makes the typical post-primary party unification in 2016 a tougher task than in previous years.

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio abandoned the race after failing to gain traction in the once-crowded GOP field.

“Whenever you have a heated primary, the party has to come and gel around the nominee, regardless. I will concede that this has been a little bit more of a heated primary, so it may take a little bit longer than in years past, but we will come together,” state Republican Chairman Blaise Ingoglia told The News Service of Florida during an interview Friday afternoon.

For many at the meeting, Trump’s biggest asset is his opponent.

“There are three very big reasons why people are going to unify behind Donald Trump: Hillary Clinton, Hillary Clinton and Hillary Clinton,” Ingoglia said.

While lining up behind Trump may be a no-brainer for many of the GOP faithful, the task is more complicated for those focused on drawing in Hispanic voters, a critical portion of Florida’s electorate that was instrumental in boosting Obama to victory in 2008 and 2012.

“(Trump) is our presumptive nominee, and I’m a delegate, and I will go to the convention and I will vote for the nominee,” Margie Nelson, a convention delegate from Hendry County who serves on the state party’s Minority Engagement Committee, told reporters after her committee’s strategy session Friday.

For many Hispanic Republicans like Nelson, who was born in Indiana and whose ancestors are Mexican, Trump — who has campaigned on building a wall along the Mexican border and who characterized Mexican immigrants as “rapists” — himself is the biggest challenge in recruiting Latino voters.

“It’s very hurtful … putting us all into a certain group, into a certain class, that we’re all criminals, we’re all druggies, rapists,” Nelson, a retired law enforcement worker who lives in LaBelle, said. “I know Mexico, and I know where the people come from and where they live. They come here for a better opportunity. They come here for jobs, because they have nothing.”

Nelson acknowledged that “it’s going to be very hard” to persuade Hispanics in her community to throw their support behind the GOP.

“I can’t go back and take his words and translate them into something else. All I can say is, with Donald Trump as our presumptive nominee, that, as a party, we will work together,” she said. “We have to move forward. We have to be positive about this. The American people have voted, and we have to go with that. That’s what the Republican Party is about.”

While Trump’s message may not resonate with Hispanic voters, its substance echoes Republican values, Palm Beach County Chairman Michael Barnett, who chairs the minority outreach committee, said.

“We’re all very concerned about border safety, people coming across, threatening our national security. That’s what Donald Trump has been saying all along, maybe in a way that some people find uncomfortable, and maybe that’s been the problem the whole time, his tone,” Barnett said. “He’s outspoken and doesn’t apologize, doesn’t pull any punches. That’s what a lot of people have a big problem with.”

Barnett said he is “less and less concerned” about party unity after a reported detente between Trump and U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan, who met on Thursday.

“I thought we would be seeing more progress, but at least Speaker Ryan says that the foundation was laid for unity. I hope to see that unity sooner rather than later,” Barnett, who is black, told reporters Friday afternoon.

But with two months to go before the GOP convention in Cleveland, Barnett said, “I don’t think we’re going to have anything to worry about.”

While relations between Trump and Ryan may have thawed, Bush — who dropped out of the GOP primary in February and a month later threw his support behind U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, who later abandoned pursuit of the nomination — said he would not back Trump or Clinton for president.

Bush’s father, former President George H.W. Bush, has also said he would not support Trump. Both men drew criticism from party-line Republicans at Friday’s meeting.

“I’m very disappointed in him. He almost sounds like a child who’s pouting,” said Trudi Super, a state committeewoman from DeSoto County.

Super, who said she and her husband were “major, major Bush supporters,” said she is committed to getting Trump elected in November.

“He would not have been my first choice. I’ve agonized over this,” Super said.

–Dara Kam, News Service of Florida

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15 Responses for “At Florida GOP Gathering, Opposition To Clinton Congeals Support for Trump”

  1. TBG says:

    Obama just stabbed Hillery in the back with his insane bathroom edict. With a stroke of a pen, 2 million plus dem votes just changed to 2 million plus rep votes. And she can’t publicly complain about it. Cold.

    Could it be payback? But for what I wonder.

  2. Glenn says:

    It’s a no brainer between Clinton and Trump! Bush and Rubio suspended their campaigns because the American people spoke–they did not vote for them! The media has done everything on their power to influence this election and support those who are in support of “one world order”. Thank goodness the American people can see through this and have spoken.

  3. r&r says:

    Another opposition I have against Cliton is she is allowed to be free when she belongs in prison along side Bill.

  4. Ws says:

    Well of course rhey are going to lean toward Trump now. What person with a brain isn’t!

  5. Bc. says:

    Wow trump will gain from this big time with votes. If you were born with a penis you use the men’s room I don’t care what you are we wearing. A penis in a dress is still a man . I don’t want men in the same bathroom with my daughter. This affects such a small percentage of people it’s laughable that the potus wants a law that a man can go into a gym shower or a dressing room bath etc. etc. what a joke we need this joker potus gone. And now he just lost the election for Hillary (GREAT) no way she will go against him on this but the American voters will. They will not support this abuse of power.

  6. YankeeExPat says:

    Here’s a simple test for Republicans……..Say the names of President Abraham Lincoln, President Ronald Reagan, and now Donald Trump in the same sentence …..That is without having to bite your Lip!

  7. Flatsflyer says:

    Trump, now agrees with Paul Ryan on a new agenda, cut Social Security, cut Medicare, privatize the VA, and repeal ACA. For supporting these items on Ryan’s agenda, Trump get’s to build his wall, keep 1/3 of the world’s people out of the US and strip key items from the First Amendment. Ryan will also support Trump belief that he can default on the US, over half of which is owed to the Social Security Trust Fund. In no short order if Trump is ever elected President, the US is thrown into a death spiral. A hateful, racist who lies about 90% of the time can only fool stupid people and the Republican voters have bought all of his lies. Years of Fox and 12 months of Trump have ruined this Country. 300 years to build 24 months to destroy it.

  8. Knightwatch says:

    Why do Republicans love to wallow in Trump’s dirt? He lies, he insults, he threatens, he intimidates and he bullies. He has no clear philosophy of governance and no interest in listening or learning enough to form one. He flipflops and obfuscates routinely when challenged. He has no defining personal principles of public behavior save self-aggrandizement and making “deals”. He is a serial womanizer noted for his crude behavior. He actively and loudly insults and belittles those who challenge him with the truth about himself. He is a “Richie Rich” ten-year old brat with bad hair.

    All of this is well documented. I’m not making this up or exaggerating. You can see on TV and online, and hear it all right from his very own foul mouth. So, Republicans, what makes you dismiss his horrid behavior? Where is your God, country and apple pious outrage? Is their no ugliness that’s too much for you and too much for the office of the president? Are you deaf and blind or merely delusional?

  9. proud yankee says:

    trump is the final nail in the republican parties coffin.

  10. Sherry says:

    Let’s all read just a few actual FACT about Trump’s sordid, despicable history shall we? I encourage all voters to do their own research before deciding on who should be our next President. I implore you to use your own “independent” thinking and decision making.

    Donald Trump has an active court battle for bilking thousands of dollars from Trump University students, settled the SoHo case to avoid criminal conviction, hired foreign workers illegally and mistreated them, has connections with the mob, cheating his creditors by using bankruptcy laws FOUR times. . . and on and on! Take the time to read and absorbs the FACTS of the long legacy of Trump’s despicable acts. . . then defend him as a good choice for our President:

    There are many more where these came from!:

  11. confidential says:

    I didn’t know that my county taxes pay for my public corner in Flagler Beach Rte 100 Moody Blvd and A1A right there across from Finn’s to be allowed in the right of way, free standing wire signs for Trump!! Left there unattended by two overweight blond tattoed women in their late 50’s last Sunday that waved them for about 30 minutes after arriving and parked ocean front in A1A in an old light blue beaten up pick up over loaded with also and old discolored blue sofa sticking out the back into the traffic and or pedestrians right of way! I thought unattended political signs were not allowed in our public right of ways. Anyway a good soul walked buy and took them and trashed them. Thank you!

  12. confidential says:

    The above display was last Sunday around 6.30 PM.

  13. Pogo says:

    Drumpf* is easy to understand. People of walmart’s sequel.


  14. Geezer says:

    “The American Dream”

    The American Dream has become a nightmare.

  15. confidential says:

    Why Trump lost my daughters vote last week!!
    She was training/riding in her road bicycle in Chandler AZ mid morning to avoid rush hour traffic and after the light turned green she proceeded on her bike lane (as they have good marked bicycle lanes there) when this young male driving and old beaten pick up truck intentionally pressed the gas spinning his wheels generating a blinding cloud of black smoke on her. He was displaying a big TRUMP sign on his bumper.
    Is this the America that Trump wants to bring back..? Aggression and disrespect !!

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