Florida politicians, as a group, aren't exactly known for riding smoothly on the rails to begin with, but Donald Trump has gone so far off the rails that Sunshine State pols on both sides of the aisle are calling him out in no uncertain terms. After Trump's demand for "a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States" last night, several Floridians blasted him.
Perhaps the biggest pushback came not from a Florida Democrat, but from a Florida Republican.
Rep. David Jolly, who is leading polls in the state's GOP Senate primary, took the Florida House floor this morning to insist that Trump pull out of the race. After about a minute of criticizing President Barack Obama (per GOP standards), Jolly pivoted to Trump and suggested that "it should be heartbreaking to every American that we have a frontrunner in the presidential race that suggests there should be a religious test for anyone who wishes to come to our shores."
Jolly then called on Trump to exit the race.
He doubled down by issuing a prepared statement to the media earlier this morning as well.
“While ISIS is beheading innocent people for their religious practices, Trump is betraying our freedoms,” Jolly wrote. “His brutal, bullying bigotry runs contrary to the very principles our forefathers fought so hard to defend. We are either a party of protecting the Constitution and religious liberties or we’re not. America should insist on a security test but never a religious test.”
It's an interesting tactic to take. Trump is still far and away the frontrunner in Florida. Jolly is also the frontrunner for the state's Senate nomination, though that race has so far failed to spark much attention. Jolly's tough stance could have huge implications for that race.
Meanwhile, St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman got perhaps one of the best zingers in on Twitter.
I am hereby barring Donald Trump from entering St. Petersburg until we fully understand the dangerous threat posed by all Trumps.— Rick Kriseman (@Kriseman) December 8, 2015
Florida senator and Trump opponent Marco Rubio also took to Twitter to rebuke Trump's statements.
I disagree with Donald Trump's latest proposal. His habit of making offensive and outlandish statements will not bring Americans together.— Marco Rubio (@marcorubio) December 8, 2015
The next President better be somebody who can unite our country to face the great challenges of the 21st Century.— Marco Rubio (@marcorubio) December 8, 2015
Jeb Bush, never afraid to basically call out Trump for what he is, did just that.
Donald Trump is unhinged. His "policy" proposals are not serious.— Jeb Bush (@JebBush) December 7, 2015
Democrat Rep. Ted Deutch called Trump's statements "unAmerican."
Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz was left nearly speechless.
Trump called for "a total and complete shutdown" of Muslims entering the US "until our country... can figure out what is going on.” Unreal.— D Wasserman Schultz (@DWStweets) December 7, 2015
The Tampa Bay Times also reached out to Florida's Republican cabinet for comment. Agriculture Commissioner (and potential 2018 gubernatorial candidate) Adam Putnam noted, "It was a ridiculous statement... It was offensive to American values." Attorney General Pam Bondi said, "I believe that it's unconstitutional to discriminate against an entire religion."
Asked to comment on the issue, Gov. Rick Scott replied, "I haven't seen what he said."
Keep Miami New Times Free... Since we started Miami New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Miami, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Miami with no paywalls.