Miami's Ten Biggest Political Stories of 2017
Photo by Michele Eve Sandberg

Miami's Ten Biggest Political Stories of 2017

This was the year when Miami politics went full drunken circus. Donald Trump repeatedly gave prime seats to a notorious former Miami cult member who once stood trial for murder. His top adviser had a secret South Florida history tied to drug dealers and mystery apartments. And Marco Rubio continued to be a spineless embarrassment.

Here are the ten most-read political stories we wrote in 2017:

1. Marco Rubio Took Nearly $100,000 From Betsy DeVos' Family Before Confirming Her

Rubio's help in DeVos' razor-thin approval is especially unsurprising. It turns out DeVos — a multibillionaire with zero educational experience — and her family have been especially generous donors to Rubio's campaign coffers. In fact, Rubio accepted more DeVos cash than any other senator who backed her nomination today.

Rubio has taken a total of $98,300 from DeVos and her family members, according to Federal Election Commission reports crunched by the Center for American Progress (CAP).

Miami's Ten Biggest Political Stories of 2017
Photo by Michele Eve Sandberg

2. Donald Trump Won't Pay Miami Paint Store, Court Upholds $300,000 Fine Over Trump National Doral Golf Resort

Donald Trump is so rich. Big-league (bigly?) wealthy. So wonderfully wealthy that he apparently owes a Miami paint store $300,000 for work at his Trump National Doral Miami resort. So wealthy he's been fighting not to pay that $300,000 since last year. So wealthy that his lawyers officially lost an appeal yesterday and now he's gotta pay that $300,000 or try to appeal all the way to the Florida Supreme Court.

Yes, the president of the United States of America, the leader of the free world, the single most powerful human being on Planet Earth, a man who recently bombed Syria on a whim, lost a fight over a few thousand dollars' worth of paint supplies.

3. Video: Florida Sen. Marco Rubio Runs Away From Miami Protester

Rubio arrived back in the States by this past Friday morning, just in time to teach his class at Florida International University, to skip another town hall in Miami for no good reason, and to get confronted on camera by numerous protesters. In the video embedded above, he was confronted on camera at his FIU class.

In the clip, protesters can be heard shouting "You don't care about our health care!" at the senator. Then Rubio, in a white shirt and tie, starts debating the ins-and-outs of the health insurance industry with some of the people he represents.

Miami's Ten Biggest Political Stories of 2017
tateyama / Shutterstock.com

4. Trinidadian Man Detained at Fort Lauderdale Airport, Reporter Stacy-Marie Ishmael Says

Donald Trump's travel ban last week was directed at seven majority-Muslim countries: Iraq, Iran, Syria, Yemen, Somalia, Libya, and Sudan. Trinidad, which sits seven miles off the coast of Venezuela in the Caribbean, is nowhere near any of those nations.

That fact, however, apparently did not stop customs agents from stopping a Trinidadian man — the husband of a prominent reporter — at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport yesterday. Stacy-Marie Ishmael, a former reporter for BuzzFeed and the Financial Times, said on Twitter around 9 p.m. yesterday that her husband had been detained by U.S. Customs and Border Patrol. Frighteningly, she claimed Border Patrol agents said her husband could not see a lawyer.

5. "Blacks for Trump" Supporter Is Former Yahweh Ben Yahweh Cult Member

So who is this new face of Trump's elusive black support?

He's none other than Michael the Black Man, also known as Maurice Woodside or Michael Symonette, who has made waves in Miami in recent years with protests against the Democratic Party and rallies for the GOP.

He's also a former member of the murderous Yahweh ben Yahweh cult, which was led by the charismatic preacher Hulon Mitchell Jr., who was charged by the feds in 1990 with conspiracy in killings that included a gruesome beheading in the Everglades.

Steve Bannon lashed out at the media this week.
Steve Bannon lashed out at the media this week.

6. As Steve Bannon Rose to Power, His Ex-Wife Struggled With Drugs and Violence in Miami

But it turns out Bannon's ties to Florida are even stranger than his voter registration woes. Court records obtained by New Times reveal that in 2013, one his ex-wives, Diane Clohesy, was caught trying to smuggle marijuana and a cell phone to an accused burglar in the Miami-Dade jail at a time when Bannon was reportedly paying her monthly rent at a Coconut Grove home.

7. Miami Will Comply With Trump's Sanctuary-City Ban, Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez Says

Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez — a man who himself was born in Cuba — sent a stark message to undocumented immigrants Thursday: Miami-Dade County will not protect you.

Yesterday, President Trump signed an executive order pulling all federal funding from so-called sanctuary cities that refuse to cooperate with Immigration and Customs Enforcement and other federal officials looking to weed out and deport undocumented people. The order threw Miami-Dade County — long touted as the immigrant-friendliest city in America — into a state of shock.

Sen. Keith PerryEXPAND
Sen. Keith Perry
Florida Senate

8. Florida Sen. Keith Perry Wants Congress to "Dismantle" Judicial Branch of Government

In December, he filed a resolution in the Florida House, which, if passed, would urge the U.S. Congress to straight-up invalidate the judicial branch. And this morning, Perry filed a companion bill in the state Senate. The pair is asking Congress to amend the U.S. Constitution so that Congress can overturn any judicial decision. Under the crackpot bills, which are identical, Congress could overturn U.S. Supreme Court decisions with a 60 percent vote.

9. Florida Democratic Party President: Poor Voters Don't Care About "Issues," Vote Based on "Emotions"

Last night, the party's new second-in-command, Sally Boynton Brown, spoke in front of the Democratic Progressive Caucus of Broward County. And throughout the exchange, she steadfastly refused to commit to changing the party's economic or health-care messaging in any concrete way.

"This is not going to be popular, but this is my belief of the time and place we're in now: I believe that we're in a place where it's very hard to get voters excited about 'issues,' the type of voters that are not voting," Brown said.

Miami's Ten Biggest Political Stories of 2017EXPAND
Photo by Jerry Iannelli

10. Marco Rubio Skips Miami Town Hall, Constituents Replace Him With Empty Suit

Sen. Marco Rubio did not show up to a citizen-initiated town-hall meeting held in South Miami-Dade County last night.

He was replaced by something that many of his constituents believe might be more useful: an empty suit that said and did nothing all night.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.


All-access pass to the top stories, events and offers around town.

  • Top Stories


All-access pass to top stories, events and offers around town.

Sign Up >

No Thanks!

Remind Me Later >