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2016 Election

Cruz: Not supporting candidate who wages personal attacks

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CLEVELAND (AP) — A night after being booed off the Republican National Convention stage, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz remained defiant about Donald Trump Thursday, saying he is not a “servile puppy dog” and vowing not to support anyone who wages personal attacks against his family.

Speaking to an incensed Texas delegation, Cruz recalled an answer he gave at a Republican debate this year, when he enthusiastically said he would support the party’s official nominee.

“The day that was abdicated was the day this became personal,” Cruz said. “I’m not going to get into criticizing or attacking Donald Trump, but I’ll give you this response: I am not in the habit of supporting people who attack my wife and attack my father.”

“And that pledge was not a blanket commitment that if you go and slander and attack Heidi, I’m going to nonetheless come like a servile puppy dog and say thank you very much for maligning my wife and my father,” he added.

Cruz tried to link arms with Republicans at the party’s national convention Wednesday but was booed lustily by delegates when he ended his speech without offering Trump his endorsement or even saying he would vote for the New York billionaire.

The blatant sign of disunity in prime time angered the Trump campaign, with top adviser Paul Manafort saying Cruz “used very bad judgment” and was “not respectful to the invitation by the convention to come and speak.”

Manafort told NBC’s “Today” on Thursday that Cruz “understood what the responsibilities are, someone in his position.”

Trump repeatedly mocked Cruz throughout the campaign as “Lyin’ Ted.” Trump also took jabs at the appearance of Cruz’s wife, Goldman Sachs executive Heidi Cruz, and the Texas senator responded that Trump is a “sniveling coward.” Trump also made suggestions that Cruz’s father had indirect links to John F. Kennedy’s assassin, Lee Harvey Oswald.

As he appeared on stage Wednesday night, Cruz basked in a minute-long standing ovation. Cruz finished second to Trump in the crowded Republican primary campaign and congratulated the GOP nominee on his victory.

But the closest as Cruz came to saying he wanted Trump to win the White House was when he said: “I want to see the principles that our party believes in prevail in November.”

Cruz didn’t tell the convention crowd that he plans to vote for Trump. Nor did he ask his supporters, hundreds of whom encouraged him to run for president in four years at an event on Wednesday afternoon, to vote for the newly minted Republican nominee.

Interrupted by chants of “Trump, Trump, Trump,” Cruz paused and said with a smile, “I appreciate the enthusiasm of the New York delegation.”

But as Cruz ended his remarks, and as the crowd of more than 2,000 delegates at the Quicken Loans Arena waited for Cruz to say something — anything — kind about Trump, he demurred.

“And to those listening, please, don’t stay home in November,” Cruz said. “Stand and speak, and vote your conscience. Vote for candidates up and down the ticket who you trust to defend our freedom and to be faithful to the Constitution.”

Democrat Hillary Clinton, in a tweet, quickly echoed Cruz, saying, “Vote your conscience.”

The delegates responded with angry boos, and Cruz backer and former Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli escorted Heidi Cruz off the convention floor as she was heckled by Trump delegates.

But Trump said later on Twitter that Cruz’s lack of an endorsement was “no big deal!” But he said Cruz “didn’t honor” the pledge that Republican primary candidates had made to support the eventual GOP nominee.

“He’s a chicken,” said Eugene Delgaudio, a delegate from Sterling, Virginia, who clucked like a chicken when asked about Cruz’s decision. “He needed to toughen up like every other Republican loser of any nomination battle in the last 100 years since Abraham Lincoln and just suck it up, be a man and back the nominee that he was beaten by, fair and square.”

“If we’re not going to do that, why do we have elections? Because Ted Cruz has decided that he knows better? Than all of the people who voted in the elections?” he said.

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2016 Election

[OPINION] We Need More Saturday Night Live, Especially This Election Season

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Saturday Night Live has graced American television for almost 50 years, please continue.

ORLANDO, Fla. (FNN NEWS) – We need political comedy, not political correctness. SNL is the answer.

Saturday Night Live has been a staple of American comedy for almost 50 years. Founded in 1975, it’s hilarious skits, songs, and other performances have become iconic in entertainment history.

Many a famous actor has gotten his and her start as an SNL cast member, with many celebrities starring as guest performers. Here is a short list of some of the talent that has graced the SNL set:

  • Tina Fey
  • Will Ferrell
  • Eddie Murphy
  • Andy Samberg
  • Jimmy Fallon
  • Bill Murray
  • Adam Sandler
  • Justin Timberlake
  • Steve Carell
  • And so many more!

SNL is notorious for its election season performances, which become viral overnight.

In the 2016 election, several cast members had recurring roles throughout the election. They spent months spoofing debates, press conferences, interviews, and campaign events as their respective characters.

Take Alec Baldwin, whose Trump impression is unmatched. He has appeared in more than a dozen shows portraying the President, and has even won an Emmy for the role.

Kate McKinnon took on the role of Hillary Clinton and knocked it out of the park, also winning an Emmy.

Other characters included Larry David as Bernie Sanders, Beck Bennet as Mike Pence, and Cecily Strong as Melania Trump.

The 2016 election season was glorious, with some of the funniest ever performances. In my opinion, there is nothing more bipartisan than laughing at the faults of political candidates.

Democrats and Republicans alike can laugh at the hilarious goofs, one-liners, and relationships between Trump, Hillary, and all the other candidates and big players.

We all understand that politics and elections are serious business, but sometimes we all need to step back and take it all a little less seriously.

In our time of political correctness, the acceptable limits of comedy are shrinking drastically, which is unfortunate. Any joke that has anything to do with race, ethnicity, gender, age, weight, or religion is strictly prohibited.

Of course, no one wants to be attacked or discriminated against, but we’ve lost the ability to laugh at ourselves and to take a joke.

It’s one of the large divides between generations, with young people being offended at older jokes while not understanding the different mentality behind them.

Maintaining the freedom to joke about our political candidates is essential to keeping us light-hearted and united. It’s so easy for both parties to dig in their heels and attack each other ruthlessly, but if we can stop and just relax for a minute, we’ll see how much we have in common.

All I’m saying is that I give SNL and any other comedy group permission to go full steam in the coming election. With everything happening in 2020, we could use a good laugh!

Here are a few of my favorite 2016 SNL Election videos:

________________________________

Marcos Barrios is a Florida National News contributing writer. The avid writer and musician is passionate about politics and entertainment in Florida and abroad.

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2016 Election

[OPINION] POLITICS AT ITS WORST… It’s not just a DC thing!

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Randy Ross and his mother Betty. Photo credit: Randy Ross

ORLANDO, Fla. (FNN NEWS) – Recently I reported on social media a verbal assault my mother and I experienced while leaving local downtown eatery. A total stranger screaming his hate of President Trump in my direction while I pushed my mom in a wheelchair from the restaurant. While unpleasant, I chalked it up to my being as close as many can get to express their dislike of our President.

On Saturday, while returning home from an assignment here in Orlando the hate reared its head again. While traveling on I-4 I received a call from a number I didn’t recognize. Traditionally I would not answer such a call, but the nature of the project I was working on warranted answering the call to ensure it wasn’t work related.

Me: “Hello.”

Voice on the other end: “This is [not disclosing] from the Florida Department of Children and Families. I’m sitting here with your mother Betty. We are investigating a complaint of elder abuse in your home.”

Me: “I’m sorry. Is this some type of joke? Who are you?”

The gentleman on the other end reconfirmed. At this point I’m sure I begin breaking the speed limit to get home. I mean, I have cared for my mother for nearly 30 years. He continued, “There was an accusation that you had thrown your mother down a flight of stairs.” I immediately said, “Ok, I’m 10 minutes from home. However, I need you to step outside the home until I get there.” He agreed.

I had no idea what truly was going on and what to expect when I arrived. He could have been anyone holding her hostage or something.

In the interim, I immediately called my friend and Attorney Roger Scott and explained the situation. He confirmed I had the right to ask him to leave the home and didn’t even have to allow him to come back in. However, I expressed to Roger that when I got to the house I was going to speak with the representative and would determine from his demeanor whether to allow him back in. After arriving home and a few minutes of speaking with the representative I quickly realized he too felt the anonymous allegation was false. I then contacted my attorney and had him listen to the conversation, via speaker phone, between the representative, my mother, and me.

Now keep in mind, Roger is not a Trump supporter. We both are very clear in our politics. However, he also knows when something smells rotten. Roger further clarified that he’s heard the same allegation before on social media and that, if true, my mother and her medical advisors ad physicians would have stepped in long ago. Scott said, “I have personally been in the Ross home and witnessed the love and care he gives his mother. This is clearly politically motivated.”

After wrapping up the call with my attorney, the representative shared he would be talking to my neighbors, Mom’s doctors, and my sister in Indiana. He stated, “I feel this is something that will be wrapped up quickly. If so, I’ll call you in a few days and alert you to my decision.”

Yesterday, Tuesday, October 9th, that call came. “Mr. Ross, I wanted to let you know I’m closing the case and that we saw no proof of your mom being thrown down the stairs or elder abuse after speaking with neighbors, your mother’s doctors and your family.” I simply said, “Thank you,” and hung up. That’s when the reality of the situation hit me… I realized whomever had made this accusation had been successful in one thing…humiliating me and my family. It could have stopped there. But that’s not how I roll. I wanted to speak up and out for all Americans that happen to have a voice and support our President.

Here’s the reality. Since I accepted the role of Orange County Chairman for Trump in 2015 I have faced enormous pushback from former friends and the community of people who don’t like our President. It was seemingly impossible for them to believe you can be a gay conservative, let alone one that supports President Trump.

Trust, I’ve heard it all. False allegations that I drugged and raped multiple people. I’ve received more death threats and threats of violence towards me than I care to mention. One threat in particular suggested, “I hope to wipe the blood of your crippled mother on the streets of downtown Orlando.” See a pattern? I’ve heard pretty much anything and everything horrible that could be said, all categorically false. But I don’t think I ever expected someone would go so far as to make such a false allegation regarding my mother. One that had a different representative with a different agenda showed up at my home could have gone strikingly different. In fact, as the representative mentioned, “We could have your mother removed from your home.” My mom, who is 76 years old, 85 lbs soaking wet, frail, with severe rheumatoid arthritis, never had anything more dramatic in her life but a speeding ticket, could have been taken from my home, via a false allegation… and all because I support President Donald J Trump? Is this really the state of politics in America? Then again, I know my mother… she would not have gone quietly. And I’m pretty sure my sister and brother in law would have taken the next jet from Indianapolis to get here and straighten them out. Quickly.

I decided to utilize the various platforms of influence I have to bring awareness that I, like basically anyone with high profile support of our President, am a target. But let me be perfectly clear: I am not a snowflake. The silent majority is simply tired of being silent.

No, I’m not President Trump and I certainly can’t imagine the attacks Justice Kavanaugh must have endured, however, I’m realizing how pathetic those that disagree with my politics have become. You can’t even eat dinner without some nut job trying to interfere under the direction of “Chief Derangement Officer” Maxine Waters. But this?

I, and my entire family for that matter, support President Trump unapologetically and will continue to no matter the barbs and attacks sent our way. Imagine if some of that hate and negative posturing was utilized to actually make the change you seek? I guess that would require too much real work.

I’m not sure what will be the next attempt the left, or possibly those in my own party, will throw in my direction because of my successful support for our President. But one thing’s for sure: You’re messing with the wrong American. Elder abuse is a very, very serious issue. The idea that anyone would ignore the needs of a senior is unimaginable to me. However, using the fact that I care for a senior, who happens to be my mother, as a tool for political gain? Well, there’s a special place in hell for people like that!

_________________________________________

Randy Ross is a political contributor for Florida National News.

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2016 Election

Trump travel ban partly reinstated; fall court arguments set

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WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court is allowing the Trump administration to go forward with a limited version of its ban on travel from six mostly Muslim countries, a victory for President Donald Trump in the biggest legal controversy of his young presidency.

The justices will hear full arguments in October in the case that has stirred heated emotions across the nation. In the meantime, the court said Monday that Trump’s ban on visitors from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen can be enforced if those visitors lack a “credible claim of a bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States.”

Trump said last week that the ban would take effect 72 hours after being cleared by courts.

The administration has said the 90-day ban was needed on national security grounds to allow an internal review of screening procedures for visa applicants from the six countries. Opponents say the ban is unlawful, based on visitors’ Muslim religion. The administration review should be complete before Oct. 2, the first day the justices could hear arguments in their new term.

A 120-day ban on refugees also is being allowed to take effect on a limited basis.

Three of the court’s conservative justices said they would have let the complete bans take effect.

Justice Clarence Thomas, joined by Samuel Alito and Neil Gorsuch, said the government has shown it is likely to succeed on the merits of the case, and that it will suffer irreparable harm with any interference. Thomas said the government’s interest in preserving national security outweighs any hardship to people denied entry into the country.

Some immigration lawyers said the limited nature of the ban and the silence of the court’s liberals on the issue Monday suggested that the court had not handed Trump much of a victory. They said relatively few people would fall under the ban because people coming to study, work or visit family members in the United States already have sufficient relationships with others already is in the country.

Trump, though, hailed the high court’s order as a “clear victory for our national security.” He said in a statement that his “number one responsibility” is to keep the American people safe.

The court’s opinion explained the kinds of relationships people from the six countries must demonstrate to obtain a U.S. visa.

“For individuals, a close familial relationship is required,” the court said. For people who want to come to the United States to work or study, “the relationship must be formal, documented and formed in the ordinary course, not for the purpose of evading” the travel ban.

The opinion faulted the two federal appeals courts that had blocked the travel policy for going too far to limit Trump’s authority over immigration. The president announced the travel ban a week after he took office in January and revised it in March after setbacks in court.

The 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, Virginia, said the ban was “rooted in religious animus” toward Muslims and pointed to Trump’s campaign promise to impose a ban on Muslims entering the country as well as tweets and remarks he has made since becoming president.

The San Francisco-based 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said the travel policy does not comply with federal immigration law, including a prohibition on nationality-based discrimination. That court also put a hold on separate aspects of the policy that would keep all refugees out of the United States for 120 days and cut by more than half, from 110,000 to 50,000, the cap on refugees in the current government spending year that ends September 30.

Trump’s first executive order on travel applied to travelers from Iraq and well as the six countries, and took effect immediately, causing chaos and panic at airports over the last weekend in January as the Homeland Security Department scrambled to figure out whom the order covered and how it was to be implemented.

A federal judge blocked it eight days later, an order that was upheld by a 9th circuit panel. Rather than pursue an appeal, the administration said it would revise the policy.

In March, Trump issued the narrower order.

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