Media Attack Context

No, there was no direct tie between the shrill demonization of the media by Donald Trump and the murder of those five journalists at the Capital Gazette. By all accounts, Jarrod Ramos had a personal vendetta with the paper that morphed into a murderous assault.

That said, we still can’t dismiss the context of a deadly media attack in an era where presidential animus toward the media is a daily constant. Especially when we also know that the Capital Gazette received death threats and emails celebrating the shootings following the slaughter. That wasn’t the warped work of Ramos; that was the vile upshot of the media-scapegoating times we live in. When the one with the bully pulpit megaphone labels the media “the enemy of the people,” all bets are off.


  • “He just said it’s not Russia. I will say this: I don’t see any reason why it would be.”—President Donald Trump.
  • “It was not a good day for the country. … It was shameful.”—The response of Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., to the Trump-Putin summit.
  • “Now you wouldn’t think of the European Union, but they’re a foe. Russia is a foe in certain respects. China is a foe economically, certainly a foe.”—President Donald Trump.
  • “It is up for debate whether Donald Trump will be a sad aberration in American history, a mere blip. But thanks to the cheeky citizens of London, he will always be a blimp.”—Maureen Dowd, New York Times.
  • “What good is NATO if Germany is paying Russia billions of dollars for gas and energy?”—Donald Trump.
  • “Trump is a troll—both by temperament and by habit. His tweets and offhand taunts are the very essence of trolling—the lies, the scorn, the invective, the trash talk, and the rabid non sequiturs of an angry, aggrieved, isolated, and deeply self-absorbed adolescent who lives in a self-constructed bubble and gets the attention he craves from bashing his enemies and trailing clouds of outrage and dismay in his path.”—Michiko Kakutani, author of “The Death of Truth.”
  • “When we were in power, under Obama and Clinton, I don’t believe party leaders did what should have been done, and this is come up with a manifesto for the 21st”—Former Democratic Sen. Gary Hart of Colorado, a two-time presidential candidate.
  • “The Republicans galvanize their base by inciting a lot of fear; they operate on a lot of mythmaking.”—Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the unheralded New York Democrat who knocked off incumbent Rep. Joseph Crowley, chairman of the Democratic caucus and heir apparent to the minority leader, Nancy Pelosi.
  • “Whether it comes from the left or the right, judicial restraint is honorable, especially if it operates in a nonpartisan manner. But movement conservatism—like its left-wing sibling—is a major threat to democratic ideals. It is well worth figuring out whether any Supreme Court nominee, including Judge Brett Kavanaugh, subscribes to it.”—Cass R. Sunstein, author of “#Republic: Divided Democracy in the Age of Social Media.”
  • “I do see more news stories that are more Republican-leaning than I ever had. I’ve (also) seen the shift in all the national media to harden their positions and play more to their perceived audiences.”—Ken LaCorte, former senior vice president of Fox News Digital.
  • *This policy of (school) choice has helped create the most segregated school system in the country by reducing government intervention and incentivizing the public school system to act like a market. Those with purchasing power do fine. Those without suffer.”—Mike Stivers, Jacobin Magazine.
  • *Now that the Republican Party is very much Donald Trump’s party, you see less focus on ideology and more focus on tribalism, who has the guts to take people on.”—Florida Republican Congressman Matt Gaetz.
  • “It makes it clear that a medical marijuana card is not a get-out-of-jail-free card if you’re driving impaired.”—State Sen. Rob Bradley, R-Fleming Island, on the state’s “Drive Baked, Get Busted” campaign.
  • “As Florida’s top agricultural official, I’ve witnessed firsthand how trade deals can impact our Florida farmers and agricultural industry. I’m pleased that the president is fighting for American jobs and Florida families.”—Agricultural Commissioner and gubernatorial candidate Adam Putnam.
  • “Our goal is to use as little tax money as possible. We’re going to have to find other ways.”—Mayor Bob Buckhorn on the city’s role in supporting a Rays move to an Ybor City stadium.
  • “With each passing day … We’re confident we will have the signatures by the end of the month to get this solution on the November ballot.”—Tyler Hudson, chairman of the All for Transportation committee, which needs 48,745 signatures by July 27 to get a sales tax referendum on the November ballot.
  • “I don’t know if I would call it a mode of transportation. It’s not going to take a lot of cars off the road, but it does bring bodies to our urban core.”—Mayor Bob Buckhorn, in announcing that he will recommend that City Council contribute the city’s $150,000 share to help fund the return of the CrossBay Ferry.


* “Some leaders in Asia, Africa and even Europe are beginning to wonder whether China’s authoritarian technocracy is a better governance model for the 21st century than America’s chaotic democratic system.”–Walter Russell Mead, Wall Street Journal.

* “Negotiating with North Korea is always difficult, but President Trump made it immeasurably harder with his euphoric tweets about how the North is no longer a nuclear threat.”–Wendy Sherman, undersecretary of state for political affairs during the Obama Administration.

* “Students on scholarships, not cartel hitmen.”–Mexican President-elect Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, in promising $7.5 billion for youth job training and aid to the elderly.

* “The largest trade war in economic history to date.”–How the Chinese Commerce Ministry has characterized the Trump Administration’s approach to tariffs and duties on Chinese goods.

* “The key is translating these public demonstrations and marches into electoral activism and then government activism.”–Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown of Ohio.

* “Democrats typically bombard voters with laundry lists of issues, facts, figures and policy positions, while Republicans offer them emotionally compelling appeals, whether to their values, principles or prejudices.”–Drew Westen, professor of psychology at Emory University and author of “The Political Brain.”

* “The media, normally the last check on a president with total control of government, has lost the trust of most Republicans and many Democrats, after two years of Trump pummeling.”–Mike Allen, Axios.

* “Free expression doesn’t really mean much if people don’t feel safe.”–Twitter’s Vice President for Trust and Safety Del Harvey.

* “Legally, what was, toward the beginning of the 20th century, a shield for radicals, artists and activists, socialists and pacifists, the excluded and the dispossessed, has become a sword for authoritarians, racists and misogynists, Nazis and Klansmen, pornographers and corporations buying elections.”–Catherine A. MacKinnon, University of Michigan law professor, on the legal evolution of the First Amendment.

* “The difference (from an overturned Roe v. Wade) isn’t between abortion and no abortion. It’s between a safe procedure and a dangerous one.”–Jennifer Wright, New York Post.

* “One of the biggest mistakes we made was trying to automate things that are super easy for a person to do, but super hard for a robot to do.”–Elon Musk, chief executive of Tesla.

* “I have heard directly from Florida companies who are worried that the Administration’s proposal regarding tariffs is not fair and consistent between countries and this is an issue I will continue discussing with the Administration to ensure Florida companies are treated fairly.”–Gov. Rick Scott.

* “When he votes against the party, it was never to support a final compromise measure for the greater good. Ron DeSantis breaks to go more hard-line.”–Former Florida Republican Congressman David Jolly.

* “Anyone who says Andrew’s (Gillum) campaign is only focusing on getting the black vote out is sadly mistaken. If you look at his supporters, the people who are behind them, a lot of them don’t look like me.”–Rep. Shevrin Jones, D-West Park, who is African-American.

* “It has been far too long that we have had men weighing in on women’s unique health care issues. It’s time we have a woman in the room, a voice for women, and as the only woman in the race, I’m the only one who can speak to this.”–Democratic gubernatorial candidate Gwen Graham.

* “The blue wave is not coming. The blue wave came.”–Republican political consultant Jesse Manzano-Plaza, after Little Havana voters elected Eileen Higgins, a non-Hispanic female Democrat (“La Gringa”), to the Miami-Dade County Commission.


* “Our issue is strong borders, no crime. Their issue is open borders.”–President Donald Trump’s characterization of Democrats’ immigration policy.

* “Increased import tariffs could lead to a smaller GM, a reduced presence at home and abroad for this American company, and risk less–not more–U.S. jobs.”–Excerpt from statement submitted to the Commerce Department by General Motors.

* “The idea that Russia did not meddle in our election is fake news. They did meddle in our election, and they’re doing it again in 2018.”–Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C.

* “The Vesuvius of mendacities.”–George Will, Washington Post, describing President Trump.

* “When trustworthy news is under attack, somebody has to stand up.”–Craig Newmark, the founder of Craigslist, on his $20 million gift to the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism.

* “Even if (former President Barack Obama) no longer enjoyed the bully pulpit, he could, if he wanted, fill the vacuum of moral leadership Trump had created and offer … the entire country a lesson in civics that no other Democrat is positioned to give.”–Gabriel Debenedetti, New York Magazine.

* “There can be little doubt (U.S. Supreme Court Justice) Kennedy’s tenure helped sustain a fair measure of stability. He and the court have served as a bulwark for the rule of law in a world often set against it. As a result, his retirement will spark chaos.”–Joshua Matz, publisher of the Take Care legal blog and a former law clerk to Justice Anthony Kennedy.

* “In Congress you’re either with us or you’re against the people of Puerto Rico.”–Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rossello, who is pushing for statehood for Puerto Ricans.

* “Frankly, citizenship in our time is about how you spend your attention.”–Columbia University law professor Tim Wu, the author of “The Attention Merchants.”

* “It has always been my intention to die at my desk, although my most cherished ambition is to outlive the estate tax.”–The late Washington Post columnist Charles Krauthammer.

* “The travel industry has gone from trivial to the substantial in terms of how it markets to the L.G.B.T. community.”–Henry H. Harteveldt, travel analyst and president of the Atmosphere Research Group.

* “Tariffs, counter-tariffs and escalating rhetoric are the exact opposite of what Canada believes is best for our two great nations. Who knows where this will lead? The stakes are very high.”–Consul General Susan Harper, Canada’s representative for Florida, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

*”The Attorney General has never supported separating children from their parents, however, the Florida Attorney General’s office has no jurisdiction over federal immigration laws.”–Whitney Ray, spokesman for AG Pam Bondi, on why Florida is not joining (17) other states in a lawsuit that attempts to force the Trump Administration to reunite migrant families.

* “Florida’s not really a red state. It’s a blue state–but it comes out a red state because of gerrymandering. I’m optimistic, though, that Florida will be a blue state in the near future.”–Raymond Arsenault, USF St. Petersburg history professor.

* “The absence of party labels is confusing to voters as they look for candidates who share their values and ideals.”–Hillsborough Democratic Party Chair Ione Townsend.

* “As our community continues to grow, the airport is growing with it.”–TIA CEO Joe Lopano, in announcing that this fall Norwegian Airlines will start direct flights twice a week between Tampa and London.

* “We accept the responsibility that for every student that enrolls at the University of South Florida, we’re committed unquestionably and unreservedly to their success,”–USF Provost Ralph Wilcox, in the aftermath of USF being officially elevated to “preeminent” status that rewards the university with funding and prestige.


* “The existence and risk of proliferation of weapons-usable fissile material on the Korean Peninsula and the actions and policies of the government of North Korea continue to pose an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security, foreign policy and economy of the United States.”–President Donald Trump.

* “The trade stuff is coming along, just starting. But it’s happening. We’re a piggy bank that everybody likes to steal from.”–Donald Trump.

* “We’re going to have strong, very strong borders, but we are going to keep the families together. I didn’t like the sight or the feeling of families being separated.”–Donald Trump.

* “We cannot allow all of these people to invade our country…. Our system is a mockery to good immigration policy and law and order.”–Donald Trump.

* “This aggressive disregard for the interests of like-minded countries, indifference to democracy and human rights and cultivation of dictators is the new world Mr. Trump is creating. He and his closest advisers would pull down the liberal order, with America at its helm, that remains the best guarantee of world peace humanity has ever known. We are entering a new, terrifying era.”–Kori Schake, deputy director-general of the International Institute for Strategic Studies and the author of “Safe Passage.”

* “How differently Trump looks at the world from any of his predecessors–Republican or Democrat. Everything is a transaction. What have you done for ME today.”–Thomas Friedman, New York Times.

* “The Vesuvius of mendacities.”–A characterization of Donald Trump by George Will, Washington Post.

* “There’s a method to the madness. He’s nobody’s fool.”–Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C.

* “If our leaders seek to conceal the truth, or we as people become accepting of alternative realities that are no longer grounded in facts, then we as American citizens are on a pathway to relinquishing our freedom.”–Former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.

* “Of all the things President Trump has done to destroy civil norms, his debasement of language is the most chilling and poisonous. … How is a fact-base democracy supposed to function when the Trump toxins have gotten deep into the national bloodstream?”–Timothy Egan, New York Times.

* “Just talking about protectionism is causing trouble. It’s an existential risk to the world economy.”–Marie Owens Thomsen, global chief economist at Geneva-based Indosuez Wealth Management.

* “The face of the Trump administration: one that is rude, unreasonable, selfish and headstrong.”–Editorial excerpt from The People’s Daily in China.

* “Jonathan Swift said, ‘A wise man should have money in his head but not in his heart.’ The Trumps have green running through their veins.”–Maureen Dowd, New York Times.

* “When trustworthy news is under attack, somebody has to stand up.”–Craig Newmark, the founder of Craigslist, on his $20 million gift to the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism.

* “I’m not saying that technology is inherently bad. But people should be conscious of how they’re using digital activity, and how it’s using them.”–Duke University behavioral researcher Nick Fitz.

* “As financial hardships continue to grow for the majority of the population, and in particular for the poorest among us, suicide rates have gone up. Is this relationship between the concentration of wealth at the top and suicide rate simply a coincidence?–Edward Renner, retired USF psychology professor.

* “It seems pretty obvious he’s making decisions that will benefit companies in which he has an interest.”–Susan Glickman, Florida director of the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy, in referencing Rick Scott’s personal holdings in the energy industry.

* “I am absolutely honored to receive the FULL ENSORSEMENT of President Donald Trump.”–U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis, Republican gubernatorial candidate.

* “Endorsements are the least important indicator of who’s going to win. … Adam Putnam is still the man to beat by a country mile in Florida.”–Republican strategist Brett Doster.

* “As one of the nation’s fastest growing regions, Tampa Bay is a natural extension for Brightline.”–Patrick Goddard, president and COO of Brightline, the high-speed railroad line between Miami and West Palm Beach. Brightline has put in a bid to build a high-speed rail link between Orlando and Tampa.

* “We do not have a system like that, but we are considering installing one.”–TIA spokeswoman Janet Scherberger, commenting on Orlando International Airport becoming the first in the nation to require a face scan on passengers on all arriving and departing international flights.

* “It could be worse, it could also be better than what we’re expecting. … We’re completely at the mercy of the national and local economy.”–Harry Cohen, Tampa City Council member and mayoral candidate, on upcoming budget scenarios.

* “The absence of party labels is confusing to voters as they look for candidates who share their values and ideals.”–Hillsborough Democratic Party Chair Ione Townsend.

* “If I’m a bank and put my name on a stadium, it says, ‘We are the hometown player here.’ This is a big statement way to do that.”–Jim Andrews, senior vice president with ESP Properties, which advises teams and companies on the value of naming rights.

* “I’m very happy to win this award, but I think there’s one trophy everybody wants to win, and that’s the Stanley Cup. I haven’t accomplished that yet.”–The Lightning’s Victor Hedman, after winning the Norris Trophy, given to the NHL’s top defenseman.


* “They were willing to de-nuke.”–Donald Trump at his post-summit news conference.

* “I do trust him.”–Donald Trump in reference to Kim Jong-un.

* “It makes sense if you think about it: A wannabe dictator who took over the family business from a dictatorial father talking to a real dictator who took over the family business from a dictatorial father.”–Maureen Dowd, New York Times.

* “There is, indeed, a case for disruption and breaking the rules of international engagement. But to put it bluntly: When do we start winning?”–Daniel Henninger, Wall Street Journal.

* “The G-7 should be our preferred venue to unify the free world to compete with and counter authoritarian kleptocracies. Rather than prepare for that real battle, we’re distracted in a family dispute.”–Damon Wilson, vice president of the Atlantic Council and former national security adviser to President George W. Bush.

* “I think people who lock horns with the president need to understand what the limits are in terms of their ability to win elections.”–Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn, R-Texas.

* “It’s becoming a cultish thing, isn’t it?”–Tennessee Republican Sen. Bob Corker, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, in characterizing the Republican Party’s identification with Donald Trump.

* “Trump is king, and the party has a suicide pact. … But it’s clear primary voters disagree.”–Republican consultant Mike Murphy.

* “When you answer name-calling with name-calling and tantrums with tantrums, you’re not resisting (Trump). You’re mirroring him. You’re not diminishing him. You’re demeaning yourselves. Many voters don’t hear your arguments or the facts, which are on your side. They just wince at the din.”–Frank Bruni, New York Times.

* “I say, very strongly, it’s the Democrats’ fault. The United States will not be a migrant camp, and it will not be a refugee holding facility. We want safety and we want security.”–Donald Trump.

* “Having children does not give you immunity from arrest and prosecution.”–Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

* “This is not a zero tolerance policy. This is a zero humanity policy, and we can’t let it go on.”–Oregon Democratic Sen. Jeff Merkley.

* “The GOP is in a tough spot. The hardcore Trump voter has a different point of view than the ever-important independent voter, and there doesn’t seem to be a middle ground.”–Republican pollster Frank Luntz on the possibility of voter backlash over immigration.

* “When it comes to politics, most people don’t want to be addressed as members of a demographic group looking for a payout. They want to be addressed as Americans.”–Christopher Buskirk, editor and publisher of the journal American Greatness.

* “The economy is in great shape.”–Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell.

* “We received the earth as a garden-home from the Creator. Let us not pass it on to future generations as a wilderness.”–Pope Francis.

* “To those who contemplate suicide, realize the world won’t be better for your absence. There will be a child, spouse or parent, a colleague or co-worker, neighbor or friend who will miss you more than you know.”–Political analyst and former President George W. Bush adviser Karl Rove.

* “We want people engaged with their mobile devices all day watching movies and video.”–Randall Stephenson, CEO of AT&T, which recently received District Court approval of its acquisition of Time Warner.

* “The circuit court judge recognized the Legislature was wrong when they spent Amendment 1 funds on existing operating expenses instead of new parks, restoration and protecting conservation lands.”–Aliki Moncrief, executive director of the Florida Conservation Voters, after a Leon County Circuit Court Judge Charles Dodson ruled that state lawmakers failed to comply with a voter-approved constitutional amendment to buy and preserve environmentally sensitive lands.

* “Florida typically outperforms the nation in terms of job growth year-in and year-out unless real estate gets overbuilt and comes crashing down.”–Wells Fargo economist Mark Vitner, in commenting on Florida’s unemployment rate dipping to 3.8 percent, the lowest in nearly 18 years.

* “We see nothing to suggest the (Trump) administration’s policy direction on Cuba travel has impacted our bookings.”–Brad Hawkins, spokesman for Southwest Airlines, which offers daily flights from Tampa to Havana.

* “Bring me a petition. I’m ready to sign.”–Mayor Bob Buckhorn, responding to the announcement that a citizens’ group will be gathering signatures for a county transit-tax initiative.

* “No reason why we shouldn’t have a good sense of where things are headed by year’s end.”–Rays principal owner Stu Sternberg on Ybor City-site, stadium discussions.

Media Matters

* As we’ve been noticing, a number of politicians have been decreasingly relying on traditional mass media to get their message out. Why submit to unpredictable and sometimes unfriendly media fire when there are ways to control those messages? Indeed, when there are increasingly popular ways to bypass mainstream media.

Here’s the sobering take of Republican Gov. Matt Bevin of Kentucky, a major Facebook video fan. “For those of you who want to truly see what is happening, follow along through social media. With all due respect to what now passes for traditional media, it’s dying for a reason.”


BTW, when was the last time “with all due respect” presaged anything remotely respectful?

* When it comes to political debates, I miss the old-school, one well-versed moderator, every-candidate-gets-a-shot-at-the-same-question format. Case in point, the recent Democratic gubernatorial debate at Pinellas Park High School. The toughest questions were asked by the Tampa Bay Times’ Adam Smith. Politics is what he does. He knows this stuff and these candidates. He’s not a TV talking-head anchor, maybe not the second coming of Tim Russert, but he’s TV savvy. Let him moderate by himself and hold candidates accountable.

No surprise Smith was the one questioning Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum about the ongoing FBI corruption investigation into his city’s government, and he was the one bringing up Phillip Levine’s donation to Marco Rubio’s 2010 Senate campaign.

* Out-of-the-mouths-of-(Fox News) babes: “Regardless of what happens in that meeting between the two dictators, what we are seeing right now–this is history.” And this was from “Fox & Friends” co-host Abby Huntsman. Some faux pax are more politically discomfiting–and more, ironically, accurate–than others.

* I’m not on the same ideological page as long-time Fox News commentator and Washington Post columnist Charles Krauthammer. But his recent (final) note, published on WAPO’s website was as moving as it was classy. Krauthammer, a trained psychiatrist who made his mark in geopolitical analysis, revealed that his cancer had returned, and he was out of hope–and time. He has but a few weeks to live. But he wasn’t bitter or self-pitying. He leaves, he emphasized, “with no regrets. It was a wonderful life.”

Krauthammer, 68, thanked his doctors and caregivers and friends and colleagues and readers and viewers. All those, he said, “who have made my career possible and given consequence to my life’s work.” He underscored the continued need for “honest debate and rigorous argument” to guide “this extraordinary nation’s destiny.”

His final note was a reminder of what we have in common–our mortality and fellow-man responsibility–rather than in conflict–our zero-sum politics.

It would only be fitting if, in his memory, others of prominence on the Fox side of the spectrum dial down the vitriol, the show-business antics and the Trump sycophancy and aspire to a higher ground. And it would be fitting if we all, regardless of political affiliation, could leave this world knowing we honestly did our best in “the pursuit of truth”–not in the pursuit of power and ego gratification.

God speed, Dr. Krauthammer.

* On a personal note, I met Krauthammer once. It was at the GOP National Convention in Philadelphia in 2000. I was in the press tent with my lunch tray and looking frustratingly around for a place to plop down. A guy waved me over to some makeshift table for barely two. I recognized him from political commentary, but I had forgotten his name. He introduced himself, he was gracious, and we made small talk about tent humidity and humility as well as what George W. Bush’s chances were against Al Gore. Then he excused himself and wheeled away.

I hadn’t realized he was wheelchair bound. I had only seen him from the waist up. From the neck down he was paralyzed from a diving accident in his 20s while at Harvard Medical School. He never let it affect his life’s work, itself a major accomplishment he never made a big deal out of. It spoke volumes.


* “To the president, ‘duck and cover’ and the Cuban missile crisis were formative experiences. He knows the Korean War hasn’t ended, and he can accomplish what destroyed his idol, Gen. Douglas MacArthur.”–Former Trump strategist Stephen Bannon.

* “As soon as the American side is ready.”–Russian President Vladimir Putin’s take on when he would be meeting with Donald Trump.

* “Canadians, we’re polite, we’re reasonable, but we also will not be pushed around.”–Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, in announcing that Canada will be taking retaliatory measures in response to U.S. tariffs on steel and aluminum imports.

* “We’re like the piggy bank that everybody is robbing. And that ends.”–Donald Trump.

* “International multilateral organizations are not going to determine American policy. I think the president’s made that very clear.”–Trump economic adviser Larry Kudlow, when asked if the administration will respect decisions of the World Trade Organization on tariffs.

* “There’s a special place in hell for any foreign leader that engages in bad-faith diplomacy with President Donald J. Trump and then tries to stab him in the back on the way out the door.”–White House trade adviser Peter Navarro.

* “Europe United is the answer to America First.”–German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas.

* “If President Trump really wants businesses to stay in America, he’s going to have to reconsider his hostility to immigration.”–Wall Street Journal.

* “While international security is complicated, here’s a rule of thumb: When you find yourself on the same side as (National Security Adviser) John Bolton, go back and re-examine your position.”–Nicholas Kristof, New York Times.

* “(Immigration raids are) not really about stolen American jobs or evil immigrants. … It’s about a reality show president’s desperate attempt to keep his base worked into the frenzy of fear and rage he needs to feel special.”–Connie Schultz,

* “… It’s a question of getting in-tuned with a new environment. Eventually, I suspect the Puerto Rican population residing here in Florida and the rest of the nation will attain those high levels of participation that we see election after election in Puerto Rico.”–Former Puerto Rico Gov. Pedro Rossello, who is endorsing Sen. Bill Nelson for re-election.

* “Starting a trade war with our closest allies is the last thing we should be doing. No one wins in a trade war, especially hard-working families who may have to pay more for the goods they buy every day.”–Sen. Bill Nelson.

* “I think we’re watching the “Art of the Deal” unfold in real time.”–Florida Congressman Matt Gaetz, R-Fort Walton Beach.

* “One of Trump’s most corrosive  effects is to have destroyed the appeal of moderation.”–Financial author Roger Lowenstein.

* “The increasing prospect of a trade war could put Florida’s economy at risk and negatively impact consumers, families and jobs.”–The Florida Chamber of Commerce.

* “It sure is fun to be the front-runner!”–Phillip Levine at the recent Democratic gubernatorial debate.

* “I want to make Tampa a global city.”–Tucker Hall president Bill Carlson, a candidate to succeed term-limited Harry Cohen representing District 4 on Tampa City Council.

* “It’s exactly the environment I want my students in.”–Dr. Charles Lockwood, dean of USF’s Morsani College of Medicine, on the impact of the med school relocating to downtown Tampa as part of the $3 billion Water Street Tampa makeover.

* “While we are working diligently with the team and the private sector regarding the Rays new ballpark, it is unlikely that an agreement will be reached and approved by necessary legislative bodies by the end of the year.”–Hillsborough County Commissioner Ken Hagan.

* “If the partnership doesn’t happen, the ferry doesn’t happen.”–St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman, pointing out that for the St. Petersburg-Tampa ferry to return, all partners–St. Pete, Tampa and Pinellas and Hillsborough counties–will have to be on board and chip in.

* “How do we get the best, most equitable use out of those 85 acres that will pay back dividends for decades to come.”–Pinellas County Commissioner Ken Welch on the possibility of future scenarios for St. Petersburg’s Tropicana Field site.

* “The role of the CEO is think strategically and deliver tactically.”–Bob Dutkowsky, who recently stepped down as CEO of Clearwater-based Tech Data, Florida’s largest public company by revenue.

Media Matters

* Such a tragedy that a TV news reporter and a photographer were killed in North Carolina while covering the effects of heavy rain from sub-tropical storm Alberto. It’s a reminder that field-reporting journalists–in an optics are everything era–can run serious, on-site risks. It ‘s also a reminder to media outlets that viewers don’t really require an elements-battling, on-camera, human presence to underscore how really awful a given weather condition might be.

* Samantha Bee, she of the “feckless c-word,” Ivanka Trump insult, has picked up where Michelle Wolf left off at the White House Correspondents Dinner. While unfunny crudeness that would get blipped on The Daily Show is off-putting enough, the harm lies in Trump-era politics. Call it an unforced error that makes a certain element of the media look classless and subject to stereotyping. It’s more fodder for the media-demeaning, Trump “witch hunt” machine.

* No you can’t make this up. The American computer-video-game marketplace has a niche for “Active Shooter.” It’s a game that allows players to re-create school shootings by stalking hallways to rack up kills. It’s sick–but there is a disclaimer: “Please do not take any of this seriously. This is only meant to be the simulation and nothing else. If you feel like hurting someone … please seek help from local psychiatrists or dial 911.” Yeah, Nikolas Cruz would have taken that advice.

“Active Shooter” isn’t merely sick. It is unconscionably, disgustingly, disingenuously sick.

* ABC canceled Roseanne because it had to. Roseanne Barr’s blatantly racist tweet did it. PR damage-control mode kicked in with the demise of the top-rated show. The tweet was “abhorrent, repugnant and inconsistent with our values” glibly explained ABC Entertainment President Channing Dungey.

Interestingly, two years ago Dungey became the first black entertainment president of a major broadcast TV network. Too bad good conscience–if not taste–didn’t kick in instead of an agreement to bring back the “abhorrent, repugnant” actress in the first place. Ratings in the age of Trump obviously mattered more than Barr’s well-established, polarizing values–until the tweet from hell made it untenable to keep her on.

* These can be challenging times for pollsters. Cell phones, busy would-be respondents, a protean electorate and surveyors who aren’t exactly old-school Gallup clones are part of today’s political landscape. It didn’t help when StPetePolls, in assessing the Dana Young-Janet Cruz District 18 Senate-seat race, referenced Cruz as “Janet Cruz Rifkin.” It had her trailing Young by nine points. She will be on the ballot–and probably future polls–as Janet Cruz. And likely not down by nine points.

* I don’t always agree with Miami Herald columnist Leonard Pitts. But recently one of his observations really resonated. It has to do with Trump and race and partisan appeal. It has to do with pandering to the lowest common denominator among us. No, we’re not living in “post-racial” America as many had hoped–more like post-overreaction America. Check out the Quoteworthy.


* “Kim has perfected the most dramatic makeover within a few months. He’s gone from pariah to statesman, from mad-man to gracious, well-prepared leader who knows his brief.”–Lee Sung-yoon, professor of Korean studies at Tufts University.

* “North Korea can still survive under sanctions, especially if China helps it. But as long as sanctions are there, Kim Jong-un can never deliver the kind of rapid economic growth he has promised for his people.”–Shin Beom-chul, senior fellow at the Asan Institute for Policy Studies in Seoul.

* “This is protectionism, pure and simple.”–Jean-Claude Juncker, president of the European Commission, in response to the Trump Administration’s imposition of tariffs on steel and aluminum from Europe, Mexico and Canada.

* “We’ve been down this road before–blanket protectionism is a big part of why America had a Great Depression. ‘Make America Great Again’ shouldn’t mean ‘Make America 1929 again.'”–Sen. Ben Sasse, R-Neb.

* “You don’t sign a trade deal that automatically expires every five years.”–Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

* “Is this really who we are? As a parent, as the son of a refugee myself, I find that in this (border-immigration) case, Trump’s policy has veered from merely abhorrent to truly evil.”–Nicholas Kristof, New York Times.

* “I am even more convinced that the FBI did exactly what my fellow citizens would want them to do when they got the information they got, and that it has nothing to do with Donald Trump. Informants are used all day, every day by law enforcement.”–Rep. Trey Gowdy, chairman of the House Oversight Committee, in stating that there is no evidence that the FBI planted a “spy” on Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign.

* “(The president) has shown highly abnormal behavior by lying routinely to the American people without compunction, intentionally fueling divisions in our country and actively working to degrade the imperfect but critical institutions that serve us.”–Former CIA Director John Brennan.

* “Pardoning himself would be unthinkable and probably lead to immediate impeachment. And he has no need to do it; he’s done nothing wrong.”–Rudy Giuliani.  

* “Everything about the intersection of sports and race relations and the Trump presidency is simply toxic, and expecting free speech to flourish where those rivers meet is like suggesting that a Superfund site cleanup begin by planting daffodils in the most polluted stretch.”–Ross Douthat, New York Times.

* “There is no mystery here. Trump is president because Obama was.”–Leonard Pitts, Miami Herald.

* “Sometimes I wonder whether I was 10 or 20 years too early.”–Former President Barack Obama.

* “The fear mongering that has taken place from 2008 until today has created a direct and present danger to our democracy.”–National NAACP President Derrick Johnson, at his recent Ruth Eckerd Hall speech.

* “As far as the Trump presidency, I wouldn’t even call it a presidency. It’s an asterisk. It’s a typo. I mean, every day it’s worse.”–Comedian Martin Short.

* “The May jobs report revealed impressive strength and breadth in U.S. job creation that blew away most economists’ expectations.”–Scott Anderson, chief economist at Bank of the West, noting that the report (of employers adding 233,000 jobs last month) shows that the nearly 9-year-old economic expansion remains on track.

* “Taking into account inflation, the federal minimum ($7.25) is actually worth less than what it was worth 50 years ago.”–Sen. Tina Smith, D-Minn., who supports a $15 minimum wage.

* “Elections have consequences, and we’ve already seen the consequences of the last one.”–Sen. Bill Nelson.

* “The future is female.”–Democratic gubernatorial candidate Gwen Graham.

* “Don’t let anyone stop you.”–Tonight Show host Jimmy Fallon, in his commencement speech to graduates of Parkland High School.

* “Grow some brass ones.”–John Morgan’s advice to Rick Scott to drop his support for a state ban on smokeable medical marijuana.

* “I’ll tell you one thing, and feel free to quote me. I’m sure the people of Atlantis wish they would have raised their roads.”–Democratic gubernatorial candidate Philip Levine, whose campaign highlights his sea-rise agenda as mayor of Miami Beach.

* “If you are drawing attention to your campaign right now, it likely isn’t because of something you are doing right, but for something you have (done) or are doing wrong.”–Republican consultant Ryan Wiggins, on Florida’s gubernatorial campaigns.

* “Pent-up demand continues to put upward pressure on sales.”–Christine Hansen, president of Florida Realtors.

* “A cyberattack is like a hurricane. It’s always brewing out there.”–U.S. Department of Homeland Security cyber expert Klint Walker.

* “Your vote is safe and secure. We’ve got redundancies in place. You can’t hack paper.”–Craig Latimer, Hillsborough County’s supervisor of elections.

* “The Tampa Bay region has a unique geography, and the Ybor City site represents an opportunity to maximize our accessibility to the region’s existing and growing residential and business community. Its location allows us to leverage a come-early, stay-late culture in a dynamic, urban neighborhood.”–Tampa Bay Rays president Brian Auld.