SAN JUAN — Sleepless Puerto Ricans awoke Wednesday knowing to expect a thrashing from the most ferocious storm to strike the island in at least 85 years. They met nightfall confronting the ruin Hurricane Maria left behind: engorged rivers, blown-out windows, sheared roofs, toppled trees and an obliterated electric grid that cut power to every one of the island's 3.4 million people.
Even though authorities had barely begun to assess the damage Wednesday evening, the scope of the catastrophe was evident, even if in snippets....
MIAMI — Mandatory evacuations of vast swaths of coastal South Florida began Wednesday as anxious residents continued to watch and wait — and watch, and wait — for the massive storm to roll closer.
"This storm is bigger, faster and stronger than Hurricane Andrew," cautioned Florida Gov. Rick Scott, who made Wednesday stops in Marathon, Doral and Naples to warn of potential widespread devastation....
09/01/17 State Roundup
Florida Gov. Rick Scott urged President Donald Trump on Friday not to summarily end an Obama-era program that protects immigrants brought into the country illegally as children from deportation.
Amid rampant speculation that Trump on Tuesday will stop the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, Scott said in a statement that DACA recipients should be given a reprieve.
"I do not favor punishing children for the actions of their parents," Scott said. "These kids must be allowed to pursue the American Dream, and Congress must act on this immediately."...
Miami Rep. Carlos Trujillo said Sunday he won't resign his seat in the Florida Legislature if the U.S. Senate confirms him to a post in the Trump administration.
On Friday, the White House nominated Trujillo, a Republican, to be a United Nations representative under Ambassador Nikki Haley. ...
Miami Republican Rep. Carlos Trujillo has been tapped to serve in the United Nations, the White House announced Friday.
President Donald Trump intends to nominate Trujillo to the role of representative to the UN general assembly. The position would make the powerful Florida House budget chief one of UN Ambassador Nikki Haley’s four deputies.
Trujillo, an attorney, would take Haley’s place in meetings and assemblies when she’s unavailable. He would also get the title of “ambassador.”...
An unexpected guest is headlining an upcoming fundraiser for Miami Democratic Senate candidate Annette Taddeo: one-time 2016 presidential candidate Martin O'Malley.
O'Malley, the former Maryland governor, will join other Taddeo supporters Tuesday at the posh Biltmore Hotel in Coral Gables. Taddeo is running in a special Sept. 26 Senate Districit 40 election against Republican Rep. Jose Felix Diaz....
Vice President Mike Pence hinted Wednesday at soon-to-come economic sanctions against the Venezuelan government, but he offered little in the way of specifics of what a more robust U.S. response might look like or when it might come, choosing instead to deliver a broader message of hope to increasingly despondent Venezuelans.
Pence indicated the Trump administration intends to further punish Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro and his loyalists for undermining the South American country’s democracy. Economic sanctions, perhaps aimed at restricting trade in Venezuelan debt in dollars, could come as early as this week, the Miami Herald has learned. But Pence did not detail any potential penalties....
Sen. Marco Rubio delivered a reshaped stump speech Tuesday night to the Seminole County GOP, touching on many of the same points he made as a presidential candidate but adapting it to the tumultuous politics of the moment.
"America is going to be OK," Rubio said. "America is going to be fine. In fact, America -- your America, my America, the America we're going to leave our children -- has a chance to be better than it's ever been. I believe our children have the opportunity to be the freest and most prosperous people that have ever walked the face of this earth."...
The uncomfortable but inevitable question that dogged Vice President Mike Pence everywhere he went in Latin America last week will trail him to Miami on Wednesday: Is President Donald Trump really considering potential military action in Venezuela?
Pence tried over and over again to say no — without actually uttering the word or outright contradicting Trump — during his recent swing through Colombia, Argentina, Chile and Panama, where regional allies publicly rebuked the notion of any U.S. intervention....
Vice President Mike Pence will be in Miami on Wednesday.
As part of his visit, Pence is scheduled to deliver remarks at Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Church in Doral, according to an invitation to the event.
The invitation doesn’t say what topic or topics Pence might address. But his trip to Latin America last week involved a lot of discussion about what to do about the political crisis in Venezuela. Doral has so many Venezuelan immigrants it is known as Doralzuela....
Florida Lt. Gov. Carlos Lopez-Cantera has decided not to run for Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen’s seat in Congress, though he may seek another office in 2020.
“We have decided that being a candidate in 2018 is not what’s best for our family,” Lopez-Cantera, who is married and has two young daughters, said in a statement.
He pledged to remain involved in politics and suggested he could launch a future candidacy for an unnamed position. He’s considered a possible contender to become Miami-Dade County’s next mayor....
The powerful Venezuelan lawmaker tied to a potential death order against U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio dismissed the notion late Wednesday that he has a personal interest in getting the Florida Republican killed.
“The things we’ve said here about Narco Rubio are responses to his attacks,” Diosdado Cabello said, repeating his preferred slur against the senator. “But from my telling you that, to coming up with a plan to assassinate someone — you don’t know us. We always deal with things head on. We don’t use imperialism’s methods.”...
08/17/17 State Roundup
Republicans nationwide are blasting President Donald Trump for how he responded to Charlottesville.
From his news conference Saturday where he blamed "many sides" for the violent clashes between white supremacists and protesters to Tuesday's news conference where the president said "both sides" shared the blame, there's been much material for the Party of Lincoln to repudiate....
Jack Latvala, Florida’s newest Republican candidate for governor, struggled Wednesday to fully blame the deadly violence that took place during a Charlottesville rally over the weekend on white supremacists.
Latvala formally launched his 2018 bid in Hialeah with a moment of silence for the 32-year-old woman and two state troopers who died in Virginia. But he later declined to lay all responsibility for their deaths on the racist neo-Nazi and Ku Klux Klan groups that staged two days of demonstrations....
Three Miami Republican lawmakers wasted no time Tuesday to again denounce President Donald Trump after he again insistedthat “both sides” were to blame for deadly violence over the weekend during a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville.
Sen. Marco Rubio and Reps. Carlos Curbelo and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen took to Twitter after Trump, in an aggressively defiant news conference, maintained that counter-protesters — whom the president called the “alt-left” — were also “very, very violent.”...