President Trump used Orlando as the stage for his racy political criticisms on Monday, speaking to a room of some 1,500 law enforcement officials about Gov. Rick Scott, Orlando Police Chief John Mina and a slew of controversial topics like his increasingly enthusiastic defense for U.S. Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.
The president's speech came in the midst of a massive law enforcement convention whose 125th iteration was held in Orlando this weekend. Scott, Florida's out-termed Republican governor who's running an aggressive campaign to unseat U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson in November, opened for Trump with a spirit of generosity he has avoided showing on the campaign trail, perhaps because Running against Sen. Nelson pushes him to appeal to moderate Republicans who lament Trump.
"I just want to thank President Trump … he couldn't have done more than what he's done," Scott said, referring to the federal recovery efforts after Hurricanes María and Irma. "Everything I've asked for, President Trump came through."
Trump returned the compliments, telling the crowd that Scott is their biggest ally.
"We are thrilled to be joined today by a true friend of law enforcement, Gov. Rick Scott," Trump said. "Rick is a tremendous governor and he is your biggest fan."
The two conservatives focused heavily on their roles in providing hurricane relief, something they both have been widely criticized over
. Trump warned that Hurricane Michael, the most recent storm that just formed
in the Gulf of Mexico and is on track to hit Florida's Panhandle this week, "looks like a big one."
"I told Rick Scott that we are ready for you," Trump said. "We have already briefed FEMA."
Trump also threw in a plug for Orlando, saying, "I also want to thank John Mina and the entire Orlando Police Department for hosting us in this great city."
"Great city," he added. "Safe city."
The president swerved on and off his teleprompter and at one point launched into a diatribe on Judge Brett Kavanaugh's contentious confirmation process to the U.S. Supreme Court.
"He's a great person and it's very, very unfair what happened to him," Trump said of his Supreme Court nominee, whom he picked in July to replace the retiring Justice Anthony Kennedy. A trio of sexual assault allegations levied against Kavanaugh during his confirmation marked a historical flashpoint in Washington, pitting Republicans loyal to Trump against liberal Democrats demanding the judge's removal from consideration for SCOTUS. During Kavanaugh's swearing-in ceremony Monday night, the president apologized for "the terrible pain and suffering" that Kavanaugh "endured" during the process, according to CNN
"False charges, false accusations, horrible statements that were totally untrue, that he knew nothing about, terms that he probably had never heard in his life," Trump said, repeating his newest talking point that frames Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, the psychology professor who alleged under oath Kavanaugh had attempted to rape her in high school, as a liar.
Meanwhile, a crowd of protesters convened outside of the convention center where Trump gave his politically explosive remarks.
"It's for Trump to see that his bullying tactics against Dr. Ford are unacceptable," said Melia Wilson, a protester who helped organize the demonstration. "Women are tired. We're tired of nonsense, tired of being bullied into silence and dismissing our voice as not valuable."
"It's a combination of having a presence for the people that are attending here, because it's a majority of men, to let them understand that women have a voice here," Wilson added.
The officers listening to Trump back in the ballroom sifted through his political contretemps to focus on law enforcement issues, like bolstering military technology for local enforcement agencies and to "strongly consider" re-implementing stop-and-frisk policies.
"Rudy Giuliani, when he was mayor of New York City, had a very strong program of stop-and-frisk, and it went from an unacceptably dangerous city to one of the safest cities in the country," the president said. "Stop-and-frisk works."
He touted his administration's role in reducing national unemployment and charging more "violent criminals than ever before in the history of our country." He also hinted developments of a "very very big and comprehensive" prison reform bill.
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