Sep 13, 2018

Florida Republicans break with Trump on Puerto Rico claims

President Trump with Florida Gov. Rick Scott. Photo: NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images

Florida lawmakers are publicly disagreeing with President Trump's claim that the death toll in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria is not accurate.

Why it matters: With just 2 months before the election — and with an estimated 50,000–75,000 Puerto Ricans who may have permanently settled in Florida since the hurricane — they know they can't stay silent on an issue that affects a significant portion of Florida's electorate.

The big picture: Republicans Rick Scott and Ron DeSantis have never openly disagreed with Trump before. In fact, they've benefitted from his endorsements, and DeSantis even released an entire ad mirroring himself after Trump.

  • That doesn't mean they don't genuinely disagree with him now, but they're both in tough races and will rely on a new electorate, shaped by Hurricane Maria, to get elected — not on President Trump.

Battle lines: Gov. Rick Scott, who's running for Senate, tweeted: "I disagree with @POTUS– an independent study said thousands were lost and Gov. Rosselló agreed. I've been to Puerto Rico 7 times & saw devastation firsthand. The loss of any life is tragic."

  • A spokesperson for Rep. Ron DeSantis, who's running for governor, told NBC's Ali Vitali that DeSantis "doesn’t believe any loss of life has been inflated," as POTUS claimed.
  • Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson, who's facing a tough re-election race against Scott, tweeted: "The president’s comments on the nearly 3,000 American lives lost in Puerto Rico are shameful. We deserve and expect more from someone who holds the highest office in our country."

Go deeper: Politicians trash Trump's Hurricane Maria tweet

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Special report: Health care workers vs. coronavirus

Photo Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photos: Angela Weiss/AFP via Getty Images, Bruce Bennett/Getty Images, and Europa Press News/Europa Press via Getty Images

Health care workers are at an especially high risk of catching the coronavirus, because of their prolonged exposure to patients who have it. Making matters worse, the U.S. doesn't have enough of the protective equipment, like masks and gloves, that keeps them safe.

  • And yet these workers, with loved ones of their own, keep showing up at hospitals across the country, knowing that more Americans than they can possibly care for are depending on them.
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Backed by the Fed, bond investors get bullish

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The Fed's massive injections of liquidity have reopened much of the bond market, and after back-to-back weeks in which more than $100 billion flowed out of bond funds, investors have regained their bearings and now see opportunity.

What's happening: But after the hemorrhaging outflows relented last week, bulls may now be sticking their heads out a bit too far. Junk bond funds took in more than $7 billion for the week ended April 1, according to Refinitiv Lipper, setting a new weekly record.

What top CEOs fear telling America about the coronavirus shutdown

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Top CEOs, in private conversations and pleas to President Trump, are warning of economic catastrophe if America doesn't begin planning for a phased return to work as soon as May, corporate leaders tell Axios.

Why it matters: The CEOs say massive numbers of companies, big and small, could go under if business and government don't start urgent talks about ways groups of workers can return.