WASHINGTON -- President Trump’s speech last night can be viewed through three of Florida’s top political figures: Rick Scott, Marco Rubio and Jeb Bush.
First there was Trump’s passage about Obamacare.
“We should give our state governors the resources and flexibility they need with Medicaid to make sure no one is left out," he said.
That could be lifted directly from Scott’s talking points from several recent trips to Washington. Scott says the state could more effectively design ways to use the funding. Scott in 2013 backed Medicaid expansion under Obamacare but was blocked by the House and then said he was against expansion, followed by calls for flexibility.
Next there was Trump’s call for “merit-based” immigration. As a senator and presidential candidate, Rubio has called for a major shift from family-based immigration to that based on what a person can contribute economically.
"Today, we have a legal immigration system for permanent residency that is largely based on whether or not you have a relative living here. And that’s the way my parents came legally in 1956,” Rubio said in an October 2015 presidential debate.
“But in 2015, we have a very different economy. Our legal immigration system from now on has to be merit-based. It has to be based on what skills you have, what you can contribute economically, and most important of all, on whether or not you’re coming here to become an American, not just live in America, but be an American.”
Bush as a cadidate also talked about a shift that rewards people with work skills rather than the family-based immigration system in place.
Finally, Trump spoke of education, calling it “the civil rights issue of our time.” He said: "I am calling upon members of both parties to pass an education bill that funds school choice for disadvantaged youth, including millions of African-American and Latino children. These families should be free to choose the public, private, charter, magnet, religious or home school that is right for them.”
That’s straight from Bush’s playbook. Making the tie even stronger, Trump pointed to a young woman in the audience, Denisha Merriweather, a Jacksonville woman who benefited from the Florida Tax Credit Scholarship Program. It was Bush who first highlighted her story and Merriweather appeared on the campaign trail with him.
“We want all children to be able to break the cycle of poverty just like Denisha,” Trump said.
On Twitter, Bush wrote:
--ALEX LEARY, Tampa Bay Times
Photo credit: Jim Lo Scalzo, pool photo via Associated Press