scorecard10 Things in Politics: GOP's new power base is in South Florida
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10 Things in Politics: GOP's new power base is in South Florida

Brent D. Griffiths   

10 Things in Politics: GOP's new power base is in South Florida
PoliticsPolitics5 min read
A Trump supporter in Miami after the 2020 election.    Eva Marie Uzcategui Trinkl/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Good morning! If this was forwarded to you, sign up here. I'm Brent Griffiths. Send tips to or tweet me @BrentGriffiths.

Here's what we're talking about today:

1. THE GOP'S SHADOW CAPITAL: Donald Trump is taking the Republican Party's talents to South Beach. Republicans who want to bend the ear of the former president are flocking to his Mar-a-Lago resort. Combined with others fleeing pandemic lockdowns, it's turned South Florida into a shadow capital.

Here's a peek at our exclusive report on the GOP migration:

The GOP's social calendar revolves around Trump: "So far this year, Trump's members-only resort has hosted high-dollar soirees for Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, Utah Senator Mike Lee, South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem, Arkansas gubernatorial candidate Sarah Huckabee Sanders, and Alabama Senate candidate Lynda Blanchard." The Republican National Committee held a donor retreat near Mar-a-Lago this past weekend.

  • You don't have to be in Washington to get spotted: "Rudy Giuliani is known to hold court at The Breakers and former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie has been seen dining at La Bilboquet, a Worth Avenue outpost of a high-end Manhattan eatery that opened in February. The afterparty crowd for Mar-a-Lago events often hits Cucina Palm Beach where Kimberly Guilfoyle, who purchased a $9.7 million mansion with her boyfriend Don Jr. in nearby Jupiter, has been spotted dancing on the tables."
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Former President Donald Trump at a February rally in West Palm Beach, Florida.      Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Proximity to Trump can cause headaches: He reportedly called Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell a "dumb son of a b---h" and repeated his false claims about the presidential election when he spoke to the GOP's top donors over the weekend. Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming, the No. 3 House Republican and a frequent Trump critic, said Trump "is using the same language that he knows provoked violence on January 6th."

Read the rest of our report here.

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People confront police outside of the the Brooklyn Center police headquarters on April 11 in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota.      Stephen Maturen/Getty Images

2. A man was fatally shot by police in suburban Minnesota: National Guard troops were called into Brooklyn Center, Minnesota, late Sunday evening as protests and looting spread after local police killed a man during a traffic stop, the Star Tribune reports. Relatives of Daunte Wright, who is Black, said he drove a short distance after being shot before crashing into another car. He died at the scene. Police said there was a warrant out for Wright and that he got back into his car while officers were trying to arrest him. An officer then shot Wright. More on the unfolding story here.

3. What's next for Pete Buttigieg's former advocacy group: The Transportation secretary is busy selling President Biden's infrastructure plan. Meanwhile, Win The Era, his nonprofit group that he stepped down from, will focus on climate change, economic justice, democracy reform, mental health, and national service. More on what's ahead for the organization.

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People circulating a "Recall Gavin Newsom" petition in December 2020 in Solvang, California.      Photo by George Rose/Getty Images

4. An ex-cop, anti-vaxxers, and Mike Huckabee are among the most prominent people driving Gov. Gavin Newsom's recall: "Making Newsom's recall more interesting is the collection of activists behind it. News reports, public records, and social media reveal a sprawling coalition of Republicans, MAGAites, Silicon Valley billionaires, militia members, and anti-vaxxers among the organizers, major donors, and other volunteers behind the effort."

Insider took an in-depth look at the people behind the California Democrat's recall:

  • A retired sheriff's deputy started the recall: Orrin Heatlie, the main organizer, is from Yolo County. He started the petition in 2019 over Newsom's immigration policies. He is a political novice, but his effort picked up steam during the pandemic.
  • This being California, there's a Silicon Valley billionaire: Chamath Palihapitiya, a venture capitalist, has donated a total of $200,000 to two committees backing the recall.
  • Plus a self-described pirate: That's Randy Economy, spokesperson and senior advisor to the recall, who worked for Democratic candidates before trying to oust Newsom. He also hosts his own conservative radio show that has become a megaphone for the recall.

Read the rest of our report here.

5. Virginia's governor announced an investigation into the pepper-spraying of a black Army officer: Gov. Ralph Northam asked state police to probe why two Windsor officers held Caron Nazario, an Army Second Lieutenant who is Black and Latino, at gunpoint and threatened him during a recent traffic stop. Nazario filed a lawsuit against the officers earlier this month. One of the officers was fired just hours after Northam's statement, per The Virginian-Pilot.

6. Corporate America isn't backing down in the voting rights fight: Top executives of more than 100 companies held during a virtual meeting over the weekend to discuss their next steps on how to combat voting restrictions, a move that comes after Republican officials told corporations to stay out of politics. Kenneth Frazier, the chief executive of Merck, told fellow executives they need to keep fighting, per the Washington Post.

  • Key quote: "[The call] shows they are not intimidated by the flak. They are not going to be cowed," Jeffrey Sonnenfeld, one of the call's organizers and a Yale management professor, told The Post.

7. The top things for your calendar, all times Eastern:

  • 10:30 a.m.: Derek Chauvin's trial resumes
  • 12:00 p.m.: Biden briefly joins a virtual summit on the semiconductor and supply chain
  • 12:15 p.m.: Jen Psaki holds the White House's daily news briefing
  • 1:45 p.m.: Biden and Vice President Harris meet with a bipartisan group of lawmakers to discuss his jobs plan

8. Here are the stocks that Members of Congress are trading: Rep. Mike Simpson, a Republican from Idaho, seems to be betting on a travel spike. He purchased up to $15,000 worth of shares in American Airlines Group stock in March. Republican Rep. Rick Allen of Georgia recently bought up to $15,000 worth of shares in NextEra Energy, Inc, a Florida-based wind and solar company.

And Democratic Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney of New York may face problems after failing to report eight stocks he inherited and then later sold.

Check out the rest of Insider's exclusive weekly Congressional stock report.

9. Turns out that's not Can-al she wrote: The Ever Given is stuck in a different kind of mess now. Egyptian authorities are refusing to release the massive vessel until its owners pay $1 billion in compensation for the fiasco it caused while stuck in the Suez Canal for nearly a week. More on the latest development in the crazy saga.

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Hideki Matsuyama celebrates his historic Masters win at Augusta National on April 11.      Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

10. A historic day at The Masters: Hideki Matsuyama became the first Japanese player to win the Masters. The win came thanks to a near-perfect round on Sunday, with Matsuyama surviving one small scare. This was also the first time a Japanese golfer won any of the PGA's majors. More on the history made at Augusta National.

One last thing.

Today's trivia question: Sunday was national pet day. There's a long history of first pets, but this might be among the strangest. One president had a pair of lion cubs. He gave them the most D.C. names of Tax Reduction and Budget Bureau. Who was he? Email your guess and a suggested question to me at

  • Friday's answer: General George Armstrong Custer was given the side table where General Ulysses S. Grant signed terms of surrender with Confederate General Robert E. Lee. Custer, of course, is most remembered for his last stand at the Battle of Little Big Horn. The table was a gift for his wife, Elizabeth; she later donated it to the Smithsonian.