President Donald Trump took his re-election bid to Florida on Tuesday where he touted his environmental credentials with an expansion of a ban on off-shore drilling and got in a few shots at Democratic rival Joe Biden.
His environmental claims and campaign pitch – complete with a lighthouse in view behind him – came as a new poll showed him tied with Biden in a state neither man can lose in the November election.
‘This protects your beautiful Gulf and your beautiful ocean and it will for a long time to come,’ Trump said of his new executive order after signing it.
President Donald Trump made a campaign stop and signed an executive order while in Jupiter, Florida, on Tuesday
Trump and Biden are tied at 48 per cent among likely voters in Florida, an NBC News/Marist poll out Tuesday found while the president has a one point advantage among registered voters, 48 per cent to Biden’s 47.
‘It’s not unusual for Florida to be this close,’ Lee Miringoff, the director of the Marist College Institute for Public Opinion, told NBC News.
‘If Trump loses Florida, it’s game over. If Trump wins, the story of the night will still have to be told,’ given the remaining battlegrounds of Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, he noted.
Four years ago, Trump won Florida by barely a point and both campaigns are making a play for it this year.
The Biden campaign is sending running mate Kamala Harris to Miami on Thursday for their own round of campaign events.
Biden leads Trump among black voters, women voters and independents, the poll found with the president in the lead among male voters and white voters.
Trump, however, also has the advantage among the all-important Latino voters in the state: 50 per cent to 46 per cent.
While in Jupiter, Florida, on Tuesday, Trump called the state his home. He was 20 miles from his Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, which is his residence in the Sunshine State.
‘It’s great to be back at the historic Jupiter inlet. I know it very well. I don’t live very far away as you know,’ Trump told the cheering crowd. ‘It’s my home state. It’s called the state of Florida and it’s a great state.’
The president announced an expansion of a ban on offshore drilling and highlighted conservation projects in Florida. But his administration has overturned or weakened numerous regulations meant to protect air and water quality and lands essential for imperiled species.
Trump spoke beside the Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse, lambasting Biden’s agenda at the taxpayer-funded event.
‘The approach of Joe Biden, and the radical left is exactly the opposite their policies will destroy jobs, cause energy prices to double and triple and quadruple to skyrocket beyond belief and the environment will be badly hurt,’ he said.
‘And very importantly, they’ll take away our energy independence and they’ll do it quickly and they won’t even know what happened to them,’ he added.
Trump attacked rival Joe Biden multiple times during his remarks in Florida during the tax-payer funded event
President Donald Trump arrives to speak on the environment at the Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse and Museum – about 20 miles down the road from his Mar-a-Lago home
The trip comes as Trump steps up his travel to battleground states eight weeks before the election. From Florida, he headed for a campaign rally in North Carolina, another must-win state for his reelection.
Trump announced he was extending and expanding a ban on new offshore drilling sites off the Florida coast as well as Georgia and South Carolina. The existing moratorium covers the Gulf of Mexico, and Trump said the new one would also cover the Atlantic coast – a significant political concern in coastal states like Florida.
The moratorium on drilling in the eastern Gulf of Mexico was set to expire in 2022.
‘My administration´s proving everyday that we can improve our environment while creating millions of high-paying jobs,’ Trump said.
He claimed Biden’s environmental plans would ‘destroy America´s middle class while giving a free pass to the world´s worst foreign polluters.’
Biden opposes new permits for drilling in federal land and waters. Biden said in a statement that Trump has refused to listen to scientists on climate change and his environmental record has mostly been about eliminating rules on clean air and water and opening up public lands to drilling.
The announcement could open the president up to charges of an election-year flip-flop given that he acted in January 2018 to vastly expand offshore drilling from the Atlantic to the Arctic oceans.
Trump offered himself as the greatest environmental president since Theodore Roosevelt.
‘Who would have thought. Trump is the great environmentalist?’ the president said. ‘You hear that? That´s good, and I am. I am. I believe strongly in it.’
Trump, though, has rolled back numerous regulations meant to protect the environment, from power plant emissions to auto fuel standards to clean water. He withdrew the U.S. from the Paris Climate Accord, a global agreement to address the emission of heat-trapping greenhouse gases.
The Trump administration has made the environment a primary target of his deregulatory push, eliminating or weakening dozens of rules that protect the nation´s air and water quality and lands essential for imperiled species while reversing Obama-era initiatives to fight climate change.
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis tosses pens to the audience after President Donald Trump signed an executive order extending the ban on offshore drilling
President Trump was on a two-state swing on Tuesday with a stop in Florida and then a rally in North Carolina
Trump replaced Obama´s Clean Power Plan aimed at slashing greenhouse gas pollution from electric plants and eased automobile fuel economy standards. Under Trump, the Environmental Protection Agency stripped federal protection from millions of acres of streams and wetlands. He lifted restrictions on oil and gas exploration in sensitive areas and shortened environmental reviews of construction projects such as highways and pipelines.
Trump said he had also been discussing extending the moratorium with Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who greeted Trump at the airport in West Palm Beach and attended the Jupiter event. Republican Congressmen Matt Gaetz and Brian Mast were also in attendance.
‘This protects your beautiful gulf and your beautiful ocean, and it will for a long time to come,’ Trump told the audience of about 200 people, including federal and state officials and members of Congress. Few wore face coverings or practiced social distancing.
‘The Sunshine State is truly one of the most beautiful places on earth I love it. And together we will preserve its breathtaking natural splendor for generations to come. We’re here today to celebrate our incredible record of natural conservation and environmental protection over the last four years,’ Trump said.
He signed the order, waved to the crowd and then left. DeSantis stayed and threw pens used in the signing to the cheering crowd.