FLORIDA POLITICS: The race to replace Gov.
Rick Scott has become increasingly heated.
A top Trump adviser has been accused of sexual assault and a Republican congressional candidate was charged with assaulting a teenage girl.
Democrats are gearing up for a big fight over the House GOP health-care bill, which could put the GOP in charge of health- care legislation for years to come.
And a group of top Republicans is pushing back against the idea of putting a federal gun ban in place.
In this week’s WSJ Political Pulse newsletter, WSJ political writers and reporters cover politics, politics and more politics.
MORE: The Florida GOP is facing a major test ahead of the 2018 elections, with a top Trump aide accused of sexually assaulting a 14-year-old girl, and a top congressional candidate accused of assaulting a 16-year old.
The allegations against Trump’s former top adviser, Barry Bennett, and Republican House Speaker Joe Straus of Florida came on Thursday, a day after the president’s son Donald Trump Jr. posted a photo of a young woman he said was part of a group who had visited a Trump campaign rally with a handgun.
“It’s been a roller coaster of emotions,” said Bennett, who has denied all the allegations.
“I’m very hurt.
It’s very personal.”
The allegations came days after Trump Jr., who is married to Ivanka Trump, tweeted that he had met the young woman and “had her autograph.”
The president’s lawyer, Jay Sekulow, told CNN that the president would cooperate with the special counsel, but he called the allegations “totally false.”
Trump’s top spokesman, Jason Miller, called the accusations “sickening” and said that “any insinuation that the President ever condoned sexual misconduct is ridiculous.”
Bennett, a former Republican congressman, resigned in January after being charged with assault and battery of a teenage boy in 2016.
He had served in the House of Representatives from 1997 to 2007.
In a statement, the Florida Republican Party said it had “no knowledge of any sexual misconduct” in the Trump campaign, adding that Bennett had been removed from the party’s leadership.
In another sign of mounting tensions, former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski was fired Friday for allegedly grabbing a reporter’s arm during a news conference.
Lewandowski said he had been fired because he had made a “serious mistake” by asking the reporter, “Do you think it’s OK for a candidate for Congress to grab women’s legs and push them into a locker room?”
A spokeswoman for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, which backed former Gov.
Charlie Crist, said he would be joining the congressional campaign.
“Congresswoman Crist is taking the next step and working to elect Democrats to the United States House of Representative in 2018,” said Sarah Schulman, spokeswoman for DCCC spokeswoman Jennifer Palmieri.
In Florida, Democrats will likely be trying to use a law that gives lawmakers immunity from criminal prosecution if they are accused of a crime and not charged.
The law, known as the ‘shield law,’ was passed in 1990 and requires that lawmakers, their staff and their attorneys have immunity.
It is not clear whether Florida lawmakers will be facing the same immunity rules.
Republican Representative Joe Garcia, who is running for governor against Democratic Gov.
Jeb Bush, said the accusations against Bennett were “not the best way to deal with sexual assault” and urged him to resign.
“These allegations have hurt our campaign and have tarnished our name and our image,” he said in a statement.
“If he’s the person who assaulted this young girl, he should resign.
We will be seeking an immediate and unconditional apology from Barry Bennett.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.