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Political analysts Dick Batchelor and Frank Torres discuss CPAC, new legislative session

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Frank Torres (l) and Dick Batchelor. Photo: Matthew Peddie, WMFE

The Conservative Political Action Conference kicked off Thursday in Orlando. The event will feature former President Donald Trump’s first major appearance since leaving office, and includes other high profile Republican speakers such as Sen. Ted Cruz and Ben Carson. 

Democratic political analyst Dick Batchelor and Republican political analyst Frank Torres join Intersection to discuss the conference, Florida’s relationship with the federal government and the legislative session that begins next week. 

Batchelor says CPAC is going to be “the Republican Woodstock of the South,” and will involve intra-party politics. He explained that currently, two groups are fighting for control of the Republican Party–one led by Mitch McConnell, and the other by Trump. Batchelor says those who show their support for Trump at the conference will place themselves against McConnell.

“Trump’s already declared war on Mitch McConnell, the Senate now-Minority Leader,” he says. “So all these senators appearing with Trump are going to basically kind of stake their claim with Trump and really…by inference, in opposition to Mitch McConnell.” 

Batchelor says Gov. Ron DeSantis, who is speaking at the conference, is driving a wedge between himself and the Biden administration.

DeSantis referred to federal vaccination sites in Florida as “camps,” language Batchelor says alludes to something militaristic and negative. 

He says DeSantis using vaccinations as a political campaign is bad for Floridians. 

“When you just…spit on the foot of the person who’s the president of the United States gratuitously, I think it’s not good for the citizens of the state of Florida,” he says. 

As far as the legislative session starting next week, Bachelor says the legislature is unlikely to dig into their several-billion dollar rainy day fund.

Torres says using that fund would be beneficial. 

“If you’re going to go for any sort of measures that would increase relief or speed of relief,” he says. “I think you go for it.” 

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