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On Family Separation, Adam Putnam Has One Message for Reporters, Another for Supporters — And Still Won't Condemn Trump

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In the Past Twenty-Four Hours, Putnam Has Taken Two Different Positions

Adam Putnam has one message for the media — and another for the GOP's Trumpian base.

In the midst of bipartisan outrage over Donald Trump's cruel policy of separating children from families, Adam Putnam last night sent a fundraising email endorsing Donald Trump's "aggressive" immigration agenda. In that fundraising appeal, Putnam implicitly backed the Trump administration's family separation policy and explicitly backed its entire immigration agenda. Putnam's email represented a clear break with Florida Republicans like Jeb Bush who have denounced the policy — and a blatant effort to highlight Putnam's anti-immigrant views to raise money.

This morning, the Putnam campaign decided to take a seemingly contradictory position. A Putnam spokesperson told the Associated Press that "it's important that we enforce our laws in a humane way and families should be kept together." It was an anodyne statement that failed to denounce Donald Trump — but did contradict the fundraising email from the night before.

Putnam's shifting position raises the question of whether he is cynically trying to take a more moderate position with the media while feeding anti-immigrant red meat to his supporters.

"Adam Putnam will say or do anything to win the governor's race — even if it means taking two different positions on the Trump administration's family separation policy in twenty-four hours. On what should be a most basic moral question — whether children should be with their parents — Adam Putnam is afraid to stand up to Donald Trump. Even while Florida Republicans unambiguously denounce Trump's cruel family separation policy, Adam Putnam is championing the administration's agenda — and then asking his spokesperson to denounce it. Only a career politician like Adam Putnam would play politics with children being separated from their parents," said FDP spokesperson Kevin Donohoe.

Ron DeSantis has taken a similarly ambiguous position — and refused to call out President Trump for his zero-tolerance family separation policy.