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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

No, Donald Trump wasn't in Florida on the day his son met with Russians

Donald Trump speaks at a June 11, 2016, campaign rally at the Tampa Convention Center in downtown Tampa.

Loren Elliott | Times

Donald Trump speaks at a June 11, 2016, campaign rally at the Tampa Convention Center in downtown Tampa.



Former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski offered up an alibi of sorts:

“I don't know the reason I wasn't invited to the meeting,” he said yesterday on Meet The Press Daily, referring to the June 9, 2016, meeting at Trump Tower between Russians, Donald Trump Jr. and others.

“As you know, I wasn't on the e-mail chain,’ Lewandowski continued. “I wasn't even made aware of the meeting. And what I do remember on that particular day was that was a day that Donald Trump was doing a rally in the state of Florida, so I traveled with the president that day.”

But as NBC news points out, Trump wasn’t in Florida or on the road at all that day. Trump was in Tampa on June 11.

Here's the start of our story that day:

TAMPA — If his fans worry Donald Trump might start heeding GOP leaders, tone down his rhetoric and shift to subdued "presidential" teleprompter speeches, his rally Saturday at the Tampa Convention Center should put to rest concerns he may become boring and conventional.

Once a Donald Trump, it seems, always a Donald Trump.

For more than 45 minutes, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee repeatedly mocked "Crooked Hillary" Clinton, calling her "a total mess" and "unstable." He threw his arms around the American flag, literally, to show his love of America. He called for his Republican Party to "get their act together" and unify behind him — even as he trashed fellow Republicans Mitt Romney ("a stone cold loser") and Jeb Bush ("Who the hell cares?").

Trump scoffed at accusations that he's racist, touting an endorsement from boxing promoter Don King that King has denied making, and he apologized for insensitivity in referring to Democratic Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren as "Pocahontas" because she had claimed Cherokee heritage.

"Yes I will apologize — to Pocahontas," said Trump, as the crowd of about 4,000 roared. "I'll apologize, because Pocahontas is insulted."

And Trump left no doubt that he is determined to win Florida's 29 electoral votes.

"I'll be here so much, I'll be in Florida, I'll be with you so much over the next five months that you're going to say, 'Please keep him the hell out of Florida. He's driving us crazy,' " Trump quipped. "Seriously, we need Florida. It's absolutely imperative. They say if you don't win Florida, it's over.

[Last modified: Friday, July 14, 2017 12:57pm]


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