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Alex Leary, Times Washington Bureau Chief

Alex Leary

Alex Leary is the Washington bureau chief for the Tampa Bay Times. He previously worked in the Times' state capital bureau, and before that covered local politics, environmental issues and law enforcement. His career in journalism began at the Valley News in New Hampshire.

Phone: (202) 306-4807


Blog: The Buzz

Twitter: @LearyReports

  1. Best buds: Rick Scott and Donald Trump hang out in Washington


    WASHINGTON – In Tallahassee, a battle looms with House Speaker Richard Corcoran, but here, Gov. Rick Scott has had a remarkable few days.

    On Friday Scott was elected vice chairman of the Republican Governors Association. Saturday, he had lunch with President Trump and watched La La Land at the White House then went out to dinner with commander-in-chief at Trump International Hotel. ...

  2. Corcoran, Negron to discuss flood insurance, Obamacare with Rubio


    WASHINGTON - House Speaker Richard Corcoran and other legislators are in Washington today and tomorrow for a series of meetings and social gatherings with Sen. Marco Rubio and others.

    Though the parties are keeping details close — for reasons that aren’t clear — the Buzz has obtained an itinerary.


    1-2 p.m. Working lunch flood insurance
    2-5 p.m. Affordable Care Act and impact on Florida
    5-6 p.m. Social Hour
    6-8 p.m. - Dinner with Rubio and Rep. Vern Buchanan...

  3. 'Great to see Ivanka Trump last night'


    Gov. Rick Scott this morning tweeted a photo of him and Ivanka Trump from last night's Governors' Ball at the White House.

    Scott, who had lunch with Trump on Saturday, remains in Washington. This morning he and other governors attended a meeting at the White House and at 12:30 p.m., Scott is to meet with Education Secretary Betsy DeVos followed by Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao....

    Ivanka Trump and Gov. Rick Scott
  4. Florida father of slain SEAL declined to meet with Trump


    By Julie K. Brown of the Miami Herald

    When they brought William “Ryan” Owens home, the Navy SEAL was carried from a C-17 military plane in a flag-draped casket, onto the tarmac at Dover Air Force Base, as President Donald Trump, his daughter, Ivanka, and Owens’ family paid their respects.

    It was a private transfer, as the family had requested. No media and no bystanders, except for some military dignitaries....

  5. Rubio: Town halls designed to 'heckle and scream' at me for the cameras


    Sen. Marco Rubio over the weekend continued to defend his decision not to hold a town hall, saying they don't result in productive engagement.

    “They are designed to basically heckle and scream at me in front of cameras," he said on CBS4.

    "They are not town halls anymore,” Rubio said. “And I wish they were, because I enjoy that process very much, going back to my time as speaker of the House.”...

  6. Rick Scott has lunch with Trump at White House


    WASHINGTON -- Gov. Rick Scott had lunch today at the White House with President Trump and Gov. Scott Walker.

    The White House called it a working lunch "to discuss how best to solve the problems of Obamacare, with a special emphasis on the states’ role in healthcare."

    Last week, Sen. Marco Rubio had dinner with Trump....

  7. As Trump is learning, it's not so easy to reject the president's paycheck


    The government owes Donald Trump.

    Right about now, the 45th president is due to receive his first paycheck, part of a $400,000 annual salary delivered in monthly installments.

    But the billionaire said during the campaign that he wouldn't take the pay. Is he backsliding on a promise?

    The White House says no, but things are more complicated.

    "He is required to get a paycheck but will be giving it back to (the) treasury or donating," spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in email, adding that the staff was trying to determine the legal process to do so....

    President Donald Trump speaks Friday at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Oxon Hill, Md. [Evan Vucci | Associated Press]
  8. Rubio defends town hall stance, says people on both sides get 'rude and stupid'


    Activits didn't give up on Sen. Marco Rubio after seeing him yesterday at Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami and challenging him to hold a town hall. Later that day came this exchange in which Rubio explains that "people get rude and stupid, on both sides."

    "Let him tape it," Rubio says to an apparent aide. He explains that he ran for office in opposition to Obamacare and it would be unfair to those who voted for him to change his opinion. ...

  9. Rubio outlines what he did in Europe


    Sen. Marco Rubio's office, which for days declined to detail his trip to Europe, outlined his travels.

    From his website:

    On Monday in Germany, he received a country briefing at the U.S. embassy and met with American foreign service officers and intelligence officials stationed in Berlin. He also met with German officials, including Ursula von der Leyen, Defense Minister; Dr. Christoph Heusgen, National Security Advisor and Head of Foreign Relations, Global Affairs, and External Security; and Markus Erderer, State Secretary....

  10. Rubio, suddenly back from Europe, is confronted in Miami


    Sen. Marco Rubio surfaced in Miami today and was confronted by an activist who wants to know why he isn't holding a town hall, like many other lawmakers across the country this week.

    The scene adds to a strange series of events surrounding Rubio's whereabouts.

    "Senator, I thought you were in Europe," a man asks in a video posted on Facebook. "I saw all these missing child posters all over town. ... Are you going to host a town hall? Senator, I thought you were in Europe. Rubio's office said Monday he was in Europe but refused to provide more than basic details to the Tampa Bay Times. We assumed he was still overseas....

  11. GOP ad likens Sen. Nelson to Elizabeth Warren


    WASHINGTON - In what may be the first campaign ad against Sen. Bill Nelson, Republicans today debuted a Facebook spot that asserts the Florida Democrat is not much different than liberal Sen. Elizabeth Warren.

    The NRSC said the ad will target people who “lean conservative” and independents statewide; it would not reveal how much money is behind the ad. Nelson is up for re-election in 2018....

    Facebook ad
  12. What's Marco Rubio doing in Europe?


    WASHINGTON - As lawmakers are home facing often hostile crowds at town halls, Sen. Marco Rubio is somewhere overseas right now on what his office calls an “official oversight trip” whose mission includes discussing “Russian aggression in Europe.”

    On Monday, Rubio’s office said he would “attend multiple bilateral meetings with heads of state and senior government officials in Germany and France, two countries with upcoming elections who are facing concerns about Russian interference.”...

  13. Anti-abortion activists target Sen. Nelson in Gorsuch confirmation battle


    Anti-abortion activists working to confirm Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch will demonstrate outside Sen. Bill Nelson's Tampa office tomorrow.

    Local activists will be joined by members of Susan B. Anthony List for the noon event, according to a release.

    Nelson, up for re-election in 2018, faces pressure from the right and left....

  14. Trump advisor Stephen Miller to attend Fox News town hall in Jacksonville


    Fox News is hosting a town hall from Jacksonville at 7 tonight that will focus on immigration.

    Among those attending is Stephen Miller, the 31-year-old aide to President Trump who was involved in the crafting of the controversial travel ban, and Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez, who has drawn fire for complying with Trump's directive on sanctuary cities.

    "Moderated by Martha MacCallum, the town hall will feature a dialogue between key newsmakers and Florida voters on the issue of immigration in the context of national security and jobs."...

  15. Trump's visits to Florida costing taxpayers millions


    CBS News looks at the costs of President Trump's frequent travel to Florida, which by some estimates is up to $10 million.

    The piece includes an interview with Tom Fitton of the conservative Judicial Watch, which is pressing the White House to reveal the costs. Trump has gone to Florida the past three weekends. "He doesn't need to go to Florida every weekend," Fitton says. "He can work at the White House or up at Camp David."...