Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine announced his entrance into the Democrat gubernatorial primary today in Florida. But with a long record of embarrassing gaffes, erratic behavior, and far-left political positions, Levine has clearly demonstrated that he lacks the temperament and common sense to lead the Sunshine State. Levine has made headlines in the past for “off-the-cuff remarks and juvenile posts” on social media, with the Miami Herald calling him “thin-skinned and stubbornly resistant to criticism.” And in March, Levine caused an uproar for a vicious tirade he went on against Airbnb, which drew a stern rebuke from the Sun Sentinel’s editorial board.
Levine has also shown himself to be prone to embarrassing public gaffes, notably during the Zika outbreak in 2016 when he went on television and emphatically claimed there was “no outbreak of Zika on Miami Beach.” But hours later, Governor Rick Scott confirmed that there were in fact five cases of Zika in Miami Beach. Incredibly, Levine blamed “lack of communication from Tallahassee” for his failure to learn the facts about a public crisis in his own city before discussing it on television. But this wasn’t the only item that slipped through the cracks for Levine. During his tenure as mayor, a $3.6 million theft from a city bank account went completely undetected for six months, further demonstrating Levine’s alarming inattention to his city’s problems.
Levine has also made it clear that he holds alarmingly out-of-touch, far-left views that are too extreme for Florida. The Miami Herald reported that he “has never shied away from displaying his liberal politics.” Levine also claims to “love the idea” of a Bernie Sanders-type “revolution,” even though he doesn’t believe it is a winning message in Florida. Throughout his time in public office, Philip Levine has demonstrated that he is a thin-skinned political neophyte with far-left political views that is prone to embarrassing gaffes. Florida deserves better.
The Miami Herald reported that Levine “has often been thin-skinned and stubbornly resistant to criticism, and he has not been immune to public embarrassment.” “Levine’s tenure has been marked by a robust budget and popular initiatives that he is adept at marketing through social media and paid advertisements both locally and in other states, but the first-time politician has often been thin-skinned and stubbornly resistant to criticism, and he has not been immune to public embarrassment.” (Joey Flechas, “Miami Beach mayor will not run for third term. Next move? Maybe governor,” Miami Herald, Jan. 12, 2017)
The Sun Sentinel’s editorial board raised concerns over Levine’s temperament and asked whether the Democrats want a nominee who makes off-the-cuff remarks and juvenile posts on social media. “But this millionaire Democrat also is making headlines — with words like ‘tirade’ and ‘flies off handle’ — because of his off-the-cuff remarks and juvenile posts on social media… “With the gubernatorial field beginning to take shape, Democrats should be asking themselves whether they really want a nominee whose temperament draws comparisons to that of President Donald Trump.” (Editorial, “Would-be governor Philip Levine’s temperament? #bizarre | Editorial,” Sun Sentinel, March 21, 2017)
Zika in Miami Beach:
Hours after the Miami Herald reported that Zika had reached Miami Beach, Levine told TV cameras that there was no outbreak of Zika in the city. “On Thursday, hours after the Miami Herald reported that Zika was being transmitted in Miami Beach, Mayor Philip Levine looked at the TV cameras and made a blunt statement… “‘There is no epidemic, no outbreak of Zika on Miami Beach,’ he told reporters at a press conference. He added there were two cases that had ‘not been confirmed for Miami Beach.’” (Joey Flechas and Alex Daugherty, “Zika: Two days, two different stories from the mayor of Miami Beach,” Miami Herald, Aug. 19, 2016)
Fourteen hours later, Gov. Rick Scott announced that there were five confirmed cases of Zika on the Beach. “On Friday, Gov. Rick Scott made a stop in Miami to make an announcement: There were five confirmed cases of Zika on the Beach and a new area of local transmission that covers the majority of the county’s tourism central — South Beach.” (Joey Flechas and Alex Daugherty, “Zika: Two days, two different stories from the mayor of Miami Beach,” Miami Herald, Aug. 19, 2016)
$3.6 Million Theft:
The theft of $3.6 million from a city bank account went undetected for six months during Levine’s tenure as Miami Beach’s mayor. “A day after Miami Beach’s chief financial officer got a demotion following the theft of $3.6 million from a city bank account that went undetected for six months, City Manager Jimmy Morales announced he is bringing a former budget director back to lead the city’s struggling finance department… John Woodruff, who left his position in the Beach in the spring of 2016 to become management and budget director in his hometown of San Antonio, will return at the end of January. City commissioners approved the appointment Wednesday… He will replace Allison Williams, who was promoted from chief accountant to CFO in the fall of 2015. Her promotion came after the previous CFO and assistant finance director were forced to resign when they were found to have manipulated leave time to benefit future payouts upon leaving the city.” (Joey Flechas, “Miami Beach hires former budget director as new CFO in wake of bank fraud scandal,” Miami Herald, Jan. 11, 2017)
Levine’s Liberal Political Views:
According to the Miami Herald, Levine “has never shied away from displaying his liberal politics.” “Levine has never shied away from displaying his liberal politics, which is easy to do in a progressive city like Miami Beach. That. though, has come with consequences.” (Joey Flechas, “Miami Beach mayor will not run for third term. Next move? Maybe governor,” Miami Herald, Jan. 12, 2017)
Levine loves the idea of Bernie Sanders’ revolution, but does not believe the message can win in Florida. “At a time when many liberals are hungry for a champion fighter, Levine dismisses Bernie Sanders’ message… “‘Bernie Sanders lost the Florida primary to Hillary Clinton, okay? I love the idea of a revolution, but unfortunately in South Florida the term ‘revolution’ doesn’t sound like such a good idea,’ he quipped to a group of Democrats in Miami recently.” (Adam C. Smith, “Democrat Philip Levine won’t attack Trump. Can he be Florida governor?,” Tampa Bay Times, Aug. 18, 2017)