Nothing like a campaign endorsement from an accused criminal to jump-start sheriff race | Opinion

The partisan race for the top local law enforcement job in Miami-Dade County — who, in a crowded field of 16 candidates, will become our newly-elected sheriff? — just got interesting in a wacky way.

For one, it will test the staying power of an endorsement by MAGA ex-president Donald Trump, the most famous accused criminal, possibly, in the entire world.

Who — running a race pledging to fight public corruption and operate with transparency and accountability — would want the support of a man four-times indicted and facing 91 felony counts?

Preposterous in an ethical society, but we’re actually not that anymore here in the land of feverish Trump idolatry a la Fidel Castro in 1959. The American right-wing caudillo, who tried to derail democracy and took off with secret military documents he shared and hid from the FBI, can do no wrong.

And so, with a straight face, Trump — although busy attending his criminal trial in New York for allegedly paying hush money to a porn star and falsifying records to cover it up — has endorsed one of 13 Republican candidates vying to become sheriff, Rosanna “Rosie” Cordero-Stutz, an assistant director for the Miami-Dade Police Department.

“I know as your next Sheriff, she will make us all proud,” Trump boasted on his Truth Social website, after noting her 28 years of service and list of accomplishments he crafted in hyperbolic fashion, throwing grammar to the wind.

READ MORE: Donald Trump picks a favorite in the crowded race for Miami-Dade County sheriff

Rosanna “Rosie” Cordero-Stutz is a Republican candidate for Miami-Dade County sheriff in 2024.
Rosanna “Rosie” Cordero-Stutz is a Republican candidate for Miami-Dade County sheriff in 2024.

Trump & Gimenez ties

What does Trump know about the sheriff’s race with 16 candidates?


But his devoted supporter, Congressman Carlos Gimenez, a Miami Republican, must have put him up to it.

His lobbyist son, C.J., and his daughter-in-law, Tania Cruz-Gimenez, are the main consultants handling Cordero-Stutz’s campaign, the Miami Herald reported.

Such politics of opportunity abound in Gimenez’s political history.

He endorsed Hillary Clinton in 2016 when he was running for mayor in blue Miami-Dade against another Republican. After Trump won, he became Trumpier than Trump, who had employed Gimenez’s son as a consultant before the election to lobby cities on behalf of his Doral resort and Miss Universe Pageant.

At first, Trump was sore over the Clinton endorsement, but there were more mutually beneficial opportunities to be had making up.

See the emergent pattern of business profit and politics traveling hand-in-hand?

Sure puts an interesting spin on “Vote for Rosie,” with campaign literature that promises: “Rosie is resolute in her commitment to root out public corruption. With unyielding determination, she will establish stringent oversight mechanisms, transparent processes, and a zero-tolerance policy against public corruption of all types that erode the public trust.”

If she really stands for those things, Cordero-Stutz would rethink her choice of political operatives, and certainly, reject the endorsement of Trump.

It’s particularly egregious for a female, law-and-order candidate to accept a Trump endorsement when he was found liable in New York of the sexual abuse and defamation of writer E. Jean Carroll. He also was found by a judge to have engaged in sweeping fraud by scheming to dupe banks, insurers and others Trump did business with about the extent of his wealth.

So the argument that “he’s innocent until proven guilty” has sailed.

As the highest-ranking county police officer on the ballot, Cordero-Stutz shouldn’t need Trump’s help, but she said in a statement that she was “humbled by the faith and trust” he’s placing in her.

“Only in America could a Hispanic woman receive an endorsement from a former and future president of the United States,” her statement says. “We both agree. We cannot allow socialist policies to endanger our community and our values. Thank you President Trump.”

A top cop humbled by a criminal, and repeating GOP lies.

No socialist policies are endangering anyone in Miami-Dade. Last time I checked, happy Hialeah had the country’s largest enrollment in Obamacare and lots of medical businesses are profiting from the Democratic president’s healthcare option.

Oh silly me, to think that ethics should matter.

These are the unethical political shenanigans to be expected when Miami-Dade voters bought into the idea, some no doubt unwittingly, of restoring the Sheriff’s Office, eliminated in 1966 to create the Miami-Dade Police Department (MDPD).

Lesson to learn from all this: Never underestimate the ways in which the ethical bar can be lowered even more in Florida.

READ MORE: Tee time with the traitor, shameless love. That’s how Miami rolls for indicted Trump | Opinion

What’s it worth?

There is, however, a bigger end-game at play in this new Trump endorsement and its timing, last Wednesday, for a primary election taking place August 20.

It’s yet another effort by Trump and his political machine to try to normalize his candidacy and presidential ambitions, a shameful chapter in the history of the American presidency.

His endorsement came on the same day as the announcement that an Arizona grand jury has indicted Trump’s chief of staff, Mark Meadows, lawyer Rudy Giuliani and 16 others for their roles in trying to overturn Trump’s 2020 loss to Joe Biden.

Trump, who continues to spread lies about the election, hasn’t been charged. But he’s listed as an unindicted co-conspirator, another distinguished title for Cordero-Stutz to consider.

Surely, Trump’s endorsements have helped local Republican candidates in the past.

But in 2024, especially if he’s found guilty of paying off Stormy Daniels, his nods to local candidates might end up hurting more than helping.

After all, Miami-Dade voters are still majority Democrat and independent.

How much should the Trump endorsement for sheriff be worth to the law-abiding?