Not surprisingly, Donald Trump hasn’t been too keen in hiring those associated with the “Never Trump” movement of conservative policy who surfaced in last year’s presidential campaign.
The most glaring example of that was the case of former State Department official Elliott Abrams. A meeting between the two last month reportedly went well, according to CNN. Ultimately Trump opted not to hire Abrams for the job as deputy Secretary of State, however, once he learned that Abrams criticized him during his White House run.
Might strong GOP criticism of the president during the campaign turn off Rick Scott, a close ally of Trump’s, specifically when it comes to naming a new Chief Financial Officer?
While there have been a host of names floated as possible contenders (including state Senators Jack Latvala, Jeff Brandes, Tom Lee and Lizbeth Benacquisto, state Rep. Jim Boyd, former interim head of Citizens Property Insurance Tom Grady, Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry, former Speaker of the House Will Weatherfod, and Lt. Gov. Carlos Lopez-Cantera), Pat Neal, the Manatee County real estate developer and former state lawmaker, is being looked at by many as the top choice to succeed Jeff Atwater in filling out the remainder of his term. Atwater announced last month that he will be stepping down as CFO to serve as Vice President for Strategic Initiatives and Chief Financial Officer at Florida Atlantic University at the end of the Florida Legislature’s regular session in May.
Neal announced last June that he would not be a candidate for the CFO position in 2018, telling the Sarasota Herald-Tribune that he was “dispirited with what I see every morning having to do with the Trump campaign.”
He went on to tell reporter Zac Anderson that he viewed Trump as an incredibly “vulgar” candidate who “is leading our party off a cliff.”
Neal later told the Times’ Adam C. Smith that, “I, Pat Neal, have never had a bankruptcy, never had a bank default. When you sign a note of bonds, or sell stock with investors the right thing to