Tens of thousands of President Trump’s supporters descended upon the Amway Center in Orlando on Tuesday to hear the president launch his 2020 campaign. Their positions were in sync. Many said they have enjoyed the president’s time in office thus far and tout the strong economy. Supporters also said that illegal immigrants have no place in the country and that if Trump can have a third term, they’re all for it. “Maybe the Democrats would get it right during the third term and leave him alone so he could do even more,” said one Trump supporter.
Rally-goers waited on line for more than 30 hours ahead of the doors opening for the main event, dealing with heavy rain to secure a prime spot to hear the president speak. Outside the venue there was live music, food trucks and frequent chants of “U-S-A, U-S-A.” Inside, attendees bonded over their excitement about seeing the president.
“Our patriotic movement has been under assault from the very first day,” Trump said in front of the energized crowd. “We accomplished more than any other president has in the first two and a half years of a presidency and under circumstances that no president has had to deal with before.”
The rally served as the official starting point of Trump’s reelection campaign against a crowded Democratic field that already has 23 proposed candidates. Florida, which holds 29 Electoral College votes, is the biggest swing state in the nation and a must-win for the president.
While thousands of supporters packed the arena to express their praise for Trump, not all of Orlando is behind another four years under the current administration. The Orlando Sentinel, the city’s most widely distributed newspaper, put out a scathing editorial just hours before the rally in which it endorsed “anyone but Trump.” It’s only the fifth time in the paper’s history that it hasn’t supported the GOP candidate. “Enough of the chaos, the division, the schoolyard insults, the self-aggrandizement, the corruption, and especially the lies,” said the editorial. “The nation must endure another 1½ years of Trump. But it needn’t suffer another four beyond that.”
But the president’s team doesn’t care too much about what the Sentinel has to say. Kayleigh McEnany, the national press secretary of the Trump 2020 campaign, said Americans are smart and don’t depend on newspapers. “Newspaper endorsements are meaningless,” she said. “People don’t need to be told by a newspaper who to vote for. They need to know who’s going to be more affordable for my kids to go to college, who’s going to make this economy better … and they don’t depend on the Orlando Sentinel for that.”
Despite the paper’s critique, Trump supporters at the rally were pleased with the president’s first two and a half years in office. They are confident a wall is being built and said they would welcome having him serve a third term in office. “If he could come into a third term just like Mayor Bloomberg had a third term in New York City had a third term, [I’m down],” said one supporter. “We got him.”
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