FORT MYERS — Illegal aliens, Democrats and leftist media drew the ire of President Donald Trump and his enthusiastic supporters during a packed rally close to home on Wednesday.
Fort Myers’ Hertz Arena was filled with thousands sporting MAGA hats and snappy signs urging the public to “Finish the wall,” “Drain the swamp,” and noting whether they were black, a woman or a veteran supporting President Donald Trump for his visit Wednesday night. During the rally, which started at 7:30 p.m., Trump showed support for Republican candidates State Sen. Greg Steube for the House of Representatives, Ron DeSantis for governor, and Gov. Rick Scott for Senate.
“It was pretty electric,” Steube told the Sun Thursday afternoon. “I’ve never seen someone get so many people to wait as long as they had to hear someone speak.”
Trump began his visit by addressing the shooting in Pittsburgh where 11 people were killed in a synagogue. “We pledge our resolve to remove the vile poison of antisemitism, and so many other problems from our world, and we reaffirm our unbreakable solidarity with the Jewish people,” he said. “Yesterday’s visit to Pittsburgh was about coming together as a nation to comfort and to heal. After this day of unity and togetherness, I came home and sadly turned on the news and watched as the far left media once again used tragedy to show anger and division.”
He then proceeded to say his movement is about “safe homes, great jobs” and “love for our fellow Americans.”
“I got there at six in the morning and just talked to so many people,” said Englewood Republican Wynelle Hill, who attended with husband Ed. “I met people from Israel, South Africa, it was very diverse. There were Blacks for Trump preaching to everyone how Democrats have brainwashed everyone and that they can think for themselves. It just made me feel really American.
“Go red, vote red because we don’t want Florida to go backwards,” Hill said.
Trump introduced Scott on stage, where Scott told citizens he was proud of Floridians during Hurricane Michael for taking care of their neighbors without political bias. “They didn’t say ‘oh, what party are you?’ you know, they said ‘We’re going to help every citizen in this state, just like your President.’”
“We can do the exact same thing in Washington,” Scott said.
“Everything that the Democrats are putting out aren’t things I’m going to support,” Steube said.
If Democrats do take the majority in the House or the Senate, Steube said, his “focus would be to try to get candidates back into the seats we lost.”
Scott then proceeded to talk about his opponent, Democrat incumbent Sen. Bill Nelson. “When he took office (42 years ago), the national debt was about $600 million. (Now) it’s almost $21 billion.”
When DeSantis took the microphone, he spent a majority of his time telling supporters why to not vote for his opponent, Democrat candidate Andrew Gillum. “He’s running to impeach the president,” he said. “I mean, this is a guy that took bribes from an undercover FBI agent, took money from a lobbyist, did favors for lobbyists. Maybe we should impeach him as mayor of Tallahassee.”
The stands boomed with cries to “lock him up.”
“I acted in every way in compliance with the law,” Gillum told the Washington Post. “I acted in every way consistent with the law.”
DeSantis also promised to “end judicial activism in Florida once and for all,” “protect your second amendment rights,” “clean our waters,” “protect your health care” and claimed he’s “the only candidate that ain’t going to raise your taxes.”
“Ron (is) running against a radical socialist who wants to turn Florida frankly into Venezuela,” Trump said. “Andrew Gillum wants to throw open your borders to drug dealers, human traffickers, gang members and criminal aliens.”
“What people should focus on is the results Republicans have had in the recent years in Florida,” Steube said. With a Republican majority in state government, “we’ve cut $10 billion in taxes, put $3 billion in reserves, we have historic unemployment data, historic economic data. Every year we’ve balanced the budget, which they should start doing in Washington.”
“Look at the amazing things we have all done working together, the unemployment rate just fell to the lowest level,” Trump said. According to the most recent available data provided by the U.S. Census Bureau, the 2017 unemployment rate was 5.3 percent nationwide and 5.5 percent in Florida, which is the lowest rate recorded to when the data is last available in 2005.
“Poverty has reached all-time lows,” Trump said. The 2017 poverty rate is 13.4 and 14 percent for the United States and Florida, respectively, according to U.S. Census Bureau data. Poverty was at an even lower level in 2008 before the recession at 13.2 percent for both the United States and Florida. Poverty has, however, decreased since last year by 0.6 and 0.7 percent for the United States and Florida, respectively. Poverty has also decreased slightly in Sarasota and Charlotte counties during the past year.
The general election is Nov. 6. Registered voters can vote early at select polls in both Sarasota and Charlotte counties until Nov. 3 and Nov. 4, respectively.