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The Villages
Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Governor tells Villages audience about reading state’s political tea leaves for Donald Trump

In the weeks leading up to last November’s presidential election, candidate Donald Trump relied on Gov. Rick Scott to read the political tea leaves in Florida.

Sumter County School Board member Jennifer Boyette speaks with Gov. Rick Scott.
Sumter County School Board member Jennifer Boyett speaks with Gov. Rick Scott.

The governor, who said he has known Trump for 20 years, said he spoke with Trump once a week and each time assured him he would win Florida.

And while everyone seemed to predict a Hillary Clinton victory, Trump shocked the world when he won. And, of course, he won Florida, just like Scott predicted.

Scott told this story Saturday night at the Sumter County Republican Party’s 31st Annual Lincoln Day Dinner at Savannah Center.

The governor spoke of his optimism about the Trump presidency, and likened his pro-growth, business friendly vision with that of the new president.

It was a stark contrast from the 2016 Lincoln Day Dinner when then-South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley warned Villagers against voting for Trump. You can read more about the 2016 Lincoln Day dinner HERE

The governor had a chance to visit Trump at the White House about four weeks ago. Scott had lunch with the president, spent two hours talking with him about health care, watched a movie with the president and then went to dinner with him at the Trump Hotel.

“Trump eats at lot of steak with ketchup,” Scott joked.

But the governor was humbled by the experience.

“What a country. That a kid can grow up in public housing, not know my father, and have lunch at the White House and dinner with the president,” Scott said.

The governor worked the room prior to his speech, happily posing for photos with new friends and those he’s known for years.

Gov. Rick Scott with, from left, James Arnold, Sophie Thornton and Slater Smith.
Gov. Rick Scott with, from left, James Arnold, Sophie Thornton and Slater Smith.

Scott stopped by a table of young scholarship recipients. Young Slater Smith beamed when the governor shook his hand and chatted with him.

Villager Pat Francis and Gov. Rick Scott.
Villager Pat Francis and Gov. Rick Scott.

Meanwhile, Villager Pat Francis, who helped coordinate the evening’s event, had the honor of sitting next to the governor.    

John Long, 90, of Tonawanda, N.Y., who winters in the Village of Ashland, brought along an autographed picture of the governor. The photo was taken at the Florida Ball during the inauguration of President Trump in Washington D.C.

“I told him you need to run for U.S. Senate. He’s a remarkable man. A fine gentleman,” Long said.

John Long shows off a photo of him and Gov. Rick Scott taken at the Florida Ball earlier this year.
John Long shows off a photo of him and Gov. Rick Scott taken at the Florida Ball earlier this year.

From his vantage point in New York, Long said he sees that Florida is hitting on all cylinders.

“Florida is doing great, especially when you compare it to other states,” Long said. “A lot of it has to do with the governor’s leadership.”

When Villages Vice President of Community Relations Gary Lester introduced the governor and raised the possibility of Scott running for the U.S. Senate, the suggestion got a standing ovation.

Should Scott decide to enter the race, he would likely be taking on Democrat Bill Nelson, a longtime member of the U.S. Senate.

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