American flags were waving and horns were honking on Friday afternoon as members of Villagers for Trump descended on the intersection of Morse Boulevard and County Road 466.
Stationed at all four corners, the fast-growing grassroots organization that now boasts more than 1,000 members made quite a splash, with plenty of passing motorists giving them the thumbs up. Some yelled words of support. And others zipped by with their passengers recording the event on their cell phones.
The group’s mission was simple – celebrate President Trump’s 73rd birthday and Flag Day and get passing motorists fired up for the president’s rally in Orlando on Tuesday, where’s he’s planning to officially kick off his re-election campaign. Villagers for Trump is taking several busloads of supporters to the rally at the Amway Center.
“I love it. It’s awesome,” Donna Hoak, co-chair of the Villagers for Trump Action Committee, said of Friday’s gathering. “We have a great turnout in spite of the weather. The response is awesome from the cars and the sun’s coming out. It can’t get any better,” added the Village of Liberty Park resident.
Sue Cianci, also a co-chair of the Action Committee, was all smiles as she waved and cheered with passing motorists who honked their horn – especially a jacked-up pickup with a loud airhorn.
“This is more fun that a Barrel of Monkeys,” said Cianci, of the Village of Charlotte. “We are getting so many honks. And we give them a ‘thank you!’”
Cianci’s brother, John Trotter, who splits his time between the Village of Charlotte and Ecuador, was pushing a different idea for President Trump’s re-election effort with some bumper stickers that suggested a replacement for Vice President Mike Pence in 2020.
“I think we need to attract female voters,” he said. “Nikki Haley was a great governor, a great ambassador and she has a 56 percent approval rating among Democrats. So it will make the election a little easier.”
Meanwhile, Alice Voight, who has lived in the Village of Fenney for one month, was taking in the whole experience and loving what she was seeing.
“It’s really exciting,” the former resident of Hollywood, Fla., and New Jersey said. “Everybody is honking and putting their thumbs up – only a few down.”
Voight’s neighbor, David Grant, said he thought the reaction from motorists spoke volumes about the support Trump has going into the 2020 election.
“The only ones that gave us a little negative thing were the young kids,” he said. “We were all young at one time.”
Grant said both he and Voight are taking the Villagers for Trump buses to see the president on Tuesday and they can’t wait for the event to kick off.
“I think it’s great, especially when he’s going to announce that he’s going to run again,” he said. “You can look back and say, ‘I was there.’”
Voight said she’s particularly looking forward to seeing First Lady Melania Trump.
“They haven’t given Melania enough credit for a lot of things,” she said. “They should be putting her on a magazine. I think the Obamas have had enough,” added the former Democrat, who added that she’s learned more about politics since Trump was elected in 2016 than “I’ve known my whole life.”
Nearby, Steve Cutler said with a smile that he made a huge sacrifice to attend Friday’s rally.
“I gave up Tiger Woods to be here,” the Village of Dunedin resident said of missing television coverage of the U.S. Open golf tournament. “He wasn’t doing too good.
All he was doing was pars all day long,” added Cutler, who also was celebrating his grandson, Ralph’s, birthday.
Don Eaton, of the Village of Glenbrook, was busy waving a sign near his decked-out golf cart. He said good things lie ahead for America if Trump gets re-elected.
“The economy will go gangbusters,” he said. “Because of the tax cuts already in place, and fewer rules and regulations that have been eliminated, and the pressure that he’s putting on some countries for equal trade, it will be great.”
Sandee Jewell, of the Village of Polo Ridge, agreed, adding that it’s important to start promoting Trump’s re-election bid early.
“I love the energy that people have,” she said. “This is real America out here. These are real Americans. They’ve all worked and paid into the system, and they want Trump. That, to me, says that’s real America.”