When President Trump takes the stage at the Sharon L. Morse Performing Arts Center during Tuesday’s invitation-only event, he’ll be greeted by cheers, applause and a standing ovation.
But that crowd will be a mixture of people who truly support the president and those who are attending because of who they know or where they work. Some will thoroughly cherish the moment, while others will look at it as nothing more than an obligation.
For instance, we know that a large contingent of Villages brass will be there and we’re betting they’ll be clapping, smiling and putting on airs like they’ve been behind the president from Day One. But many people – us included – remember the days when that fickle group supported Marco Rubio and Jeb Bush while saying downright nasty things about Trump.
But here’s the good news – there will be a contingent among the crowd that couldn’t be happier to see the president in person. They’ve worked extremely hard to support him. And the opportunity to be at The Sharon to hear him talk about Medicare means more to them than we can put into words.
We’re talking, of course, about members of Villagers for Trump, a grassroots organization formed a little more than a year ago by resident David Gee that truly has become the choice of Republicans who want to be active in politics in Florida’s Friendliest Hometown.
The fast-growing group boasts more than 1,700 members who aren’t afraid to show their support for the president and the things he stands for – and they make it a point do just that quite often.
If you’re not familiar with Villagers for Trump, they hold monthly “rallies” – their next one is Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. at Eisenhower Recreation Center – and they have brought in everyone from Gov. Ron DeSantis to Judge Jeanine Pirro to indicted and outspoken Trump advisor Roger Stone to former campaign managers and authors Corey R. Lewandowski and David N. Bossie.
Members proudly display their Trump gear and take great pride in conducting large-scale golf cart rallies to show support for the president. Those events, which are organized by Action Committee Co-Chairs Donna Hoak and Sue Cianci, have sported a wide variety of themes ranging from showing support for GOP candidates in the November 2018 election by riding the “Red Wave” to “Build The Wall” to “Stop Socialism/Choose Freedom.”
If you’re wondering if these parades have been a success, then consider this – some have included just shy of 400 golf carts and 800 participants. And they’ve fired up many a spectator who flashed the thumbs-up sign or took video on their cell phones as the parade participants drove by.
The group also shows support for the president through flag-waving events that also are organized by the hard-working Hoak and Cianci. During these events, members will gather at busy intersections with American flags and pro-Trump signs and wave at passing motorists who typically honk their horns and wave back to show support.
That was certainly the case at a July 19 event in Wildwood at the busy intersection of State Road 44 and U.S. 301 when air horns from passing semi-trucks were constantly blaring. And it was the same story on June 14 – Flag Day and President Trump’s 73rd birthday – when the group gathered for a similar event at the intersection of Morse Boulevard and County Road 466.
A contingent of Villagers for Trump members stood in the rain all day outside the Amway Center in Orlando on June 18 for the chance to hear Trump announce plans to seek a second term in a rally that night. And a large group filled half of the Gator’s Dockside restaurant in Brownwood for a watch party.
In 2016, the president tweeted a photo of Villager Denise Neal’s Trump hair-themed golf cart that sported yellow tissue paper on its roof. This past November Villagers for Trump Vice President Jim Volpe gave the president a copy of the group’s 2018 Trump Day Dinner program at Trump International Golf Club in West Palm Beach. And last month the group started selling Trump 2020 bottled water.
Which brings us back to Tuesday’s event. Since learning that Trump was coming to The Villages, the group has worked hard to secure tickets for its members to hear the president speak. And not only is that going to happen, but 10 of those members are even expected to enjoy a private audience with the president.
Meanwhile, a second contingent of members plans to be outside with signs to show their support as the president’s motorcade rolls into Spanish Springs Town Square. Even though they won’t hear the president’s official speech inside the 1,000-seat theater, we’re betting the spotlight-loving Trump will take a second to say something to those loyal supporters who stood by him when many old-time Villages Republicans claimed his candidacy was a joke.
Here’s the bottom line: It’s nice to see the correct thing happen – especially in politics – when the everyday citizen who supports a candidate actually gets to hear him or her speak. All too often political events are tied to expensive fundraisers or big-bucks-per-plate dinners that leave the average guy with a normal-size wallet on the sidelines. So to see this opportunity for this group of Villagers truly proves that hard work gets noticed and can pay off in a big day.
We’re huge fans of grassroots organizations and we love nothing more than to see dedicated Villagers come together for a cause – regardless of which side of the political fence they sit on. And we think it’s wonderful to see how this group’s hard work obviously caught the attention of President Trump and clearly led to his decision to visit Florida’s Friendliest Hometown.