Excitement is continuing to build – especially among members of the fast-growing Villagers for Trump club – as President Trump’s visit to the community nears.
The president is scheduled to speak to an invitation-only audience at the Sharon L. Morse Performing Arts Center on Thursday at 1:30 p.m. The visit originally was supposed to take place in August, but it was postponed after mass shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, left 31 people dead and more than 50 wounded.
Trump is slated to discuss Medicare – a subject Villagers hold dearly – and is expected to sign an executive order regarding the program while at The Sharon. He also is expected to hold a private Medicare meeting with 10 members of Villagers for Trump, the grassroots organization that formed last year and clearly has become the choice among Republicans hoping to get involved in GOP politics.
When announcing Trump’s visit, the White House released a statement saying that nine in 10 seniors have a positive view of the quality of their healthcare and coverage under Medicare. It also said the president and his administration have worked to provide seniors with high-quality, affordable care through Medicare and improved options through Medicare Advantage, a type of coverage that pays medical providers to keep patients well rather than the traditional fee-for-service model that treats them when they’re sick.
“These efforts complement the President’s work to improve America’s healthcare system, such as lowering drug prices, expanding access to affordable healthcare coverage options for those left behind by Obamacare, and improving care for Americans suffering from conditions like HIV/AIDS and kidney disease,” the release said.
In August, shortly after Trump’s visit was postponed, Villagers for Trump Founder David Gee said he was looking forward to hearing the president speak about his plans to improve Medicare and the processes and benefits associated with the program.
“Pay for it through the elimination of waste and fraud, that’s what we’re hearing,” Gee said. “That would be a good thing. I don’t care what side of the aisle we’re on, I think we all would like to see that happen.”
On Monday, Gee said his phone has continued to ring constantly as Villagers, area residents and even those from outside the community are seeking ways to hear Trump speak. He said Villagers for Trump now boasts more than 2,100 members, having added about 256 new people to the roster in the last two days alone. And he said there’s no doubt that the president’s upcoming visit largely responsible for the increase.
Gee said the club continues to hold out hope that Trump might make a surprise appearance at their second annual Trump Day Dinner, which has been planned for Thursday night for quite some time. The guest speaker at that sold-out event will be actor Stephen Baldwin, a well-known supporter of the Trump administration.
Gee said Baldwin recently talked to the president about Villagers for Trump and told him about all the things the group does to support him.
Gee said that support will be quite evident on Thursday, as close to 100 club members are planning to attend the event. He said another group also will parade their Trump-themed golf carts around Spanish Springs Town Square so the president can see firsthand the support he enjoys in Florida’s Friendliest Hometown.
Trump’s visit Thursday will mark his first in Central Florida since he kicked off his re-election campaign in June at the Amway Center in Orlando – an event attended by several Villagers for Trump members. Air Force One is expected to land at Ocala International Airport on Thursday morning before the president makes The Villages for his speech. And he is rumored to be attending a high-dollar fundraiser in Ocala after his visit to The Villages.