A CNN film crew found emotions running raw Thursday morning as a Villager blasted them for interviewing the community’s most famous anti-Trump protester, passing motorists shouted plenty of expletives and a wide-eyed trolley-load of prospective homebuyers took it all in.
The CNN crew, including journalist Randi Kaye, came to The Villages to speak with Ed McGinty, the Village of Hadley resident who gained worldwide attention after Village of Amelia resident Marsha Hill posted a video in January showing her confronting him about his stance on President Trump. The crew, from New York and Miami, traveled with McGinty in his sign-covered golf cart to the intersection of Morse Boulevard and County Road 466 to see him in action – and within minutes they were being confronted by an angry resident.
“What’s going on here?” Villager David Lawrence asked Kaye, while referring to McGinty as a “lunatic.”
After Kaye explained that she was doing a story on McGinty as part of an upcoming special report, the Village of Collier resident told her she was wasting her time. He suggested she make a trip to nearby American Legion Post 347 for a real story on American heroes and then walked back to the Sumter County Annex about a block away.
Within minutes, as McGinty held up a sign calling Trump a “filthy pig,” a trolley rolled up with several prospective homebuyers onboard who were pointing at the well-known Villager while they sat at a long red light. Several motorists also drove by and called McGinty nasty names while others shouted a variety of derogatory terms and various four-letter words – all while the cable network’s cameras were rolling.
McGinty took it all in stride, going so far as to thank one motorists in an old pickup truck who rolled down his window and shouted, “Hey, (expletive deleted) you!” He added that he’s happy to be gaining so much attention for all of the Democrats who live in The Villages.
“People think there’s none of us down here,” he said. “It’s good that they know there’s a lot of us down here.”
McGinty said it was somewhat hard to believe that CNN wanted to speak with him, but he said it never would have happened if Hill hadn’t posted the video that ended up being viewed worldwide by millions of people.
“That woman did me a real big favor,” he said. “I never thought about it when she did it.”
McGinty spent quite some time with Kaye in his sign-covered golf cart and explained to the longtime journalist how much he enjoys living in The Villages.
“I think it’s a wonderful place to live and it doesn’t matter whether or not I was living here or someplace else, we’re going to have these Trump supporters and we’re going to have people who don’t like Trump,” he said. “Hopefully, when this election is over, we can come to some sort of peaceful agreement between us.”
On a separate note, McGinty said he’s hopeful both Republicans and Democrats will put aside their differences and work together on tackling COVID-19.
“The president is giving all these mixed signals about this Coronavirus being the same as the flu,” he said. “A doctor said it’s 10 times worse than the flu. That’s means if you’re talking about 20,000 people dying, maybe you’re talking about 200,000 people dying.”
McGinty also shared a story from a few days ago when agents from Homeland Security and the Secret Service showed up at his house because he said in Hill’s video that he’d like to punch Trump in the nose. He said he was at the Hadley adult pool sleeping when his wife, Mary, answered the door and saw armed agents standing on their porch.
“She called one of her girlfriends up and said, ‘Wake Ed up. There are some people here with guns and badges,’” he said. “I called her up right away and said, ‘What’s this all about?’”
McGinty, who also has been the subject of many Villages-News.com Letters to the Editor, said the agents asked him questions about his mental state, like whether or not he’d ever visited a psychiatrist. He said they also told him to refrain from making such statements going forward, which he agreed to do.