Emotions ran raw, insults were hurled back and forth at least one fight almost broke out between Republicans and Democrats during a pro-Trump golf cart parade late Sunday afternoon.
Villagers for Trump staged the rally that started at Barnes & Noble and made its way through Lake Sumter Landing multiple times before heading to Spanish Springs Town Square. While much of the route saw a peaceful parade, it was a much different story in Lake Sumter Landing in front of Panera Bread.
Democrats supporting Joe Biden had set up on both sides of the roadway and name-calling went back and forth as golf carts decorated with Trump signs drove by. Democrat Sharon Sandler, of the Village of Buttonwood, called many of those Trump supporters Nazi lovers, which didn’t set well with one resident who slammed on his brakes and jumped out of his golf cart to confront her.
After words went back and forth, Sandler stood in front of the golf cart and the driver started to hit the gas as his wife and Sandler yelled insults back and forth. At that point, several people went to get a nearby Sumter County sheriff’s deputy and fellow Democrat Katie Hiland, of the Village of LaBelle, pulled Sandler away as the golf cart sped away.
Shortly after the incident, Sandler returned to calling the members of Villagers for Trump and Trump Team 2020 Florida members Nazi lovers and using expletives as they drove past. She said she came out to show her disgust with the president and everyone who takes part in pro-Trump organizations.
“This is a brain-washed cult here and our country is going down the drain,” she said. “We have a pervert, a lying piece of garbage for president, and we need to get rid of him.”
“I can’t take another four years of Trump,” she said, while loudly shouting at parade participants to keep moving. “With everything that’s gone on the past four years, I just can’t take it anymore.”
Those sentiments didn’t sit well with several Villagers for Trump members who decorated their golf carts with patriotic colors and signs and came out to support the president on his 74th birthday, as well as show their respect for Flag Day, law enforcement officers and first responders.
Sandra Bagby, of the Village of St. James, said she came out Sunday afternoon to show her support for law enforcement officers across the country. She said her grandson, Tyler Schmieg, is a police officer with the St. Louis Police Department and she’s upset about calls across the country to defund police departments after the death of George Floyd while in police custody in Minneapolis.
“That’s the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard,” he said. “I have been taking cookies down to the police department all week and they say, ‘thank you so much.’ No one is showing appreciation to them and that is really is what motivated me.”
Bagby said she wonders what people who desperately need a law enforcement officer would do if departments were abolished.
“People who have marriage problems, you call and you say, ‘We’re not getting along and he’s pushing me,’” she said. “Who do you call? The police.”
Annette Belcher, of the Village of Monarch Grove, said she is a huge fan of Trump and hopes he gets elected for another four years. She spent a few minutes Sunday confronting well-known Trump protester Ed McGinty, who was holding up a sign calling Trump “white trash.”
“I think he is a jerk,” she said. “But everybody has his right.”
Meanwhile, Susan Kelly, of the Village of Buttonwood, said her reasons for attending the rally really were quite simple.”
“I’m supporting our president and I’m supporting our blue and I’m supporting America and the American flag,” she said.
Jeanne Stax, of the Village of St. Charles, agreed, adding that it’s important to keep America great.
“We’re losing it very quickly, I’m afraid,” said the retired state representative from Connecticut, who added that she cries when she sees the turmoil and violent rioting that’s going on across the country.
“My heart aches,” she said. “I don’t see the same America we used to have.”
Stax offered up an idea that she said could return some of the patriotism that’s lacking across the country, especially among the younger generations.
“We need to bring the draft back to make young people appreciate that they live in the greatest country in the world,” she said.
Her husband Bill, an Army veteran agreed.
“It was after we did away with the draft over the next one or two decades that young people lost their appreciation for the great country that they live in,” he said. “When you serve in the military, you have a greater respect for different people because you all are in there working together for the same mission.”
Village of Fenney residents Bill and Marti Briggs came out to show their support decked out in patriotic attire. They couldn’t bring their golf cart because Fenney doesn’t connect to the main older portion of the mega-retirement community. But that didn’t stop them from taking part and showing their support for the president.
“I’ve never been to anything like this and I went to a fundraising dinner with Trump,” Bill said. “This is more exciting than anything I’ve ever seen. We need four more years of Donald Trump to finish what he started.”
Bill said he thinks the president has handled his first term in office quite well.
“Look at the stock market, employment, every minority is better off in employment,” he said. “The only answer to all of the problems we have in the world is term limits on Congress and more jobs.”
Marti agreed but added that two more thing needs to happen in the November election.
“We’ve got to take back the House,” she said. “And we’ve got to get rid of Pelosi.”
Sunday’s parade included more than 650 golf carts, which is a record for Villagers for Trump parades. It marked the second year in a row club members have honored the president on his birthday and Flag Day. Last year, they gathered at the intersection of Morse Boulevard and County Road 466 for a sign-waving rally that included about 40 participants.