President Donald Trump roared into The Villages late Friday afternoon aboard Marine One to a rousing crowd decked out in red, white and blue attire.
Cheers rang out across the polo fields shortly after 4:30 p.m. as the president’s helicopter circled the complex and landed just outside the confines of the cheering crowd.
Trump then walked to the stage and quickly made it clear he was happy to be in Florida’s Friendliest Hometown, pledging that he’s even going to vote here sometime Saturday.
“How many people have voted for President Trump?” he asked, as the crowd erupted into loud cheering.
“How many people here have voted for Sleepy Joe Biden?” he asked, as boos rang out among the thousands in attendance.
Trump wasted no time in claiming victory in Thursday night’s debate, saying he’s watching out for the country and The Villages.
“I’m not a politician,” he said. “I don’t always play by the rules of the Washington establishment because I was elected to fight for you and I’ve fought for you harder than any president has ever fought for anybody.”
Trump promised Villagers the COVID-19 pandemic will soon come to an end, the same medications he received when he had the virus will be available to whomever needs them, vaccines are coming and he won’t forget that China is responsible for the crisis. He said he had signed a great trade deal with China before the pandemic but now it doesn’t mean much to him.
The president, who signed a pact to protect Medicare in The Villages in October 2019, also promised that Americans would soon see lower drug prices. He said he’s authorized Gov. Ron DeSantis to travel to Canada to purchase drugs that can be sold at lower prices to Floridians.
Not surprisingly, Trump constantly brought up Thursday night’s debate, pointing out that at one point Biden said he was in favor of eventually phasing out the oil industry for cleaner forms of energy. Trump questioned him on that statement during the debate before moderator Kristen Welker steered Trump and Biden to another topic.
“Joe Biden admitted he wanted to abolish the oil industry,” he said, pointing out such an action could devastate states like Texas, Pennsylvania, Oklahoma and Ohio. “This morning he said he didn’t mean that. He’s a corrupt politician. This guy is either really stupid or he lies.”
Trump told the crowd that if Biden wins, America will quickly become a much different place.
“The radical left will transform this country into something you won’t recognize,” he said.
He also touted his Supreme Court nominee, Amy Coney Barrett, who is expected to be confirmed by the Senate next week.
“She’s great,” Trump said. “She made them look a little foolish, didn’t she,” he said of Barrett’s recent appearance before the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Trump offered praise for Gov. Ron DeSantis and his wife, Casey, as well as former attorney general Pam Bondi, Congressman Daniel Webster and Congressman Mike Waltz.
Both DeSantis and Bondi offered their thoughts on the upcoming election before Trump arrived in The Villages.
“I feel Florida breaking for Trump,” DeSantis said of those who have already voted.
He also said it would be disastrous if Trump doesn’t win re-election.
“If we are not successful, Joe Biden will lock down this country,” he said, referring to an expected reaction to the COVID-19 pandemic. “We cannot lock this country down.”
Bondi, who serves as the co-chair of Women for Trump and received a rousing welcome from the crowd, agreed.
“This is the election of our lifetime,” she said. “President Trump is a patriot and we stand for that flag.”
Villager Ann Pelle, who attended the rally with her husband, Mike, referred to the event as “super awesome.”
“I thought the Trump rally was incredibly patriotic, a beautiful day and a lot of fun,” she said. “The crowd was highly energized and it was great to see lots of friends and neighbors there.”
Pelle said the overall meaning of being able to attend and enjoy such an event as Friday’s rally wasn’t lost on her.
“I truly love living in America, where no matter who you like or who you vote for, we have the freedom to do so,” said Pelle, who was born in Germany and adopted by an American military family and is proud that so many in her family have served.
Throughout the event, the president would single out members of the audience, including a 105-year-old veteran and a man who dressed like Trump in a Superman costume.
“Superman lives in The Villages,” he said smiling, while vowing to sell his Mar-a-Lago resort in South Florida and move to Florida’s Friendliest Hometown.
“I like that idea,” he said to a huge round of applause. “I like the people here.”
Trump closed out Friday’s rally by encouraging everyone to get out and vote.
“Proud citizens like you helped build this country,” he said. “We are returning power to you. We are going to keep on winning, winning, winning. We are one movement and there has never been a movement like this. It’s a movement of not letting these maniacs take over our country and destroy it.”
The president also jokingly referred to Villagers being willing fight for him from their golf carts, which was a reference to a Villages-News.com video that created a storm of controversy when Trump retweeted it because one of his supporters yelled out “white power.” He called Friday’s event a “stop” to say hello to so many Villagers who have supported him for so long.
“It’s a beautiful thing,” he said. “We are one people, one family and one glorious nation under God. And together, with the incredible, beautiful people of The Villages and Florida, we have made America strong again. We have made America proud again. We have made America safe again. And we will make America great again.”