More than 250 fans of President Trump made quite a splash Monday morning during a sign-waving rally in The Villages.
The participants – most of them members of the popular grassroots Villagers for Trump group – came from throughout the mega-retirement community to take part in the event at the busy intersection of Morse Boulevard and County Road 466. They took up all four corners as they waved signs and flags and constantly chanted, “Four more years!”
In return, the Trump backers received waves, cheers, thumbs-up and plenty of horn honks from passing motorists. In fact, with the exception of just a few vocal supporters of Democratic presidential hopeful Joe Biden, the vast majority clearly were fans of the president, who staged a rally in The Villages last month that drew thousands to the polo fields.
Sue Cianci, a Village of Charlotte resident who serves as co-director of action and mobility for Villagers for Trump, said she wasn’t surprised at the huge turnout, which came on the heels of a recent parade that drew 1,250 golf carts and crowds of Trump supporters.
“We are here to show our support for President Donald J. Trump,” Cianci said. “We hope and pray that he’ll be with us for the next four years. Four more years!”
Beth Espinoza, of the Village of Mallory Square, offered her own thoughts on the president serving a second term.
“I love it,” she said. “I want 20 more years of Trump!”
Donna Hoak, who lives in the Village of Liberty Park and also serves as co-director of action and mobility, said she was thrilled to see the largest turnout yet for a sign-waving rally, which includes one held in June 2019 on Trump’s birthday, which happens to be Flag Day.
“It’s wonderful,” Hoak said. It just shows how much support there is in The Villages for President Trump.”
Hoak said she was also thrilled to learn that 78 percent of voters in Sumter County – the majority of which are Republicans – already had cast their ballots. She said that should send a clear message to all voters.
“I think it says we’re going to win Florida,” she said, referring to the president’s late-night rally in South Florida that drew a huge crowd as a sign of support across the Sunshine State.
For Village of Caroline resident Vicki Liccardi and her dog, Waldo, Monday’s rally was a chance to share a message.
“He’s going to get re-elected,” she said. “I’m letting everybody know with “Triumph 2020,” she added, referring to an altered Trump campaign sign she was proudly displaying.
Village of Largo resident Carol Kalmer said she expects many registered Democrats to vote for Trump and a victory should be just around the corner.
“I think he’ll win in a landslide – if there’s not any cheating going on,” she said.
Debbie Parsons, Village of Sanibel, agreed.
“We’ve got to get Trump in,” she said. “If he doesn’t get it, it’s fixed.”
Villager Maureen Sullivan was busy shaking a Biden campaign sign she’d altered to read “Harris-Biden.”
“We’re here to support Trump. We love him and he’s going to keep America great,” she said. “We don’t want socialism and we don’t want communism, definitely.”
Sullivan said she feels good about the election and believes Trump will emerge victorious.
“Look at the rallies, thousands and thousands of people there,” she said. “I just have a great feeling. I pray every day for him and I pray for our country.”
Sullivan said she’s surrounded by Democrats in the Village of Amelia, including a couple from Washington who turn their heads when they see her. But she quickly added that she has no problem showing her true colors despite such behavior from her neighbors.
“I have a Trump flag and I’ve got a Trump sign in every window of my house,” she said. “So do you think I’m a little bit for Trump?” she asked with a grin.
Rick Welling, of the Village of Hemingway, said he attended Monday’s rally because like many Americans, he wants to protect freedom. He also offered a quick answer to those who support Biden in The Villages.
“I didn’t know there were Democrats here,” he said with a smile. “Our neighborhood is full of Trump signs.”
Joe Mendes also attended Monday’s rally but he sat in his Trump-sign-covered pickup truck in front of the Sumter County Sheriff’s Annex office. The former Navy Seabee said he served in Korea and he believes in Trump’s leadership ability.
“I’m just here to support our president,” he said. “I was in Korea and I fought for my country and I just hate to see it go to heck in a handbag.”
David Gee, founder of Villagers for Trump, said he was very encouraged by the turnout and response to the two-hour rally.
“Our area will put the president over the top in Florida,” he said. “Count on it! Dems, don’t waste your time Tuesday.”