A highly controversial anti-Trump protester who traveled throughout The Villages with a sign-laden golf cart and made national headlines following a clash with a female resident ranks as the No. 8 story of the year.
Village of Hadley resident Ed McGinty, who supported Joe Biden in the presidential election, first made national headlines in January when he clashed with another resident who was upset because of his attacks on Trump. At the time, McGinty was parked in his golf cart in the grassy area by Odell Circle with signs on his golf cart that read “Trump Is A Sexual Predator,” “Trump Filthy Pig,” “Trump Compulsive Liar,” “Trump Bigot and Racist” and “Hitler And Trump Exactly Same DNA.”
The incident erupted shortly after 3:30 p.m. on Jan. 29 when Villager Marsha Hill stopped her golf cart behind McGinty’s cart and started videoing him and his signs while asking questions about his political stance. Seconds later, the discussion heated up and McGinty came out of his golf cart as the two went back and forth.
“He called me a pig!” Hill screamed as two Sumter County sheriff’s deputies arrived to speak with McGinty. “He called me a pig for no reason because I asked him why he thought the president was a sexual predator.”
Hill, of the Village of Amelia, said she was driving home when she spotted McGinty and felt the need to confront him.
“That’s blasphemy,” she said of McGinty’s signs about Trump. “You don’t say that about the president of the United States. This guy should be arrested.”
McGinty said he was partially driven to protest that day by a threatening note he found on his door that read: “Be very careful if the well being of your family is of importance.” He said he reported the threat to the sheriff’s office but notes like that wouldn’t keep him from expressing his political views.
“The people that threatened my family, they don’t scare me,” he said. “They just embolden me.”
In February, McGinty was back in the news when he was “trending” on Twitter after the article about his clash with Hill was published on Villages-News.com. The story was picked up by Orlando media and the Tampa Bay Times and then became a hot topic on Twitter, where his admirers called him everything from a “hero” to “one brave dude.”
In March, McGinty was interviewed by a CNN film crew as passing motorists shouted plenty of expletives and a wide-eyed trolley-load of prospective homebuyers took it all in. The crew, including journalist Randi Kaye, came to The Villages to speak with McGinty after Hill posted a video of the infamous argument. Kaye and company traveled with McGinty in his sign-covered golf cart to the intersection of Morse Boulevard and County Road 466 to see him in action.
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.”
In May, McGinty received another threatening letter, this time in his mailbox. It was handwritten and said, “You show your socialistic stupidity you (expletive deleted) loving Democrap! I better not c you showing your childish, ignorant signs again.”
Once again, McGinty said he wouldn’t be deterred from continuing to show his support for Biden – while also sharing his distaste for Trump and everything he stands for.
“That just fires me up,” he said. “I’m a stubborn Irishman and you don’t tell me you’re threatening me. All that does is get my Irish up.”
On June 20, McGinty called the Sumter County Sheriff’s Office for help after claiming he was attacked after a Blue Lives Matter parade came to an end in Lake Sumter Landing. He suffered scratches on his neck and his lip was swollen and bloodied.
McGinty said he was driving through the Winn-Dixie parking lot when a man he described as possibly Italian, about 5-foot-11-inches tall and heavy set, jumped out of his golf cart, grabbed him by the throat and pulled him from his golf cart, which was sporting a sign that said, “Biden Will Kick Trump’s Fat Ass.” He said he reacted by punching the man in the nose and several other men jumped in and pulled them apart.
McGinty said he reported the incident because he was afraid the other man might fabricate a story about what happened. He added that he wasn’t in fear for his safety and didn’t plan to slow down on his protests.
“This is going to rev me up,” he said. “They’re really going to have to kill me to get me to stop.”
A week later, McGinty received another threatening letter, this one unsigned and in his mailbox. The letter said the writer saw that McGinty got his “ass kicked in response to your misguided antics.” The writer said there are other “red neck Trump supporters” who will “chase you down” and “be bringing an ass-kicking with them.
“I pity your Villages neighbors having to live next to such a deranged waste of protoplasm,” the letter reads. “Hopefully, the next time you have (a) similar encounter, your opponent won’t be so gentle.”
McGinty, the subject of many Letters to the Editor sent to Villages-News.com, said that neither the writer, who he believed was a woman, nor other “Trump apes” would deter him and hundreds of others from displaying their anti-Trump signs and pro-Biden signs on their golf carts. On the day that McGinty claimed to be attacked and filed a report with the Sumter County Sheriff’s Office, the sign on the front of his golf cart read: “Biden Will Kick Trump’s Fat Ass.”
McGinty continued to travel throughout The Villages along with a small contingent of supporters to display his anti-Trump signs right up until the Nov. 3 election. He had vowed that once Biden defeated Trump, he was going to retire from political protests and just enjoying playing golf in The Villages.