In order to celebrate officially moving to Florida, President Donald J. Trump controversially visited Broward County, Florida’s most overwhelmingly Democratic district, Tues. Nov. 26 for a “homecoming” rally. The BB&T Center, which seats nearly 21,000, filled with “unprecedented” numbers, to the point where it became standing room only.
Though the sea of red hats welcomed President Trump with open arms, the rest of Broward County was not so welcoming. Walking to the stadium, several smaller groups of protestors confronted attendees, championing issues that ranged from vape flavors to impeachment. Dozens of protestors gathered across the street from the event center with Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz making an appearance.
“This is another scam,” Congresswoman Wasserman Schultz said. “It’s not surprising that he would try to fake this. He wants to get a few more rounds of golf in, because that’s what he seems to spend most of his personal time doing. Donald Trump has done nothing to call this place home.”
Once inside the rally, the “red wave” seemed to present itself more literally as the full stadium of red apparel did the wave. Many attendees lined up since the early afternoon despite the gates opening at 3 p.m. and the rally itself starting at 7 p.m. One such person was alumnus Ian Laor, who began waiting at 1 p.m. with his VIP pass. “Though I’ve attended two [rallies], this one was different because he focused more on Florida and the amazing things he and Governor Desantis are working on,” Laor said. “My most memorable moment was when he brought all the congressmen in attendance up on stage.”
While many Heritage students were enthusiastic to go, they were met by an equally enthusiastic pushback. “I asked a teacher of mine if she was going, and she said that she was not going and it was the last place you’d ever find her, in a joking manner. She proceeded to ask my classmates if they were going. Luckily, I had my friends who were going with me so they all said they were going as well so I wouldn’t be singled out by the whole class,” senior Adler Sands said.
The rally saw its first speaker around 6:50 p.m., with Trump’s reelection campaign manager Brad Parscale setting the stage for Vice President Mike Pence. Soon after, Pence himself came out and spoke to thunderous applause. “He says what he means and he means what he says,” Pence said about President Trump. A minor theme of the speeches circulated around the impeachment hearings, with Pence commenting, “They’re trying to impeach him because they know they can’t beat him,” triggering a “four more years” chant in the crowd.
Around 7:05 p.m., the building reverberated with the sound of the Marine One helicopter carrying President Trump to the rooftop of the BB&T Center. After announcing his arrival, the speakers played “Proud to be an American” as the crowd of both young and old stood up to welcome the president, bursting into a “USA” chant.
Trump began by smooth-talking the crowd, addressing spectators with, “You’re smart, you’re better-looking, you’re sharper,” in comparison to Democrats. He related to the crowd about being a normal citizen just a few years ago. “Melania, can you believe it? I’m president!”, he said.
After celebrating his accomplishments as president, referencing low unemployment and the booming economy, he moved onto denying impeachment allegations.
“[Adam Schiff] made up my statement. But [Democrats’] crimes are being revealed and their sinister plans are failing on a level no one believed possible,” he said. “Zero, that means nothing wrong. Everybody said, ‘That’s really bullsh*t.’” This prompted the crowd to burst into a chant of “bullsh*t.” This rhetoric paired well with the Trump “bullsh*t!” merch sold in the stadium.
He then pointed to the media recording right across from him and yelled “fake news” at them, leading to the crowd booing and also yelling “fake news.”
Outside of this, Trump praised Florida, its Republican leaders and their positive effects on the state. “He’s a great guy; he’s a tough guy,” Trump said about Governor Ron DeSantis.
“If I was weak-minded, I feel that I might have not gone if there was no one else going, but luckily we America-lovers think differently,” Sands said regarding peer pressure. “My favorite part was seeing the most famous and influential person in the world, and the way the entire stadium got packed to see him was crazy.”