Trump and Vice President Mike Pence are making their 2020 candidacy official with a rally expected to pack a 20,000-seat arena, with thousands more outside.
President Donald Trump will announce his re-election campaign Tuesday in Orlando, Florida, where he will be greeted by a tailgate party as well as protesters and the orange “Baby Trump” balloon loved by his critics.
Trump and Vice President Mike Pence are making their 2020 candidacy official with a rally expected to pack a 20,000-seat arena, with thousands more outside. Supporters began lining up outside the Amway Center arena a day early, local news outlets said Monday.
“The Fake News doesn’t report it, but Republican enthusiasm is at an all time high,” Trump tweeted Tuesday morning. “Look what is going on in Orlando, Florida, right now! People have never seen anything like it (unless you play a guitar). Going to be wild – See you later!”
Trump campaign spokesman Marc Lotter said Tuesday morning that the campaign had set up an “outdoor festival area” that will feature live bands before the event.
Trump’s remarks will focus on “promises made, promises kept,” Lotter said, during an interview on CNN, adding that “the president will talk not only [about] what he’s done but what he hopes to do.”
Demonstrators may include undocumented immigrants who had worked at Trump golf resorts, as well as Hispanic advocacy groups that oppose Trump’s immigration policies and treatment of Puerto Ricans, who are U.S. citizens. Organizers of a Trump protest said they had raised enough money to bring the “Baby Trump” balloon, depicting the president as an angry diapered baby with a cellphone, to downtown Orlando.
Florida is a must-win state for Trump next year, with its 29 electoral votes becoming especially important if he loses Pennsylvania or another of the more populous states that helped him win in 2016. Trump carried Florida, where he has a vacation home and three golf resorts, by a little more than one percentage point in 2016.
A Florida Atlantic University poll last month showed Trump statistically tied with former vice president Joe Biden, his top-polling Democratic challenger, in a theoretical matchup. The same poll of Florida voters showed that 47 percent approved of Trump’s job performance, while 44 percent disapproved. That is a reversal from a FAU poll in February, in which 46 percent disapproved and 41 percent approved.
Republicans say Democratic losses in Florida in the 2018 elections for governor and Senate point to a consolidation of GOP support in the state. Trump is looking to expand on his victory in 2016 in the suburban and semirural counties in the middle of the state, around Orlando and Tampa. The appeal to older, white voters in that area helps explain Trump’s choice of venue, despite an influx to the Orlando area of tens of thousands of Democratic-leaning Puerto Ricans fleeing damage from Hurricane Maria in 2017. It is not clear how many displaced Puerto Ricans might vote in Florida.
Trump also plans to raise money in the state this week, with a luncheon Wednesday at his golf resort near Miami.