Mixed reception to talk of Trump inaugural rally in Florida


Reports that President Trump is mulling a rival rally in Florida to split screen Joe Biden’s inauguration on Jan. 20 drew mixed feelings from the Trump faithful and a rebuke from Democrats on Monday.

Media reports on Sunday again cited sources who said the president is considering a rally, presumably in his adopted home state, to announce he intends a comeback presidential campaign in 2024. That event would take place on Jan. 20, at least in part to draw attention away from the swearing-in ceremony for President-elect Joe Biden.

In June 2019, Trump formally kicked off his 2020 reelection bid at a rally in downtown Orlando. Four years earlier, he had announced his 2016 presidential candidacy at Trump Tower in Manhattan.

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State Republican Party chair Joe Gruters said Monday has has “not heard any specifics” about an Inauguration Day Trump event. But he said he would welcome one if the president moves forward.

Supporters of President Donald Trump listen to him speak during a campaign rally at Richard B. Russell Airport, Sunday, Nov. 1, 2020, in Rome, Ga. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
Supporters of President Donald Trump listen to him speak during a campaign rally at Richard B. Russell Airport, Sunday, Nov. 1, 2020, in Rome, Ga. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

“I have not heard any specifics but Florida would welcome our home state president anytime,” Gruters said. “It’s obvious based on the results Florida produced that people love him here … so it makes perfect sense if he does decide to have one here.”

But U.S. Rep. Lois Frankel, a West Palm Beach Democrat, said a countering public event by the outgoing president would be “rude, disrespectful and embarrassing.”

“The inauguration of a new president should signify the peaceful transition of one administration to another,” said Frankel, whose district includes Mar-a-Lago. “A Donald Trump-led counter rally on that day would be rude, disrespectful, and embarrassing.”

Frankel said Biden’s inauguration requires the nation’s full attention, particularly given the national emergencies presented by the coronavirus pandemic and the economic crisis.

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“With the COVID-19 pandemic and economic crisis in full force, our new president, Joe Biden, will need to rally our country and the world like never before,” Frankel said. “A Trump political event around the inauguration would send the wrong message to the American people, as well to our allies and enemies, jeopardizing our domestic and national security.”

Willie Guardiola, who organizes pro-Trump street shows of support throughout Palm Beach County, said he has heard Trump might be planning a Florida event. But Guardiola said the focus right now must remain on continued challenges to the 2020 election results.

“Why is he planning a rally when he won the election?” Guardiola said. “I’m sticking to my guns that Trump is going to get four more years. I can’t relate to another rally, I can’t promote another rally, because we have to do first things first. I am a true believer that fraud took place in a lot of these swing states and it’s going to go to the Supreme Court.”

On Tuesday, states will submit the lists of electors who will cast votes on behalf of their states’ electorates next week in the Electoral College. That tally will take place Dec. 14.

Biden has received more than the required 270 electoral votes among the states that have already certified their election results. Biden won the 2020 election with 306 electoral votes to 232 for Trump. Biden carried the popular vote by just over 7 million votes.

Trump, however, continues to demand that swing state officials, particularly in Georgia, overrule the will of voters by abrogating the Nov. 3 voting results and instead appoint electors who will vote for him.

Reporting from The USA TODAY Network was used in this story.

This article originally appeared on Palm Beach Post: Mixed reception in Florida to talk of rival Trump inauguration rally





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