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Donald Trump Works His Magic for Scott and DeSantis on Florida's Southwest Coast

November 1, 2018 - 6:00am

James Fahnestock stood in the blazing sun for more than five hours Wednesday while awaiting his first opportunity to see his hero, President Donald Trump, live and in person.

Fahnestock’s red “Make America Great Again” cap did little to protect him from the heat, but the sweltering temperatures didn’t dampen the 36-year-old Naples resident’s enthusiasm for the man who’s not on the ballot in Florida but who, indirectly, is at the top of the ticket.

“I wish I could take a bullet for him,” Fahnestock told The News Service of Florida before entering the Hertz Arena along with thousands of other Trump fans who traveled from throughout the state to Lee County to hear Trump speak in the first of two Sunshine State rallies in the days leading up to Tuesday’s elections.

“He’s the greatest thing that’s happened for America in a long time,” Fahnestock, who sells real estate, said of the president.

For Fahnestock and more than 8,000 others Wednesday night, Trump delivered, as he urged Floridians to throw their support behind Republican gubernatorial candidate Ron DeSantis and Gov. Rick Scott, who is trying to unseat Democratic U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson.

The Nov. 6 election is “one of the most important … in our entire lives, although, I will say, not as important as 2016,” he joked.

The president boasted of a litany of successes, including lowering taxes, fighting illegal immigration and taking “unprecedented action” against terrorist regimes, such as Iran.

But, pointing to a fenced-off area in the center of the arena, Trump blamed the press for failing to properly convey his achievements to the public.

“The media doesn’t want you to hear your story. It’s not my story. It’s your story,” he said, eliciting loud boos from an audience clad almost exclusively in red, white and blue.

“And that’s why 33 percent of the people in this country believe the fake news is, in fact, and, I hate to say this, in fact the enemy of the people,” Trump said. “The left-wing media doesn’t want to solve problems. They want to stoke resentment. It has to stop.”

Trump’s appearances Wednesday in Estero and Saturday in Pensacola are part of a last-minute push by the president as he visits Republican strongholds to boost enthusiasm for GOP candidates such as DeSantis and Scott, who took turns joining the president on the Hertz Arena stage.

“Under Republican leadership, America is booming, and America is thriving, and America is winning because we are finally putting America first,” Trump said.

Trump’s early backing helped DeSantis, a former congressman who quit his Washington post to focus on the gubernatorial race, win the Aug. 28 Republican primary over state Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam. The president’s rally Wednesday came as he ramped up criticism of DeSantis’ Democratic rival, Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum.

An FBI inquiry into Tallahassee government --- which Gillum maintains he is not the subject of --- has become a cornerstone of DeSantis’ campaign, prompting Trump to call the Tallahassee mayor a “stone-cold thief” who should drop out of the governor’s race.

Wednesday evening, he continued his attacks against Gillum, calling him a “radical socialist” who “wants to turn Florida into a Venezuela” and is “too extreme for the people of Florida.”

“Tallahassee is among the most corrupt cities anywhere in the United States,” Trump said. “Is this really what you want?”

Earlier in the day, U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders stumped for Gillum on college campuses in Tampa and Orlando, and former President Barack Obama is scheduled to appear with the Democratic nominee on Friday in Miami.

DeSantis slammed Gillum as a corrupt politician who is the head of a crime-ridden city, a familiar campaign trope, and vowed to work with the Trump administration “to make sure we get the resources we need to clean our water, and clean our rivers, and protect our way of life here in the state of Florida.”

“I’m the only candidate that ain’t gonna raise your taxes here in Florida,” DeSantis said. “And I’m the only guy who can credibly say I’m not under investigation for corruption by the FBI.”

As governor, DeSantis pledged to “protect our good economy, and that means we cannot raise taxes.”

“I believe Florida can boom like never before,” he said.

While praising DeSantis and Scott, Trump directed some of his harshest criticism for Democrats’ immigration policies, which he said amount to “open borders” and allowing “caravan after caravan into our country.”

He also encouraged voters to support Republicans “if you want low taxes and low crime.”

“This election is truly a choice between results and resistance,” Trump warned. “This is truly an election between greatness and gridlock.”

Trump also went on the attack against Nelson. The president, who lives part-time in Palm Beach, pointed out that he owns properties in Miami and elsewhere in Florida and is very familiar with the Sunshine State.

“I’m here a lot. I never see Sen. Nelson, ever, until six months before the election,” Trump said, calling Nelson and Gillum “a disaster.

Wednesday’s appearance with Trump was the first time Scott, who was head of a pro-Trump super PAC during the president’s campaign in 2016, has joined the president onstage for a political event this year. The two men toured parts of the Panhandle after Hurricane Michael, which made landfall Oct. 10 as a Category 4 hurricane in Mexico Beach,

Scott lauded Trump for providing federal resources to Florida following Michael and last year’s Hurricane Irma.

“There is absolutely nothing that I’ve asked from Donald Trump with regards to these two hurricanes that he hasn’t come through,” Scott said.

And the governor vowed to support the president’s agenda of protecting the nation’s borders, if sent to Washington in Nelson’s place.

“President Trump and Rick Scott, we want a secure border. We want you to be safe. The choice is clear,” Scott said. “Vote, vote, vote.”

Fahnestock’s devotion to the president was mirrored by the other fans, who bopped to the sounds of country-and-western music beneath a giant American flag while waiting for Trump to take the stage.

“I love Donald Trump and everything that he stands for, does,” gushed 63-year-old Debbie Robinson, who traveled across the state from Jupiter to attend Wednesday’s rally. “I wish he could be king.”


How Ironic, with the latest news that Stone and WikiLeaks traded e-mails with the Trump campaign prior to the election and the Democratic e-mail hack, it virtually proves collusion took place. Trump, the king of corruption and greed is calling out another candidate for being corrupt. If that is not just the height of hypocrisy. The Dems taking over the House and impeaching this lying, scumbag, piece of trash cannot happen soon enough... Bye bye 45...

nice pep rally...too funny. I get the whole uneducated, white support now... He is their champion...lmao.

So funny that the only thing left for the empty democrat party is to resort to name calling. Try having an agenda that actually means something. So denigrate Trumpians all you wish, but you may have to do so on your work break.

I really don't get the "Trump is a liar" complaint. First of all, we are talking about politicians, right? If Trump was truthful half the time it would be more truthful than any politician who has come before him. Having said that, I've caught him exaggerating which as I understand it is that is just the way they talk in New York. I find his exaggerations easy to spot and I don't take them too seriously. For the most part, I find him to be the most transparent and truthful President I've experienced in my 25 years. It is so easy to check his statements - especially those that refer to the statistically measured things he has done already for this economy and many of our social institutions such as the VA. So, as I said, he doesn't lie. You may not like what he is saying and doing but he doesn't hide what he has done in his past - good and bad and he doesn't lie about what he is doing and plans to do with the rest of his Presidency. So far, he is doing everything we elected him to do. Now, that is something really unseen by the American Public in our lifetime. I can't see anything to get so hyped up over, do you? Oh, and since when has wanting more jobs for our citizens considered "far right". When has wanting to keep more of your well earned money considered "far right". I don't see anything Trump is getting done for us to be considered as "far right". In fact there are many Republicans who consider Trump not "right" enough. This is fun for debate but certainly no reason to get your blood pressure up over. Just one gals opinion.

I yearn for the day when this right wing crap is driven out by the voters.

SSN continues to act like a right wing mouth piece. Numerous anti Gillum and pro Trump posts on the front page.

Governor Scott , Please ask President Trump to direct FEMA to start picking up and hauling the trash and debris that now lines both sides of almost every neighborhood street in Lynn Haven and Panama City ! It is impeding our recovery and we hear that the trash haulers are leaving because they cannot come to an agreement on price with FEMA . I recognize that the details ( many of which us citizens are not privy to ) , but FEMA did a much better job in this regard after Katrina and Irma . I admire your leadership and may well vote for you , but we pay a lot of tax and government is supposed to help our communities when big problems come to our shores - that would include storms and caravans ! Thank you

The "Usual Negative Trolls" are aboard: See below...

Actually it's been over a year and we didn't have a Cat 5. Be patient with the clean up. You can still see the broken trees in up in Dade from Hurricane Andrew in 1994. Anonymous, I wish you could have seen the Florida I grew up in, then maybe you'd understand why some are so appalled with what Rick Scott's policies have done to our environment. And I cant understand how anyone in southwest Florida would vote for the guy after what has happened there.

Expect months, even if it's done right. Beware of respiratory illnesses resulting from the storm, trash piles, mulching operations and clearing work. Scott actually impeded our clean up. Our own county mayor, a Republican, referred to his antics as price gouging. Parts of the Florida Keys are still a mess. I know you are focused on your home, but try to save smaller trees, they may look dead but many will revive if you can stand them back up. You will need the shade. We are now going through a canal clean up program thanks to new govt grants. Try to segregate your trash piles, vegetation vs. trash. I had seawater in the house and dead fish in the yard. Power wash any concrete exposed to the salt water, and drive your vehicles braking to remove any built up rust. If you live near the coast, replant with native plants which can handle salt water. The Red Cross was amazing, bringing hot meals in and around the wreckage. My central a/c compressor sat in a foot of salt water. Shut off the power (if you have it) and rinse the exposed parts thoroughly. Remember your neighbors may suffer from PTSD, especially if they lost their homes, pets, cars, etc. and be patient. Good luck, and think about whether you really want to vote for a climate denier.

You are actually undermining the remaining credibility of the "Sunshine State News" here.

ROTFLMAO!!!! Trump Magic? Really! ……………….Sorry but only fools believe anything Trump, a serial liar to beat all liars, says anymore...………... But Please, Please keep that Trump magic up as he drives decent people from the immoral cabal of whining hatred, fear of scared pitiful people the repub party has become...…………..Even Repub Max Boot said today, don't vote for a single republican, to save the party from the far right that have taken it over...…………..And there is a certain place in hell for Evangelicals for supporting Trump, an as immoral person destroying near everything he touches as can be...…………...Nor is this new as I've watched the con artist for 30+ yrs...…... Just the last 2 yrs he has shown everyone what he is...………...You shall reap what you sow...……..See you November 6th...………….Now as the Trump economy is falling as his polices take effect, he's trying to blame it on the Dems!!………..Hit hard this election, finish them off in 2020...……….You really need to form a new center right party or 'conservatives' will just die off if they keep this BS up..

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