Joe Henderson: Trump headed to familiar ground in Tampa again
He may not be on the ballot, but Donald Trump is on voter's minds everywhere. (Image via Getty)

GOP Presidential Candidate Donald Trump Holds Campaign Rally In Tampa, Florida

When Donald Trump appears at the Florida State Fairgrounds in Tampa for a rally Tuesday night, he will be on familiar ground.

The president is no stranger to Tampa.

He has visited this city multiple times, both as a candidate and now as president. Even when he isn’t in Tampa, the city’s connections to him run deep. In March, a $250,000-per-plate fundraiser for the president was held at the California home of Ed Glazer, whose family owns the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

The state fairgrounds venue is where he appeared just a few days before his victory over Hillary Clinton in the 2016 election. I didn’t attend that rally, but I drove past the fairgrounds that night and was taken by the amount of traffic and packed parking lot.

The polls said Clinton was going to win the election.

Something about that night told me they might be wrong.

I did attend a Trump rally at the University of South Florida before he was the official nominee of the Republican Party. Again, the enthusiasm for the candidate was unmistakable.

I remember a few things about that night besides the way his true believers responded to his message.

He was about an hour late getting started. One memory was how the media was kept basically in a holding area for the entire evening. We couldn’t even leave to use the restroom, even though one was located just a few feet from the entrance to the media area.

Security, they told us.

Well, OK. But it also seemed like a convenient way to keep the then-candidate’s favorite target, those annoying truth-seekers called the media, in an area where he could lob verbal grenades in our direction. And he did.

He wanted people to boo us. He was successful.

I imagine it will be more of the same Tuesday, except that the president will be able to brag about a robust economy. The nation’s gross domestic product grew at 4.1 percent in the second quarter. That’s the economy’s best performance in a decade.

That should make Democrats very nervous.

Trump may be crude, rude, truth-challenged, conflicted, compromised and potentially under indictment. But, damn, the economy is busting tail, and people vote with their pocketbooks.

He will be bragging about the latter part of that statement Tuesday, as you would expect.

He’ll call the other stuff fake, as you also would expect.

He also will be explaining to the crowd that they should vote for Ron DeSantis for Governor in the August primary, which is not good news for Adam Putnam. It actually has been kind of sad to watch Putnam invoke Trump’s name in his ads while all the while the president has been endorsing his opponent.

And then the president will be gone until he returns again — on which you can count. Florida is a vital state politically and always will be.

It will be a lot different landscape here in November than it is now, though.

Democrats are more focused than they have been in years. They have a real shot at winning the Governor’s mansion.

Gun violence will be a major issue in November. The Parkland kids aren’t going away.

Education. Healthcare. Traffic.

Income inequality. Climate change (or, as we like to call it here, science).

None of those problems will be solved before the November midterms.

So, while Tuesday’s rally will be a party for Republicans and should be quite a show, those other issues aren’t fake news. Candidate Trump bragged that he alone could fix them.

Well, any time now …

Joe Henderson

I have a 45-year career in newspapers, including nearly 42 years at The Tampa Tribune. Florida is wacky, wonderful, unpredictable and a national force. It's a treat to have a front-row seat for it all.


3 comments

  • Mira Dean

    July 30, 2018 at 9:43 am

    When will Dems and people in general finally figure out that when you reward illegal immigration with jobs, amnesty, drivers licenses, discounts for college tuition, scholarships encourages MORE illegal entry.. Illegal immigration negativity effects our economy from employment to use public services. Just debating this in congress is costing taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars….. thank the parents.

    I will vote this election for candidates who prioritize citizens over illegal aliens, those who oppose sanctuary cities, amnesty and taxpayer funded in state college tuition discounts for illegals. That means NO Democrats like liberal BILL NELSON and Elizabeth Warren clone GWEN GRAHAM, who is running for Governor. Both support sanctuary cities, amnesty, taxpayer funded College tuition discounts for illegal aliens. Bill Nelson will have to stand by his liberal voting record.

    If your an illegal alien, or support open borders Bill Nelson and Gewn Graham are your candidates.

    Just a few examples of the more outrageous costs associated with illegal immigration, we will pass this burden on to our children and grand children as has been passed on to us

    *The cost of educating illegal aliens children is staggering. From K-12 it costs taxpayers $122,000 for EACH illegal alien student. This does not include the billions spent on bilingual education for illegal aliens.

    *Currently numerous city, and state officials are appropriating millions of taxpayer dollarsfor legal fees to to file law suits and in defense of illegal aliens being deported and to sue our own Government..

    *2016 illegal aliens sent home $62 BILLION in remittances back to their countries of origin. This is why Mexico is getting involved in our politics.

    *30% percent of all Federal Prison inmates are illegal aliens. Does not include local jails and State Prisons. At $33,274 per year expense per inmate in Federal Prison U do the math. ( The Vera Institute )

    *$3Million Dollars a DAY is spent to incarcerate illegal aliens, I repeat 3 MILLION a DAY to process Illegals in the Criminal justice system.

    *$2.2Billion dollars a year is spent on is spent on food assistance programs such as SNAP (food stamps) WIC, & free school lunches.

    * Taxpayer funded in state tuition college discounts for illegal aliens cost taxpayers over a billion dollars annually.

    https://www.fairus.org/issue/publications-resources/fiscal-burden-illegal-immigration-united-states-taxpayers

    I wonder why no protests for American citizens victimized by illegal aliens?

    http://www.ojjpac.org/memorial.asp
    http://www.illegalaliencrimereport.com/category/murder/

  • Mira Dean

    July 30, 2018 at 9:59 am

    When will Dems and people in general finally figure out that when you reward illegal immigration with jobs, amnesty, drivers licenses, discounts for college tuition, scholarships encourages MORE illegal entry.. Illegal immigration negativity effects our economy from employment to use public services. Just debating this in congress is costing taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars….. thank the parents.

    I will vote this election for candidates who prioritize citizens over illegal aliens, those who oppose sanctuary cities, amnesty and taxpayer funded in state college tuition discounts for illegals. That means NO Democrats like liberal BILL NELSON and Elizabeth Warren clone GWEN GRAHAM, who is running for Governor. Both support sanctuary cities, amnesty, taxpayer funded College tuition discounts for illegal aliens. Bill Nelson will have to stand by his liberal voting record.

    If your an illegal alien, or support open borders Bill Nelson and Gewn Graham are your candidates.

    Just a few examples of the more outrageous costs associated with illegal immigration, we will pass this burden on to our children and grand children as has been passed on to us

    *The cost of educating illegal aliens children is staggering. From K-12 it costs taxpayers $122,000 for EACH illegal alien student. This does not include the billions spent on bilingual education for illegal aliens.

    *Currently numerous city, and state officials are appropriating millions of taxpayer dollarsfor legal fees to to file law suits and in defense of illegal aliens being deported and to sue our own Government..

    *2016 illegal aliens sent home $62 BILLION in remittances back to their countries of origin. This is why Mexico is getting involved in our politics.

    *30% percent of all Federal Prison inmates are illegal aliens. Does not include local jails and State Prisons. At $33,274 per year expense per inmate in Federal Prison U do the math. ( The Vera Institute )

    *$3Million Dollars a DAY is spent to incarcerate illegal aliens, I repeat 3 MILLION a DAY to process Illegals in the Criminal justice system.

    *$2.2Billion dollars a year is spent on is spent on food assistance programs such as SNAP (food stamps) WIC, & free school lunches.

    * Taxpayer funded in state tuition college discounts for illegal aliens cost taxpayers over a billion dollars annually.

  • Tim Curtis

    July 30, 2018 at 4:55 pm

    A few respond see to lil Joey’s column

    “annoying truth seekers” – that’s just laughable – especially about lil Joey

    “true believers” – we’re not talking about the “messiah” Obama here – Trump supporters know what they voted for and he’s delivering – very unlike the truth-challenged-Obama “if you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor _ Remember Obama’s 4 Pinochios??? Or how about when your Messiah Obama told us “those jobs aren’t coming back.”

    “crude, rude, truth-challenged, conflicted, compromised and potentially under indictment.” – were you referring to Hillary Clinton????? LOL – Because that’s where that description is provably more applicable.

    Joey – you wanna know you and others in the media have such a poor reputation – it’s because you’ve earned it! And you continue to do so.

Comments are closed.


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