Independence Day Weekend brings fireworks of a singular kind to Sarasota, with former President Donald Trump set to hold a rally on July 3.
Trump had been teasing a Tampa rally stop, but issues securing a facility clearly proved to be too much to handle.
Tampa’s loss is Sarasota’s gain, with the former President and current Florida Man giving the Sunshine State an early look at what a third presidential campaign from Trump may look like in yet another visit to the fairgrounds.
Interestingly, the Trump rally is co-branded with the Republican Party of Florida, according to the media release from the Save America PAC.
“This Save America rally is co-sponsored by the Republican Party of Florida and marks President Trump’s further support of the MAGA agenda and accomplishments of his administration.”
“We are thrilled to be hosting President Trump as he launches out on his next voyage to continue making American great,” said Sarasota’s own Joe Gruters, who chairs the RPOF. “We played an important role in his election and we want to show our support for his strong leadership as President.”
A full day of revelry is slated for attendees at the Sarasota Fairgrounds.
The “45 Fest” leads off at 2 p.m. At 5 p.m., the “preprogram speakers” offer remarks. Then, at 8, Trump “celebrates Freedom, Faith, and America.”
Fireworks of a more conventional variety follow Trump’s remarks, filling the Sarasota sky by 9 p.m.
“This is a huge win for Sarasota and the Republican Party,” said Jack Bril, acting chairman of the RPOSC. “This once again shines the spotlight on Sarasota and all we’ve accomplished here.”
Trump’s return to the rally circuit comes as speculation swirls that Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis may be the logical heir to Trumpism, rendering the septuagenarian former President obsolete.
At least one straw poll conducted this month shows DeSantis ahead of Trump. DeSantis defeated Trump in the Western Conservative Summit’s straw poll. Though the in-state Colorado Politics website suggests that the “highly unscientific” survey has done a “poor job” of predicting nominees, the poll is seen as a barometer of activist passion nonetheless.
DeSantis continues to stress that 2022 is his focus. Yet worth watching will be whether Trump embraces DeSantis or finds a way to diminish him.
“I was at the beginning of Ron. I was the first one to endorse him when he came out as a Congressman that a lot of people didn’t know. My endorsement helped him tremendously. And I know him very well. He’s a great guy,” Trump reminded a national audience in June while toying with the idea of DeSantis as a potential running mate.
“I don’t want to brag about it, but man, do I have a good record of endorsements,” Trump told a crowd in West Virginia. “In Florida, we have a great candidate, his name is Ron DeSantis, and he called me and asked whether or not I could endorse him.”
“I said, ‘Let me check it out,’ This was a few months ago. He was at three, and I gave him a nice shot, and a nice little tweet — bing bing — and he went from three to like twenty-something.”
Trump kicked off the DeSantis boomlet late in 2017, when he tweeted a pro-DeSantis message, saying he “would make a great governor of Florida.”
But speculation has been that DeSantis may have boomed too much for the former President, in which context Trump’s remarks may be worth watching for those interested in 2024 gamesmanship.