Joe Henderson: Donald Trump’s Tampa visit proves he won’t go away quietly
Are Trump and DeSantis even talking these days?

Donald Trump can still excite a crowd, as his Tampa visit demonstrated.

Donald Trump spoke at a rally at the Florida State Fairgrounds in Tampa a week or so before the 2016 Presidential Election. As I drove past the jammed parking lot that night, I was struck by how many people attended.

The moment was a revelation that something seismic was afoot and an “uh oh” for me. It was the first time I believed Trump actually could win. It scared me then and still does.

I had the same reaction to the ex-President’s appearance at the Turning Point USA Student Action Summit over the weekend. That event, also in Tampa, attracted young people from all over the country.

The Associated Press reported that Trump “received the rock star’s welcome he’s grown accustomed to over the seven years in which he’s reshaped the Republican Party.”

This greeting didn’t come from disgruntled seniors who caravaned from the Villages to pay homage. Those roaring their approval for Trump represent the coveted 18-to-30-something demographic both major political parties crave. And this crowd, at least, loved Trump. They connect with him.

Gov. Ron DeSantis also appeared at the same conference the day before Trump spoke. DeSantis also received an enthusiastic greeting, and that’s against the backdrop of the two men’s presidential ambitions.

A straw poll — read into it what you will — showed a marked preference for Trump over DeSantis. Trump received 78.7% support to DeSantis’ 19%.

You may wonder how anyone could support Trump after he repeatedly lied about a stolen election and incited an insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. I’m not Nostradamus, but my best guess is that they believe President Joe Biden is feeble and out of touch.

Biden has the thankless task of satisfying a fractured Democratic caucus that often seems at war with itself. The progressives believe he doesn’t hear them, and the traditional Democratic wing thinks progressives are unrealistic with their demands.

Say what you will about Trump — prosecutors might just do that — but he has Republicans speaking with one voice. Florida GOP congressional candidates even promise to finish Trump’s border wall if/when they take power after November.

Guns? No compromise.

Border security? Send ‘em back.

Taxes? Cut ‘em some more.

Abortion? Get rid of it.

Those are just a few of Trump’s greatest hits. DeSantis learned from the master and amplified many of those points in his culture war on anything he didn’t like.

So, here we are, two men who dominate the GOP by doing things their way.

I believed that Trump’s candle was about to burn out and that DeSantis would be there with a cup of water to ensure it did. I figured Trump’s legal problems and advancing age would play into DeSantis’ younger, more energetic hands.

But maybe not.

This much I do believe, however.

Once the November election is over, there will be no bigger story in politics than the Trump-DeSantis dynamic. And after last weekend in Tampa, anyone who still believes the old guy is ready to be an elder statesman role should reassess.

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.


  • Joe Corsin

    July 25, 2022 at 7:33 pm

    Vote RED for rich grifters and rich people
    Vote RED for far right propaganda to brainwash stupid people into supporting people who merely shovel money to the rich
    Vote RED for right wing religious police state
    Vote RED for slow development and low wage slavery
    Vote RED for neanderthal bioterrorists and conspiracy theorists

    • Impeach Biden

      July 25, 2022 at 8:35 pm

      “BLUE” is in charge of the WH.
      “BLUE” runs the Senate.
      “BLUE” runs Congress

      Ask yourself are you better off since Biden, Pelosi, and Schumer took over? How’s the price of fuel? How’ the price of groceries and all consumer commodities? How’s crime in your city? How’s the Southern Border doing? If you have had enough of “BLUE” incompetence get out and vote come November.

      • Joe Corsin

        July 25, 2022 at 8:45 pm

        ^ This socialist wants government intervention in the free market so that he can get cheap stuff. Not governments fault you can’t afford cheap stuff. “Go out and get a better education and a better job.” – Rick Scott 😆🖕

      • Elliott Offen

        July 25, 2022 at 9:10 pm

        ^ This socialist wants government intervention in the free market so he can afford cheap stuff! Not governments fault you can’t afford cheap stuff. “Go out and get a better education and a better job.” – Rick Scott

      • Joe Corsin

        July 25, 2022 at 9:34 pm

        ^ Socialist.. wants government intervention in the free market so that he can get cheap stuff!!!!

  • Don’t Look Up

    July 25, 2022 at 7:53 pm

    The Republican Clown Bus is as ready for Trump ….. put him in the driver’s seat!

    • Tom

      July 26, 2022 at 7:59 am

      The clown bus is at Pennsylvania ave, at WH. What a joke, and all the peeps surrounding him, all clueless. Blind leading blind.

      No worries, per Joe & Jill, tacos for all.
      Upgrade from dog food.

  • Elliott Offen

    July 25, 2022 at 8:21 pm

    Won’t go away quietly? The dude went out kicking and screaming…now politically impotent and radioactive waste! Just because he can still draw a crowd of idiots doesn’t mean he can win elections. He’s toasted!!!!

  • Yeah

    July 25, 2022 at 8:35 pm

    People want to feel safe in there own skin’s( a sense of Honor.)Not a sense of animalistic approach to ethics and suchlike alliance nation. This is a opinion

  • Tom

    July 25, 2022 at 8:48 pm

    Joe H, this loser corsin is cheap tricks.

    Joe H, past potus #45 will not be denied if he fights for nomination. Gov Ron may give him a run but if ex potus wants it he will likely get it.

    America’s Gov is the future for GOP, and middle Americans.

    • Joe Corsin

      July 25, 2022 at 9:32 pm

      And he will loose again…

  • Tom

    July 26, 2022 at 7:55 am

    Always love Dum Dem Manchurians pontificating on or about the GOP. As if they’d ever vote for them.

    As reflected above, ex potus has a very following within party, average voter. Gov Ron may be able to mount a challenge but odds on ex potus being stopped within party primary is highly unlikely. For number of reasons, the greatest being the more incompetent and badly managed Biden is, the better 45 looks. That’s not a good answer for Joe H, or other liberal advocates opposed to 45 and GOP, but reality.

    The last reason, or motivation for America’s Gov yo enter primary is from liberal Corp media, and or anti ex potus 45 haters. They just want a foil, period. DVD’s if successful, they’d turn on that individual in a second for Dem, regardless of who.

    Just like you would Joe H.

    • Joe Corsin

      July 26, 2022 at 8:13 am

      ^ Disorganized gibberish and unintelligible nonsense. Quite possibly on pills and booze!!!

  • X

    July 26, 2022 at 8:06 am

    This article is a perfect example of why people vote for Trump. Lying, delusional, self righteous propaganda.

  • Ocean Joe

    July 26, 2022 at 9:15 am

    You are CORRECT. I voted for Trump in 2016 and he is a liar, he is delusional, and he pushes self-righteous propaganda.
    Running around claiming he won an election he lost by 8 million votes and convincingly in the electoral college is about as delusional as it gets.
    Move on. Pick Desantis. He’s just as odious to folks like me, but he doesn’t seem to be a criminal.

    • Tom

      July 26, 2022 at 2:20 pm

      Good to know ocean that he doesn’t appear to be a criminal. Thanks.

      Corsin, your mind is decrepit ( look up) as you are a scurrilous bastard.
      Go hang with degenerate Hunter. What a corrupt and trailer park family.

      It’s amazing how all you pathetic Manchurians can only talk bout 45.
      Are you aware that Biden Harris, Dr. Jill, mayor Pete, Granholm and other clients that show incompetents are in power.

      Trump, Trump, and Trump.
      10% inflation.
      Recession, destroyed economy,
      Manchurians losers!

      Corsin, you are re do Alex. Total head case, with major physiological issues. Profile not good corsin. You can’t run with a FP legend like self.

Comments are closed.


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