A day after a massive caravan of Donald Trump supporters rolled across Miami-Dade County, Trump’s eldest son brought the president’s campaign back to Miami for a “Fighters Against Socialism” bus-tour stop intended to rally Trump’s Hispanic supporters.
The event at the Wings Over Miami Museum at the Tamiami Airport on Sunday evening was headlined by Donald Trump Jr., U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, UFC fighter Jorge Masvidal, and U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz, who railed against Democratic candidate Joe Biden, casting an image of Democrats as radical leftists who cannot stand against regimes in Venezuela, Cuba and China.
“If these systems are so wonderful, why are there no people who’ve lived under them who have vouched for them?” said Trump Jr. from the stage, standing next to a large backdrop with two red boxing gloves that read “Fighters Against Socialism.”
“Joe Biden is the camouflage to get the radical left in,” said Trump Jr., shifting between topics, from NAFTA to foreign policy in China. “You’re sure as hell not a moderate adopting Bernie Sanders’ platform. ... It’s not your parents’ Democrat Party, it’s not your grandparents’ Democrat Party. ... It’s a Trojan horse, that’s all it is.”
The bus tour, which also made stops in Tampa, Orlando and Coconut Creek, is part of an effort to blanket Florida with appearances from Trump and his surrogates after the president’s COVID-19 diagnosis knocked the campaign off the trail. The appearance also comes a day before Trump is set to get back on the road at a Sanford airport rally, one of several appearances from Trump expected in the battleground state this week.
The Florida events also come as polls show Trump’s support among seniors in the state (who make up a significant slice of his base of supporters) could be dwindling just weeks before Election Day. This makes his support among Hispanics in Miami-Dade all the more critical to carry the state that he won by almost 113,000 votes in 2016.
“The president is doing very well in Florida, because of you,” argued Rubio. “Let’s be frank, it’s not easy, it’s a fight. These guys are going to do everything they can to win. ... There can be no one who can forget to vote, not this year, not this time. We can’t afford it.”
Several hundred Trump supporters, most of whom wore masks, gathered at the rally-style event outside the hangar at the Wings Over Miami Museum. Food trucks were parked outside and inside, some people danced along to Trump-themed salsa music by the Miami-based band Los 3 de La Habana.
Blas Viera, a 46-year-old Trump supporter, said he lost his job over the summer as his computer-hardware company sought to make cuts during the coronavirus pandemic. But he said he thought electing Trump would prevent socialist policies from being passed in the U.S.
“I think there’s a lot of Trump supporters, but I think most people are afraid to come out, and actually put out their flags and put their signs out,” said Viera. “Miami’s a difficult place.”
The event also drew members of the Venezuelan American Republicans Alliance, a conservative political group based in Miami. Carolina Tejera, a Venezuelan-American actress who is best known for her role in the famous telenovela “Gata Salvaje” said Trump was the candidate standing against policies that ruined her country.
“I see a lot of people who are undecided, lost, who don’t like Trump for his personality, but they’re not seeing the facts,” said Tejera. “We trust him.”
Trump held a tele-rally in Florida to drive his supporters on Sunday ahead of the event, and said Biden “championed the global betrayal of Florida,” and inaccurately claimed Biden supports “mass amnesty” for immigrants
“We all have a heart but the problem with that is everybody is going to come pouring into our country and we now have it down to record lows,” he said.
Ahead of the Florida-wide stops, the Biden campaign held a call with supporters and surrogates throughout the state who in turn cast Trump as a president who resembled authoritarian policies and behavior.
“If you look at the history of the world, it is always people like Donald Trump who have brought dictatorial regimes upon countries,” said former Florida Rep. JC Planas. “That is why this is one of the most important elections in the history of the United States, certainly, the most important election of my lifetime.”
Miami Herald Staff Writer David Smiley contributed to this report.