Protests follow President Trump to Florida

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Women's March in St. Petersburg, January 2017. By Seán Kinane / WMNF News.

President Donald Trump will be in Florida this weekend for the third weekend in a row, and for the third weekend in a row, there will be protests against Trump.

On Saturday the president is holding what he’s calling a “campaign rally” at the Orlando Melbourne International Airport on the east coast.

A post on the protest event page on Facebook says, “Our peaceful protest will be held in the designated “First Amendment Zone” at the corner of S. Apollo Blvd. and Airport Rd.” in Melbourne.

WMNF News interviewed one of the organizers, Sarah Wissig, a community activist in Orlando.

“This Saturday, President Trump has a scheduled visit to the Melbourne airport. When I heard that he was coming to central Florida, I thought it was really important to make sure that my voice and other Floridians’ voices were heard.

“So, we have a rally happening to coincide with it, to raise several concerns. I know that I’m not the only person who has a number of concerns with the Trump administration. Among them, first of all, the fact that while his administration is in turmoil, he’s taking the time to make, essentially, a campaign appearance or a pep-rally that seems to serve no other purpose and he’s doing this at an airport. I think this is especially egregious, as we’ve seen recently, his failed attempt at executive overreach in the form of a Muslim Travel Ban, which resulted in a number of people being unfairly detained at airports. We saw so many protests, nationwide at airports. I think it’s especially appalling and kind of ironic, that this event is taking place at an airport.

“Meanwhile, we see Republicans still trying to repeal the Affordable Care Act and this has an especially strong effect on Floridians, as 2.2 million Floridians rely on the Affordable Care Act for accessing healthcare, which is more than any other state. I happen to be one of them, so this has a personal effect on me. We’ve seen that they don’t have any replacement for the Affordable Care Act while they’re trying to repeal it. So this shows to me that they’re more concerned with politics than people. I think that’s important, that we draw attention to that and call for if they’re gonna repeal the Affordable Care Act, we need to know what the replacement is going to be.

“And then, finally, we want to call for  an independent investigation into the Trump administration’s links to Russia. I believe that [Michael] Flynn and [Paul] Manafort are enough to warrant an independent investigation taking place. When I heard this event was taking place, I reached out to a number of other community activists and organizations that I’ve worked with in the past. For Our Future is an organization that was particularly helpful in planning the logistics of this event. We’re excited to rally with other community members to have our voices heard on Saturday.”

How many people do you expect?

“We have estimated a couple hundred, at this point, but, we shall see how it turns out Saturday.”

The AP reports that Trump filed his paperwork for 2020 re-election on January 20: Inauguration Day. White House spokesperson Sean Spicer said the rally is “being run by the campaign.” Spicer and others at the White House have not responded to repeated questions about why Trump’s campaign is organizing this rally, or about who will pay for the event logistics. According to the AP, presidents regularly hold large campaign-style events to build support for their policies. Those events are often considered part of their official duties and organized by the White House. The executive director of Trump’s campaign committee also did not respond to questions.

There’s also a “Stop the Trump agenda! Sarasota rally & march” Facebook event. It starts Saturday at noon at Five Points Park – 1 Central Ave. in Sarasota.

Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.

 

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