Former President Donald Trump has re-emerged on the political scene with recent campaign-style rallies and a series of public appearances scheduled in the coming months.
Ahead of a rally in Sarasota, Florida, on Saturday, fans were reportedly so anxious that they arrived at the venue a day in advance.
According to the Washington Examiner, dozens of people were camping in tents and parked vehicles at the Sarasota Fairgrounds in anticipation of Trump’s arrival.
“Read the room”
Although Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis reportedly asked Trump to call off the rally in light of a deadly building collapse near Miami, the former president refused the request.
One source close to DeSantis said that his office “made a direct plea” to Trump’s team to “read the room” and postpone the planned appearance.
“The governor is getting tested here as to how far he’s going to be pushed before he breaks ranks with President Trump,” the individual added. “And he has to be very careful because this is Trump country. The base loves the president. But they equally love Ron. It’s a showdown going on right now.”
Both DeSantis and Trump have publicly denied any drama is playing out behind the scenes.
“Nobody wants to cancel,” one Trump associate told the Examiner.
“Focusing on his duties”
DeSantis press secretary Christina Pushaw dismissed rumors of a power struggle, asserting: “Gov. DeSantis is focusing on his duties as governor and the tragedy in Surfside, and has never suggested or requested that events planned in different parts of Florida — from the Stanley Cup Finals to President Trump’s rally — should be canceled. He wants all Floridians to enjoy the holiday weekend and celebrate Independence Day however they choose, while keeping the Surfside families and first responders in their prayers.”
In any case, the situation has clearly not dampened the excitement of Trump supporters looking forward to his Independence Day weekend rally.
Last month, “thousands” of attendees showed up for a Trump event in Ohio, which caused traffic backups in the area and long lines of people waiting to enter the venue. He has endorsed congressional candidate Max Miller in a bid to unseat Rep. Anthony Gonzalez (R-OH), who was among a handful of House Republicans to vote for impeachment following the Jan. 6 riot on Capitol Hill.
Trump has announced other endorsements ahead of next year’s midterm elections and the reaction to his first post-White House rallies shows that his popularity among supporters remains high.