President Trump on Friday completed an eventful trip to South Florida where he raised some $10million at a fundraiser for his re-election campaign, visited a military command headquarters to tout his administration’s war on drug cartels, and held a roundtable discussion with Venezuelan and Cuban migrants.
As Florida was gripped by a surge in cases of the coronavirus, Trump sought to reassure the nation, telling US military personnel in Doral that the country is ‘going to do very well’ in stopping the pandemic.
The president arrived at Miami International Airport at around 12:05pm on Friday. He was seen stepping off Air Force One with some of his top advisers in tow.
It was noted that Trump was not wearing a mask when he got off the plane, even though Miami-Dade County has imposed mandatory face-coverings while in public.
President Trump is seen above boarding Air Force One as it is set to depart Miami International Airport on Friday
President Trump is seen above stepping off Air Force One after his arrival at Miami International Airport on Friday
Trump’s motorcade is seen above departing Miami International Airport on Friday after the president’s arrival
Trump’s motorcade was seen in Hilsboro Beach, Florida, where he attended a fundraiser that netted some $10million for his re-election campaign
Trump’s motorcade is seen driving through the Hillsboro Beach section of South Florida on Friday
A spokesperson for Miami International Airport told the Tampa Bay Times that the president would not need to wear a mask since he would be going from the plane straight to a waiting limousine.
As Trump descended the steps, he greeted Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez, who imposed the face-covering mandate.
Gimenez, a Republican, is running for a seat in the House of Representatives. He has been endorsed by Trump.
Last week, Gimenez said he believed that Trump would adhere to the county mandate to cover his face.
‘I believe the president, like every other leader, should follow what the rules are of the locality,’ Gimenez said on July 2.
‘And so depending on the locality, if he comes to Miami-Dade I would expect that he would be wearing a mask because that’s our rules down here.
‘As the leader of Miami-Dade, I’ll be wearing a mask. You’ll see me wearing a mask all the time. You have always seen me wear the mask when it’s appropriate.
‘The message is this, you have to assume everybody has the virus. That’s why we’re asking you to wear a mask.
‘Wearing a mask is actually a symbol of respect, the respect I have for you and that you have for me, because this mask actually protects you from me and that mask protects me from you.’
Trump, who officially changed his residence from New York to Florida, rolled through the Sunshine State but did not focus his attention on the raging coronavirus pandemic.
Florida reported 93 more deaths from COVID-19 on Friday as the pandemic continues to spread. The state’s total confirmed caseload grew by another 11,433 people infected.
The rate of Florida deaths per day has reached a seven-day average of about 59, up from about 33 three weeks ago, and approaching the deadliest period in the pandemic in early May when that average briefly touched 60.
Trump arrived on Friday to the US Southern Command in Doral, where he praised the military’s efforts to curb the illicit drug trade
‘Over the last three months, American service members, joined by partner nations, have patrolled regional waters from the Caribbean Sea to the east Pacific,’ the president said on Friday during a photo-op appearance with SOUTHCOM personnel
The president spoke behind several stacks of seized narcotics at US Southern Command in Doral on Friday
‘We’re taking the fight directly to the sinister criminal cartels, and we’re showing them no mercy,’ Trump said on Friday. ‘We are doing numbers like nobody thought possible’
Soldiers are seen as President Trump discusses US counter-narcotics efforts at US Southern Command in Doral, Florida, on Friday
Coronavirus cases have surged in Florida, which reported an additional 11,433 cases on Friday, bringing the total number of cases to 244,151 across the state. More than 4,100 Floridians have died.
The state also reported a record daily high of 435 newly hospitalized people who were positive for the virus, though that partly reflects expanded routine testing for inpatients and includes those seeking hospital care for other reasons.
After Trump landed in Miami, he visited the US Southern Command in nearby Doral, where he praised the military’s efforts to intercept large drug shipments heading to the United States.
‘Over the last three months, American service members, joined by partner nations, have patrolled regional waters from the Caribbean Sea to the east Pacific,’ the president said on Friday during a photo-op appearance with SOUTHCOM personnel.
Large quantities of seized narcotics were displayed on a table nearby as the president made his remarks.
‘The United States deployed a vast arsenal of Coast Guard cutters, naval combat ships, specially armed Coast Guard helicopters – and they are real weapons; they are powerful weapons – high-tech maritime patrol aircraft, as well as roughly 1,300 additional personnel.
Later, Trump met with Cuban and Venezuelan exiles for a roundtable discussion in Doral, Florida, on Friday
The president sought to appeal to Hispanic voters during his South Florida visit. He is seen right with Cuban human rights activist Rosa Maria Paya
During the roundtable, Trump compared his opponent, Joe Biden, to Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro
‘These forces represent a 65 per cent increase in ships and a 75 per cent increase in surveillance aircraft from last year alone.
‘We’re taking the fight directly to the sinister criminal cartels, and we’re showing them no mercy. We are doing numbers like nobody thought possible.
‘Even the Admiral, he would say that he would have never thought this was going to happen to the extent that it’s happened.
‘Our message is clear: You will not threaten our citizens, you will not poison our children, and you will not infiltrate our borders.
‘We will find you, we will stop you, and we will put everybody that we find behind bars, if you’re lucky.’
At his next stop, Trump traveled to the Iglesia Doral Jesus Worship Center to meet with Venezuelan and Cuban exiles.
At his Doral event with Venezuelan expatriates, Trump courted a segment of Florida’s diverse Hispanic population by sharpening an emerging attack line: His opponent, Joe Biden, might not be a socialist, but he is running past his expiration date and controlled by an ascendant liberal wing of the Democratic Party.
‘Republicans are the party of freedom, and Democrats are the party of socialism and worse,’ Trump said.
Trump used his South Florida trip to appeal to Latino voters.
Trump supporters were seen above waving flags and banners near US Southern Command in Doral on Friday
Several supporters of Democratic candidate Joe Biden are seen above in the Little Havana section of Miami on Friday
‘This election coming up is a very important one,’ he said at an event with several supporters of Cuban and Venezuelan origin.
He said Biden would adopt the type of socialist policies that pose hardships for Venezuelans under the rule of Nicholas Maduro.
‘We imposed historic sanctions on the Maduro regime, and I ended the Obama-Biden sellout to the Castro regime in Cuba,’ Trump told the roundtable.
‘We’ve been very strong on Cuba.’
Biden on Friday slammed Trump’s ‘stated willingness to sit down with Maduro’ and his administration’s efforts to revive deportations for some Venezuelans currently allowed in the United States.
After meeting with the exiles, he then traveled to Hilsboro Beach, where he was expected to raise $10million during a high-dollar fundraiser hosted by the chief executive of a snack company.
The in-person fundraiser, hosted by Troy Link, chief executive officer of Wisconsin-based Link Snacks Inc, comes after Biden outraised Trump for two consecutive months.
The former vice president banked $141million in June, according to his campaign, topping Trump’s $131million haul.
Trump on Friday held a fundraiser hosted by Troy Link (seen right alongside NFL football player Josh Rosen in 2018), the CEO of Wisconsin-based Link Snacks Inc
Trump looks at a smartphone while sitting aboard Marine One as it lands on the South Lawn of the White House late on Friday
Both candidates have largely ditched in-person fundraising during the coronavirus pandemic, though Trump has shown he is eager to return to more a more traditional campaign routine.
Biden said in an emailed statement Trump was using his Florida trip ‘as a photo-op and a distraction from his failures,’ as coronavirus cases in the state rise and the economy crumbles.
Trump’s visit to Florida was supposed to launch back-to-back days of high-profile campaigning but instead wound up being a one-off.
His visit to Florida took him to terrain where COVID-19′s surge threatens his hold on a must-win state and raises questions about Republican aims to hold their nominating convention in Jacksonville next month.
Biden pointed to Florida’s rising coronavirus cases, saying, ‘It is clear that Trump’s response — ignore, blame others, and distract — has come at the expense of Florida families.’