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Here’s your pre-game report for today’s Trump rally

Three reporters cover all the goings-on in Orlando before President Trump takes the stage.
Trump supporters gather at the Amway Center in Orlando on Tuesday afternoon before the scheduled 8 p.m. rally. [Twitter]
Trump supporters gather at the Amway Center in Orlando on Tuesday afternoon before the scheduled 8 p.m. rally. [Twitter]
Published Jun. 18, 2019
Updated Jun. 18, 2019

Several hundred President Donald Trump supporters were already in line outside the Amway Center early Tuesday to attend tonight’s 2020 campaign kickoff speech.

A common theme among Trump supporters: The president is not a racist.

Eric Trump spoke from a festival stage outside the arena, telling a crowd sweltering under the sun that the 2020 election is about “judges, judges, many presidents get three Supreme Court nominations.”

Most of the people interviewed were giddy with enthusiasm despite rain earlier today and the intense heat.

“It’s just wonderful to be here and see how many of us are like-minded,” said Christine Bond of Winter Garden.

But here’s an argument between a man wearing a “Bikers for Trump” shirt and a small group of protesters.

“Kent State gun girl” Kaitlin Bennett is here—in between interview attempts with protestors she repeatedly implores viewers to support Alex Jones, who “needs your support now more than ever.”

Kaitlin Bennett, also known as "Kent State gun girl". [Twitter]

Meanwhile, Democrats and other protesters were enthusiastic, too.

An anti-Trump protest was held outside a gay bar a few blocks from the arena. Also nearby, they inflated the “Baby Trump” balloon.

Outside, protesters begin inflating the "Baby Trump" balloon. [Twitter]

Of course, as all of this is going on, let’s not forget that money is being made here.

And here we go. The extremist group Proud Boys make an appearance. As they drink in the street a block away from the arena, several shout “CUCKS" at passers-by holding anti-Trump signs.

The Proud Boys outside the Trump rally. [Twitter]

Another theme among those supporting Trump is that they aren’t racists, either. The Proud Boys wouldn’t talk to the Times, but they sent an InfoWars “reporter” who repeatedly stated that the Proud Boys are “not racist” -- and that he himself wasn’t one of them, only that he was embedded with them.

A few minutes later, a small group of Proud Boys walk over to an anti-Trump protest and start shouting. Police prevent them from entering the block.

A group of Proud Boys (left) shout at anti-Trump protesters. [Twitter]

Hey, after a few minutes, the Baby Trump balloon is up.

Baby Trump. [Twitter]

Meanwhile, things were just getting started inside the arena.

Apparently, the Baby Trump balloon outside isn’t the only thing getting inflated.


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  2. A Shoot Straight employee conducts background checks and others finish sales at the Florida Gun Show in Tampa.
  3. Florida Rights and Restoration Coalition president Desmond Meade spoke at a press conference during an event, which headlined John Legend, in support of Florida’s Amendment 4 in Orlando last October. {Times (2018)]
  4. The Tallahassee headquarter of the Florida Coalition Against Domestic Violence.
  5. The Republican National Committee sent out this mailer to a Florida resident in Tallahassee that claims to be a 2020 Congressional District Census. Democrats say the mailer is deceptive, as it's coming just before the official U.S. Census.
  6. In this Feb. 14, 2018, photo, students hold their hands in the air as they are evacuated by police from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland after a shooter opened fire on the campus.
  7. Julia Nesheiwat, Florida's first chief resilience officer, will leave her post after six months on the job. She has been hired as a homeland security advisor for President Donald Trump.
  8. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis.
  9. Florida House Speaker Jose Oliva, R- Miami Lakes and Florida Senate President Bill Galvano, R- Bradenton, talk during a joint session of the Florida Legislature, Tuesday, January 14, 2020, in Tallahassee.
  10. Amy Weintraub with Progress Florida (center), stands with other women during a press conference to speak out against HB 265, which would require minors to gain consent from their parents to get an abortion, in front of Florida Representative Jackie Toledo on Thursday, Feb. 20, 2020 in Tampa.
  11. State Rep. Anthony Sabatini fields questions on the House floor on Feb. 19, 2020, about his proposal to ask voters to limit school board member terms.
  12. From left, Democratic presidential candidates, former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., participate in a Democratic presidential primary debate Wednesday in Las Vegas, hosted by NBC News and MSNBC.