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Anti-Trump protesters, ‘Proud Boys’ trade shoves outside Florida presidential visit

A man dressed as President Trump, people blowing whistles, impeachment signs and a handful of ‘Proud Boys’ were all outside during Trump’s event in Florida.
"You should be holding this sign," said Les Gore, 67. "He hates the media." Thursday, Oct. 3, 2019 in The Villages.  [MARTHA ASENCIO-RHINE  |  Times]
"You should be holding this sign," said Les Gore, 67. "He hates the media." Thursday, Oct. 3, 2019 in The Villages. [MARTHA ASENCIO-RHINE | Times]

THE VILLAGES — President Donald Trump visited The Villages, a Florida retirement mecca, on Thursday to sign a Medicare-related Executive Order and bash the ongoing impeachment inquiry.

The event, billed as an official White House visit and not a political rally, only admitted about 1,000 people by invitation only into the small venue, the Sharon L. Morse Performing Arts Center. That left scores of Trump supporters and protesters to watch Trump’s speech on a large screen erected in a square outside in the sweltering humidity.

The groups didn’t get along.

RELATED STORY: In Florida, Trump scorns impeachment talk, bashes ‘socialist’ Medicare for All

RELATED STORY: Live updates: Trump at The Villages

During the speech, a few of the about 50 anti-Trump protesters blew whistles to drown out Trump’s voice. That prompted shoves and insults by a few of his supporters, and police had to separate the warring groups.

One man identified himself and a few of his friends as being affiliated with the “Proud Boys,” a far-right, male-only group. The Southern Poverty Law Center classifies them as a hate group.

Here are some of the Times’ photos from the commotion outside the event:

People gathered outside the Sharon L. Morse Performing Arts Center, watch President Donald Trump speak via a large monitor set up in the square. Thursday, Oct. 3, 2019 in The Villages. [MARTHA ASENCIO-RHINE | Times]
Donald Trump impersonator, Tim Watters, takes photos with Trump supporters gathered outside the Sharon L. Morse Performing Arts Center where President Trump was speaking inside, on Thursday, Oct. 3, 2019 in The Villages. [MARTHA ASENCIO-RHINE | Times]
"He let you down," shouts Jacob Niedojadlo, 19, from Leesburg, at pro-trump demonstrators on Thursday, Oct. 3, 2019 in The Villages. [MARTHA ASENCIO-RHINE | Times]
Erik Ella, 44, who identifies with the Proud Boys organization, flashes a symbol with his hand at demonstrators on Thursday, Oct. 3, 2019 in The Villages. [MARTHA ASENCIO-RHINE | Times]


Kim Porteous, Florida Now president, blows a whistle during President Donald Trump's speech at the Sharon L. Morse Performing Arts Center while pro-Trump demonstrators try and block her with a large "Trump 2020" flag, on Thursday, Oct. 3, 2019 in The Villages. [MARTHA ASENCIO-RHINE | Times]


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