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Trump Fires Up Supporters In Orlando, Hints At 2024 Campaign


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Tommy Zegan with the sculpture he created of President Donald Trump. Photo: Matthew Peddie. WMFE


Former President Donald Trump took a defiant tone as he closed out the Conservative Political Action Conference in Orlando Sunday. 

“Well thank you very much and, hello CPAC. Do you miss me yet? Do you miss me?” said Trump as he took the stage to chants of “USA, USA” at the Hyatt Regency on I-Drive.

In a speech lasting more than an hour and a half, Trump returned to themes that defined his presidency including immigration and the Southern border wall; repeating the false claim that he won the election; and calling out his opponents in both parties. 

Outside the hotel, I Drive resembled a campaign rally with hundreds of flag waving supporters, some camped out in lawn chairs, others driving by, honking their horns. Trump_CPAC

I Drive resembled a campaign rally, with supporters waving flags and honking horns. Photo: Matthew Peddie, WMFE

At a street corner, people took selfies with a golden statue of Trump wearing swim trunks. 

Artist Tommy Zegan, who’s originally from California but now lives in Mexico, said he created the statue in response to anti-Trump art. 

“You know, naked Trump, Trump on a toilet. And I said, come on, if this is the art community, if this is the best you can do, so I sat on my computer and went ahead and figured this one out,” said Zegan.

Supporters take selfies with a statue of President Trump outside the Hyatt Regency in Orlando. Photo: Matthew Peddie, WMFE

“Basically this is the fiberglass mold. The original one is made out of stainless steel, weighs about 600 pounds. That one I hope will eventually be in the Trump library.” 

Zegan said if Trump runs again, he’s got his vote. 

Cathy Norton said she drove across from the Tampa area in a convoy of about 200 cars.

“We wanted to come out and show our support, that the RINOs and professional politicians don’t own this party any more. This is Donald Trump’s party,” said Norton.  She held a sign that read ‘Trump 2024’ with the names ‘Donald Trump’, ‘Ivanka Trump’ and ‘Donald Trump, Jr.’ 

Cathy Norton. Photo: Matthew Peddie / WMFE

“I would love to see all three of them run and take the house, the Senate and the presidency. That would be awesome.”

Norton said one politician she doesn’t want to see replaced is Gov. Ron DeSantis, who has been one of Trump’s staunchest allies. 

DeSantis came in second behind Trump in a straw poll of who CPAC attendees would vote for in a Republican primary. 

Across the street was a group of about a dozen protesters. One protester- who gave the name Raven- held a sign criticizing CPAC.

Raven, who was one of about a dozen protesters across the street from CPAC in Orlando. Photo: Matthew Peddie, WMFE

“Honestly we’re just trying here to make the mark that this isn’t going unopposed, this isn’t something everyone is peacefully willing to accept: Donald Trump still getting hours worth of a platform in 2021.”

Trump closed out his speech saying he would work to elect “strong, tough and smart Republican leaders.” He stopped short of saying he would be on the ticket himself. “A Republican will make a triumphant return to the White House, and I wonder who that will be,” he said. 

 


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Matthew Peddie

About Matthew Peddie

Host of WMFE's Intersection & Assistant News Director

Matthew Peddie grew up in New Zealand and studied journalism at the University of Western Ontario. After graduating with an MA in Journalism he returned to Christchurch, working as a reporter for Radio Live and Radio New Zealand. He’s reported live from the scene of earthquakes, criminal trials and rugby ... Read Full Bio »

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