President Trump visits Tampa Bay Friday, attends COVID-19 roundtable

Local News

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – President Donald Trump returned to Florida on Friday for a visit in Tampa.

The president flew into Tampa International Airport a little after 4 p.m. Friday afternoon as supporters cheered on.

Eva Smith from Largo was one of hundreds who lined East Bay Drive in Largo to show their support.

“And I want him to see that we love him down here and we’ve been out waving flags for him since 2016.  I’m a member of the Trump squad in Pinellas County and we just want to show our support,” Smith said.

Just up the road, a handful of counter-protesters spread their displeasure of President Trump’s arrival including Debi Reichgelt.

“At the end of the day, he’s just one man. And there are so many of us who have voices. And we’re going to use our voices in any way we can. Protesting, if it’s standing up for what we believe in,” Reichgelt said.

President Trump also attended a roundtable discussion regarding COVID-19 and storm preparedness at the Pelican Golf Club in Belleair.

“It’s a tribute to your governor and government the job that they’ve done. They’ve done a really great job and you have a very big nursing home population. And you’ve done a fantastic job and we’re doing really well in Florida,” Trump said.

The president had planned to visit Miami on Saturday to raise money for his campaign, but the fundraiser was canceled due to Hurricane Isaias.

The South Florida Sun Sentinel previously reported both events would offer various access to Trump: $100,000 for a roundtable, photo and reception; $35,000 in donations or money raised from others for a photo and reception, and $5,000 for a reception.

It’s the president’s second visit to the Sunshine State this month. On July 10, Trump was in South Florida to discuss drug trafficking in the Caribbean and U.S. policy toward Venezuela. He also held a fundraiser in Hillsboro Beach.

Former Vice President Joe Biden released the following statement regarding Trump’s visit:

While Floridians, including our frontline health care workers, continue to struggle every day with the far-reaching impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on their lives, Donald Trump comes to Florida with no apparent intention of addressing these issues and instead is there to raise money for his campaign with his Mar-a-Lago crowd. Throughout this pandemic, Donald Trump has ignored the problem, blamed others, tried to shield the magnitude of the pandemic, rewarded his friends while American families are struggling, and actively tried to divide our country. This isn’t the behavior of a leader.

As deaths continue to rise due to COVID-19, Donald Trump should be focused on sending critically needed supplies to American hospitals and frontline workers. Instead, he’s trying to distract Floridians from his failures, while standing by his friends and continuing to express admiration for dictators like Nicolas Maduro and Vladimir Putin — even after Putin placed bounties on American soldiers. Floridians and their families deserve better — and they need better. As president, I will lead with the transparency, respect, and dignity that all Americans deserve.

-Former Vice President Joe Biden

Pasco County Sheriff Chris Nocco spoke at the event saying the next time President Trump comes to Tampa they will host a boat parade.

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