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Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Trump crowd-tests new campaign slogan, rehashes 2016 talking points at Orlando re-election launch

Posted By on Wed, Jun 19, 2019 at 8:27 AM

  • photo by Rob Bartlett for Orlando Weekly, June 18, 2019
President Donald Trump officially kicked off his 2020 re-election campaign at the Amway Center in Orlando Tuesday night, even though the president has essentially never stopped campaigning since his election win in 2016.

The pageantry that's become synonymous with Trump's rallies was on full display. In speaking to the at-capacity roughly 20,000-person crowd, Trump hit his typical talking points: He doubled down on the so-called "fake news" media, inspiring a series of "CNN sucks!" chants from the crowd. He claimed he'd "won" against Special Counsel Robert Mueller (whose report found multiple instances in which Trump allegedly obstructed justice while president). And, of course, as a sort of nostalgic blast from the past, the president took a few swipes at former opponent Hillary Clinton.

In fact, it was a low-energy effort for Trump, given his past rallies. It was also an opportunity for him to nail down exactly what his 2020 campaign will be about – same shit, different year – and to roll-call his allies. The latter included Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, whom Trump praised for signing into law a ban on "sanctuary cities" in Florida even though such a thing has never existed, and departing White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, whom Trump encouraged to run for Arkansas governor.

"A warrior," Trump said of Sanders. 

Trump also asked attendants to vote by cheer on his campaign's new slogan: to rehash "Make America Great Again" or to "Keep America Great."

The winner by a deafening margin: "Keep America Great."

With that said, he then officially announced his 2020 campaign.

"When I get behind my desk in the Oval Office, I think about only one thing: How the American people are going to win, win, win today," Trump told those in attendance. "I'm fighting for you, and I think you see that."

  • photo by Rob Bartlett for Orlando Weekly, June 18, 2019

Trump won Florida's 29 electoral votes over Democratic nominee Clinton by just more than a point in the 2016 presidential election. But in reliably liberal Orange County, Clinton bested Trump by more than 24 points.

In 2020, those results may be difficult to replicate.

A new Quinnipiac poll released Tuesday found that Trump is currently trailing several potential Democratic opponents, including former Vice President Joe Biden, who led Trump 50% to 41%. The poll also found that U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders leads Trump 48% t0 42%, while U.S. Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Kamala Harris lead the president by four points.

Similarly, internal data from the Trump campaign's March polling, obtained by ABC News, shows Biden had a seven-point advantage in Florida in 2020.

According to a report from the New York Times, when presented with the results that showed Biden leading in several battleground states, Trump reportedly told staffers to publicly deny the existence of the data.

In a Monday morning tweet, Trump called the polls "fake." That, as is often the case for Trump, was a bald-faced lie. Almost two and a half years into his first term as president, Trump has so far lied more than 10,000 times, according to the Washington Post's Fact Checker blog.

Most recently, in an early Tuesday morning tweet, Trump claimed there were already thousands lined up for his Orlando rally, saying the rally looked "to be setting records" and that his campaign had received "over 100,000 requests," though he'd later up the ante to "120,000" at the rally.

It's unclear exactly how many requests the Trump campaign received for the rally. Per Orlando Weekly's eyeball estimate, there were a couple hundred people in line as of early Tuesday.

One of those people was Citrus County native Jeanna Gullett. She was among the Trump super-fans who camped out on the sidewalk near the Amway Center overnight, despite the fact that she and her friend Anna Connelly had booked a hotel room for three nights as part of their rally road trip.

Gullett claims the president has reignited a sense of political pride – albeit a deeply partisan sense of pride – among citizens in certain parts of the country. In her own words, she thinks "America is coming up."

"I feel blessed to be here," Gullett said. "This is historic and I wouldn't miss it for the world."

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