President Donald Trump will formally kick off his reelection campaign with a rally on Tuesday, June 18, in Orlando, Florida — a moment that was essentially a foregone conclusion but suggests the 2020 campaign is beginning in earnest.
The rally will begin at 8 pm Eastern time and can be watched via live stream through PBS NewsHour’s YouTube, KSAZ’s YouTube, and FloridaToday.com. No major news networks have announced plans to air the campaign kickoff.
Trump announced that he would officially kick off his reelection campaign in Orlando’s Amway Center, a mega-stadium that holds 20,000 people, via Twitter on May 31. Despite the heat and possible thunderstorms, outlets have reported that Trump supporters have been lined up outside the venue for days in hope of securing a front seat. Trump also hyped up the event, saying that more than 100,000 people had requested to attend.
“The Fake News doesn’t report it, but Republican enthusiasm is at an all time high ... Going to be wild,” he tweeted the morning of the event.
The Fake News doesn’t report it, but Republican enthusiasm is at an all time high. Look what is going on in Orlando, Florida, right now! People have never seen anything like it (unless you play a guitar). Going to be wild - See you later!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 18, 2019
It won’t only be a loving crowd that welcomes Trump, though. Protests will be held near the stadium to criticize the president’s record. Organizers of the “Win With Love Rally” said they were offended by Trump’s decision to make his announcement in Orlando, a city with a large, visible LGBTQ and Puerto Rican community, according to CBS News.
The Orlando Sentinel, the city’s major newspaper, also released an op-ed the day of the rally titled “Our Orlando Sentinel endorsement for president in 2020: Not Donald Trump.” The newspaper, which has a history of endorsing Republican candidates, encouraged readers not to vote for Trump, who the paper said has told lies “out of ignorance, laziness, recklessness, expediency or opportunity.”
“Trump’s successful assault on truth is the great casualty of this presidency, followed closely by his war on decency,” the paper’s editorial board wrote.
Florida is an important state for Trump if he wants to win the 2020 election. In 2016, he won the swing state’s 29 electoral votes, and Republicans are hoping that the GOP victories in the state during the 2018 midterm elections indicate a promising outcome for Trump in 2020.
It feels like Trump has been talking about his reelection forever — because he has. He never really stopped holding rallies and filed for reelection with the Federal Election Commission the day of his inauguration. For the past few months, he’s been holding MAGA rallies in critical states like Florida, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin to tout his accomplishments to his supporters while promising a better future. And he hasn’t held back in his attacks on 2020 Democratic candidates.
Now, though, it’s about to be official.