Trump arrives in Palm Beach County; visit to include rally in Central Florida, early voting in West Palm



Donald Trump wearing a suit and tie: President Donald Trump arrives on Air Force One at Palm Beach International Airport in West Palm Beach, Florida on October 22, 2020. (RICHARD GRAULICH / For The Palm Beach Post)


© Richard Graulich
President Donald Trump arrives on Air Force One at Palm Beach International Airport in West Palm Beach, Florida on October 22, 2020. (RICHARD GRAULICH / For The Palm Beach Post)

Trump in Palm Beach: POTUS to vote

President Donald Trump arrived at Palm Beach International Airport on Friday evening just before 11 p.m., and proceeded to Mar-a-Lago, where he spent the night.

Saturday morning, he is scheduled to cast his vote in West Palm Beach before heading off to another series of rallies in three battleground states — North Carolina, Ohio and Wisconsin — with just 10 days to go until Election Day.

The symbolism behind Trump’s in-person voting, a break from his use of absentee ballots in March and August, is clear. It’s part of a comprehensive GOP get-out-the-vote messaging, a theme Trump pitched in his Pensacola speech.



a airplane that is parked on the tarmac of an airport runway: President Donald Trump arrives on Air Force One at Palm Beach International Airport in West Palm Beach, Florida on October 22, 2020. (RICHARD GRAULICH / For The Palm Beach Post)


© Richard Graulich
President Donald Trump arrives on Air Force One at Palm Beach International Airport in West Palm Beach, Florida on October 22, 2020. (RICHARD GRAULICH / For The Palm Beach Post)

Democrats are leading Republicans in mail-in and in-person early voting ballots cast in Florida, 2.1 million to 1.6 million, though GOP officials have insisted they would erase the deficit between now and Nov. 3.

PHOTOS: Donald Trump in Palm Beach through the years

“I am going to rely on you to get out and vote,” Trump said during the rally in northwest Florida. “Vote early, bring your friends, your family, your neighbor, your co-workers, even bring your boss and say, ‘Come out, boss, you’re coming to vote. You’ve got to vote.’ The most important election we’ve had. I really believe that.”

On Friday, Trump also held a second campaign rally in The Villages, a conservative enclave south of Ocala.

The president was accompanied to the rallies by White House aides Dan Scavino, Mark Meadows and Hope Hicks. 

– Antonio Fins

President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump arrive in Nashville

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Trump touts oil in changing Florida

In his Florida campaign stops, the president embraced Big Oil, believing he cornered Democratic challenger Joe Biden on the topic in Thursday night’s debate.

During the debate, Biden, after being asked by moderator Kristen Welker and pressed by Trump, said he supported a “transition from the oil industry.” Biden later clarified he did not mean “getting rid of fossil fuels” but instead supported “getting rid of the subsidies for fossil fuels.”

Trump ridiculed Biden’s energy stance in Florida, but in the Sunshine State the president’s derision is a double-edged sword.

“Even you don’t like it. You know why you don’t like it? Because you like your gasoline at $2 and less per gallon,” Trump said, alluding to Florida’s pump price-sensitive commuter society.

Still, in Trump’s last visit to Palm Beach County on Sept. 8, the president proudly proclaimed he was extending a ban on oil drilling in the Gulf of Mexico — and extended the prohibition to Florida’s Atlantic waters, too.

More: Trump in Jupiter: President extends offshore drilling ban in Florida

Moreover, Florida’s electric industry has already been transitioning away from using petroleum to power generators. The U.S. Energy Information Administration calculated in 2018 that “petroleum-fired power plants provided less than 1% of Florida’s generation” because the fuel of choice was natural gas.

Utilities like Florida Power & Light have also been investing in solar energy in the state’s rural, conservative counties, too. 

More: Ironic twist: Politically blue renewable energy dots red Florida. Will it bolster action on climate change?



a person riding on the back of a truck: Palm Beach County sheriff's deputies establish a security checkpoint along South Ocean Blvd. just north of Phipps Ocean Park Friday morning, October 23, 2020. (DAMON HIGGINS / Palm Beach Daily News)


© Damon Higgins / Palm Beach Daily News
Palm Beach County sheriff’s deputies establish a security checkpoint along South Ocean Blvd. just north of Phipps Ocean Park Friday morning, October 23, 2020. (DAMON HIGGINS / Palm Beach Daily News)

On a list of 14 solar centers FPL is constructing now, or has plans to develop, 13 are in counties Trump won, ranging from Baker County, which Trump bagged with 81% of the vote, to Hendry County, which the president took with a more modest 55% of the ballots cast.

Renewable energy and a dwindling use of fossil fuels is a high priority for young, climate change conscious voters in the Sunshine State. And so far, early voting totals show that voters ages 18 to 29 have cast 257,720 ballots through Friday — up from 44,107 in 2016.

– Antonio Fins

Biden slams Trump on COVID

During his speech in The Villages, Trump derided criticism of his administration’s handling, and mishandling, of the coronavirus epidemic.

“All they talk about is COVID, COVID, COVID,” Trump said, adding “they want to scare people.”

More: Lost weekend? Trump reveled, didn’t warn about COVID in March visit to Mar-a-Lago

Trump’s glib comment, spoken at a rally packed with supporters standing shoulder-to-shoulder and largely without face coverings, followed alarming news on the COVID-19 front.

On Friday, the country logged a one-day record of 83,010 cases, far outpacing one-day total highs in the spring and summer as the country surpassed 225,000 fatalities and 8.5 million infections. And the New York Times also reported that U.S. hospitalizations have increased by 40% over the past month.

Florida’s numbers are also eliciting concern.

More: Coronavirus: Florida adds nearly 3,700 cases; daily increases stay above September levels

The state registered 3,689 new infections that brought the state’s total case count to 771,780, according to the Florida Department of Health. In the last week, 23,343 people have been diagnosed with COVID-19.

The political statistics that should worry Trump are found in polls showing he is losing support from seniors, an all-important voting bloc in this state and a demographic group very worried about coronavirus. A CNN/SSRS poll released Wednesday showed Biden up 8 points with older voters in Florida.

More: Election 2020: Older voters in Palm Beach County no longer exclusively Democratic bloc

In a speech in Wilmington, Del., Biden tore into Trump.

“We are more than eight months into the crisis and the president still doesn’t have a plan,” Biden said. “He’s given up. He quit on you, on your family, on America. He just wants us to grow numb and resigned to the horrors of the death toll and the pain.”

Biden then delineated a five-point plan to “shut down the virus, not the country.”



a man wearing a suit and tie: Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden arrives to speak at Southwest Focal Point Community Center in Pembroke Pines, Fla., Tuesday Oct. 13, 2020. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)


© Carolyn Kaster, AP
Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden arrives to speak at Southwest Focal Point Community Center in Pembroke Pines, Fla., Tuesday Oct. 13, 2020. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

Key to the plan is getting all Americans to wear face coverings, he said.

Biden said he would urge all governors to mandate masks in their state, as well as mayors and county executives to get local masking requirements. He will also require wearing masks in all federal buildings and on interstate transportation.

And he said he would ask the new Congress “to put a bill on my desk by the end of January, with all the resources necessary to see both our public health and our economic response through to the end.”

– Antonio Fins

This article originally appeared on Palm Beach Post: LIVE COVERAGE: Trump arrives in Palm Beach County; visit to include rally in Central Florida, early voting in West Palm

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