ORLANDO, Florida—Vice President Mike Pence rallied at a Latinos for Trump event here on Saturday as President Donald Trump now leads his Democrat opponent former Vice President Joe Biden in the Sunshine State.
“It’s great to be back in the Sunshine State with some great Americans who are going to drive a victory here in Florida and all across America,” Pence said as he took the stage here at Central Christian University. “Thank you, Latinos for Trump. I’m here for one reason, and one reason only: because Florida, and America, need four more years of Donald Trump in the White House. The road to victory runs right through Florida.”
Under President @realDonaldTrump we have stood for FREEDOM across this Hemisphere and we’re going keep standing for freedom loving people everywhere for four more years! #LatinosForTrump pic.twitter.com/mPucHpcBLo
— Mike Pence (@Mike_Pence) October 10, 2020
Pence’s campaign swing through central Florida during which Breitbart News is traveling with him and is scheduled to interview him—he is also leading a Make America Great Again rally in the Villages later in the day—comes as the vice president has emerged as the Trump-Pence ticket’s top campaigner while the president continues his recovery from the coronavirus in the White House. Other Trump campaign leaders and first family surrogates have also stepped up campaign activities as part of what the team calls “Operation MAGA.” Donald Trump Jr., the president’s eldest son, for instance is hitting the trail aggressively this coming week with more than two dozen scheduled events crisscrossing the nation.
Campaign frenzy: @DonaldJTrumpJr scheduled to hit 8 states—North Carolina, Florida, Georgia, Nebraska, Iowa, Illinois, Arizona, Nevada—between Monday and Saturday next week.
— Jennifer Jacobs (@JenniferJJacobs) October 10, 2020
Trump is scheduled to later on Saturday hold his first public event, at the White House, since contracting the virus. Trump was diagnosed a little over a week ago—last Thursday—and then later was transferred last weekend to Walter Reed hospital to begin his recovery. After beginning his treatment there with a dose of Regeneron’s antibody cocktail medication, and treatment with remdesivir and the steroid dexamethosone, Trump returned to the White House earlier this week to continue his recovery. He began working again mid-week, visiting the Oval Office, and has also now started conducting interviews again as Friday he appeared on Rush Limbaugh’s and Mark Levin’s respective nationally broadcast radio programs as well as giving his first on-camera interview to Fox News’s Dr. Marc Siegel, which aired Friday evening on Tucker Carlson Tonight. Trump will resume campaigning on Monday with a rally nearby here, in Sanford, Florida, his first time back on the trail since the infection.
But in the meantime, Pence—who earlier this week debated Democrat vice presidential contender Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) in Salt Lake City, Utah—is the top dog out there for the Trump campaign. This weekend Florida swing comes after a Thursday post-debate campaign trip to Arizona and Nevada, western states the president split with Democrat Hillary Rodham Clinton in 2016. Trump won the former, and Clinton won the latter.
“I don’t know if you all got to see it, but I was just in Utah the other night—we had a little debate with Kamala Harris,” Pence told the cheering crowd here in Orlando. “Some people think we did alright. But I want to clear: From where I was sitting, that debate was not just a debate between two candidates for vice president. It was a debate between two visions for America. Joe Biden and Kamala Harris want higher taxes, open borders, socialized medicine; they want to abolish fossil fuels, and use taxpayer funding to pay for abortion. They want to defund the police. President Donald Trump’s vision is a little bit different. President Trump says rebuild our military. We cut taxes; we rolled back regulations, unleashed American energy, secured our border, supported law enforcement, life and liberty and the Constitution of the United States. When you compare the Biden-Harris agenda with our agenda, the choice is clear. If you cherish faith and freedom and law and order and life, then we need four more years of President Donald Trump in the White House.”
Pence’s team is riding high into the Sunshine State, too, as the latest public polling here shows Trump leading Biden in the final weeks by three points. That poll, from Fox35, correctly predicted the 2008 and 2016 elections. It show Trump performing strongly among Hispanic and black voters, but like other surveys it shows the president’s ticket underperforming 2016 numbers among seniors—a demographic that Biden is making a push for. Pence is working to hit both key demographics—Hispanics and seniors—with his pair of campaign events here on Saturday.
Helping energize Hispanic voters for the president are multiple factors, including a key endorsement in recent weeks from Puerto Rico’s Gov. Wanda Vazquez Garced—an endorsement Pence hyped here—and strong support in the Cuban community in the state. Pence also made a key point to hype Trump’s word against Nicolas Maduro’s regime in Venezuela, and standing up the communists in Cuba.
“Under President Donald Trump, we have stood for freedom across this hemisphere for all freedom-loving people,” Pence told the Latinos for Trump rally-goers here. “Under President Trump’s leadership, the United States was the first nation on earth to recognize President Juan Guaido as the only legitimate president of Venezuela. Under this president, America has been clear: Maduro must go and America will stand with the people of Venezuela. Under Joe Biden as vice president, he served at a time when America was appeasing the communist regime in Havana. President Donald Trump kept the promise that he made to Cuban Americans when he reversed the failed policies of the last administration toward Cuba. In this White House, it will always be Que Viva Cuba Libre.”
When Joe Biden was Vice President, America appeased the communist regime in Havana. President @realDonaldTrump kept his promise to Cuban Americans when he reversed the failed policies of the last administration. In this @WhiteHouse, it will always be que viva Cuba libre!
— Mike Pence (@Mike_Pence) October 10, 2020
He also hyped economic successes the Trump administration has delivered for Hispanics.
“Nearly half of the jobs that were created in our first three years went to Hispanic Americans,” Pence said. “That’s what we call promises made and promises kept. So I’m excited to talk to you about that and see the enthusiasm here today on this cool and breezy day in Florida. President Trump is keeping his promises. It’s why Puerto Rico Gov. Wanda Vazquez Garced just endorsed President Donald Trump for re-election as President of the United States. This week, the governor of Puerto Rico asked people in that territory to vote for who’s been there for Puerto Rico in its most difficult moments. She said very plainly it is Donald Trump. She thanked the president for rebuilding Puerto Rico not just with words but with actions. She said thanks to the president’s leadership, pharmaceutical manufacturing is coming back to the island. China is fired and Puerto Rico is hired.”
These events along the I-4 corridor, which stretches from Daytona through Orlando down to Tampa, are key to the Trump team wooing seniors back from clutches of Biden and the Democrats. A key focus from Pence’s messaging on the trail is zoning in on just how radical the left truly is, and what that would mean for the general public if Biden and Harris were to win and be able to implement their agenda. That’s something Pence focused on in Wednesday’s debate with Harris, putting her on the hot seat on court-packing, fracking, China, and her questionable-at-best record as a prosecutor in San Francisco and in California.
The vice president’s trip here also comes less than two days before Judge Amy Coney Barrett is set to begin her confirmation hearings before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Monday morning, after Trump nominated her a couple weeks ago to be the next Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court. Democrats and the establishment media have unleashed a barrage of vicious attacks against Barrett, targeting her faith and even her adopted children, in what is expected to be a fierce showdown in the Senate and in the public eye just before the election.
“Last month as a nation we paused to honor the life and service of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg,” Pence told the cheering crowd here. “When the memorials were over, President Trump fulfilled his duty under the Constitution of the United States and he nominated a principled, brilliant, conservative woman who believes in the Constitution to the Supreme Court. He nominated Judge Amy Coney Barrett.”
As “Fill That Seat” chants broke out among the crowd, Pence turned and promised them that Trump and the GOP-controlled Senate will get it done. “Let me make you a promise: After the Senate gets done with the advisement and consent, we’re going to fill that seat,” Pence told the crowd which erupted in applause.
“I got to tell you, I’m a big fan of Judge Amy Coney Barrett—not just because she’s from Indiana, but she’s a truly remarkable person,” Pence continued. “She deserves a dignified hearing, a dignified and respectful hearing in the United States Senate. But, men and women, we have reason to be concerned. You all remember when she was appointed to the court of appeals just two years ago, the Democrat chairman of the Judiciary Committee criticized her Catholic faith. Sen. Dianne Feinstein said ‘the dogma lives loudly within you.’ Hollywood elites have already begun to criticize Judge Barrett and her family for their faith. Well, I got news for the Democrats and their friends in Hollywood: That dogma lives loudly in me. That dogma lives loudly in you. That’s the right to live and to worship according to the dictates of our faith lives loudly in the Constitution of the United States.”
The president has the lead in Florida—and its 29 electoral votes are crucial to his path to re-election. Assuming the president can keep Georgia, Texas, and Arizona red—those are three traditionally red states that Biden and Democrats hope to flip—and hold onto Iowa, Ohio, North Carolina, and here in Florida, along with Maine’s Second District, he would be one state away from locking down a second term in the White House.
Public polling out of Georgia and Texas show those two states firmly back in the president’s column, after months of concern on both, and Arizona seems to be trending back that way too with a recent Trafalgar Group poll this week showing Trump back in the lead there. The Trump campaign feels so confident about Iowa and Ohio, too, that they pulled down television ad buys in both states to focus resources more effectively elsewhere. North Carolina’s public polling has been shifting back Trump’s way, too, all while the Democrats’ U.S. Senate candidate there Cal Cunningham is rocked by a serious sexting scandal that has found him under investigation by the U.S. Army Reserves for the inappropriate relationship with an enlisted serviceman’s wife. Public polling out of Maine’s Second District, from the Bangor Daily News, shows the president with a healthy 8 percent lead over Biden. If Trump holds all those plus all the other traditional red states together, he would be at 260 electoral votes and winning just any one of the upper rust belt states—Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin, or Minnesota—would put him over the top of the required 270 electoral votes necessary to win re-election.
Despite establishment media whining to the contrary, Biden’s campaign seems to understand this predicament—if Trump holds that core together, he would need to four-for-four in the upper rust belt to win—as evidenced by the former vice president’s campaign schedule. While he spent a large chunk of September not actually campaigning—Biden regularly calls a lid for the day well before lunchtime on the east coast—where he is spending his time when he does decide to campaign is indicative of what his campaign is concerned about. Biden, for instance, is again campaigning on Saturday in Pennsylvania—the state he has spent most of his time in. He also has traveled for events in recent weeks to Minnesota and Wisconsin, and has only made one trip—the day after the vice presidential debate—to Arizona, where he joined his running mate Harris to counter Pence on the ground on Thursday, and barely spent any time here in Florida either.
Republicans feel very confident about Florida, given a voter registration advantage in the state this year as Republicans have outpaced Democrats about two-to-one in ground game efforts. Recent trends in the state, too, show it shifting redder as in recent years the GOP has won most statewide contests since Trump’s 2016 panhandle-fueled victory. In 2018 in the midterm elections, despite a shellacking nationwide elsewhere when Democrats retook the majority in the U.S. House of Representatives, the GOP held the governor’s mansion as now Gov. Ron DeSantis fended off Democrat Andrew Gillum in a hard-fought battle and Republicans wiped out incumbent Democrat then-Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL) as now-Sen. Rick Scott (R-FL) emerged victorious from that fight.
With the election just weeks away, and people nationwide already voting, surely anything can happen—especially in a state like Florida which despite its recent red-ward trend is still closely contested every go-around—but the Trump team believes this one is moving their way in the final days, a sigh of relief and a burst of energy for the president as he battles brutal national polls and an onslaught of attacks from his political opponents in the Democrat Party and the media. What’s more, emerging signs of Trump’s strength—according to the RealClearPolitics breakdown of battleground state polling the president is doing nearly a full percent better than this day in 2016, all while Gallup has recorded a record-high level at 56 percent of Americans who believe they are better off today than four years ago—are a shot in the arm for the campaign in the home stretch. With sweltering heat in the high 80s beating down on the crowd outside, Pence mid-speech joked that he didn’t know who set up this event outdoors.
“But I’m ready to take the heat to drive a victory,” Pence said.