Almost 400 people braved tropical storm conditions Wednesday to see Republican vice president nominee Mike Pence in Sarasota.
Pence was about 45 minutes late for his planned 2 p.m. rally at the Hyatt Regency, but those who waited patiently, many for more than four hours, were enthusiastic when Pence finally took the stage where he touted Donald Trump’s “bold leadership path to end illegal immigration.”
Pence’s speech didn’t miss a beat as one protestor began protesting the campaign’s immigration policies. Secret Service personnel quickly whisked the protestor away under loud “USA” chants from the crowd.
Donald Trump doesn’t tip toe around the politically correct. He speaks his mind.
Republican vice presidential nominee Mike Pence
Trump visited Mexico on Wednesday to discussing immigration with the Mexican president.
“Donald Trump is doing what leaders do. He seized the opportunity to sit down with our neighbor, a current and future leader of a nation,” Pence said. “Donald Trump doesn’t tiptoe around the politically correct. He speaks his mind.”
Pence said this presidential election is about prosperity, security and “bringing about the high standards and integrity of the highest office in the world.”
He had high praise for veterans and first responders, which drew huge applause from the crowd.
I believe in what he can do for our country.
Santa Stevenson, Trump supporter
“This isn’t about one man, one team or one party,” he said. “This is about our country, our children, our families. For the past 7 1/2 years, the Obama administration has weakened our country and our place in the world. For the world to be safe, America needs to be strong. Donald Trump and I know we need to rebuild our military and stop apologizing to our enemies.”
Trump supporter Santa Stevenson is a first-generation American with parents who legally immigrated from Italy. Stevenson said for the first time in her parents’ lives, they have registered to vote and will support Trump.
“I believe in what he can do for our country,” Stevenson said. “His ideals are the only way forward for us to grow. It’s time to bring businesses back to America. I’m scared for my kids, who have had to move back in with me. It’s bad and something has to change.”
Manatee County Commission Chairwoman Vanessa Baugh, reelected Tuesday night, said Pence is going to help Trump “make America great again.”
State Rep. Greg Steube, R-Sarasota, a candidate for the Florida Senate, said Hillary Clinton has lost the trust of the military.
“American soldiers believe their leaders will come from them, but Hillary Clinton left five Americans to die in Benghazi,” he said. “The trust has been broken, and no one who left our comrades on a field of battle deserves to be president.”