By Ana Valentina Guevara and Demáree Rios
Trump may have chosen Orlando as the site for his official re-election announcement but Orlando does not choose Trump.
In 2016, Orange County voted against Trump 60% to 30%. Last year, we chose the unapologetically progressive candidate, Andrew Gillum, over the President’s mini-me (Ron DeSantis) 62% to 36%. But that margin isn’t about the candidates on the ballot, it’s about the people in this city. Trump is coming to Orlando to rally the biggest swing state in the country but he chose the wrong city to do it in and come November 2020, we’re prepared to show him that again.
Orlando is home to the Pulse nightclub, and Trump is the antithesis in every conceivable way to all the progress and healing we have made since the tragedy.
Orlando is home to over 500 workers with Temporary Protected Status (TPS) who put the magic in everyone’s stay at Disney World, Universal, and our numerous theme parks and tourist locations. Trump not only insults these workers and their countries, all while rescinding their forms of legal status and worker protection, but makes foreign policy decisions that harm these countries.
Orlando is home to displaced Puerto Ricans who Trump left to fend for themselves after Hurricane María.
Orlando sits on Seminole land, and his re-authorization of pipelines threaten our natural resources and violate the rights of indigenous peoples.
We’re 40% white, 28% Latinx, 26% Black, 4% Asian. We celebrate our existence as diverse in race, ethnicity, and culture—our immigrant existence, our queer existence, our existence as people with disabilities. It hasn’t always been this way but we’re growing and we do not shy away from difficult conversations about race and our state’s history of white supremacy. Our story is unique and as complicated as any American city, but Trump’s presence will leave a blemish on Orlando’s legacy.
Chances are Trump will fill the venue he’s rallying in but he’ll be doing it in a town filled with people who voted against him, have suffered under his policies since he came to office, and will vote against him again. His lack of regard for the residents of Orlando is very clear in his tweet, boasting that 70,000 tickets were given out to a venue space that only holds 20,000, putting burden onto our city’s budget and putting our citizens in harm.
Wow! Just got word that our June 18th, Tuesday, ANNOUNCEMENT in Orlando, Florida, already has 74,000 requests for a 20,000 seat Arena. With all of the big events that we have done, this ticket looks to be the “hottest” of them all. See you in Florida!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 12, 2019
Not only that, but a base of supporters, including elected officials, have promised violence against those who oppose Trump’s rally.
Before he banned the words “climate change” from federal websites, we already knew the storms have gotten stronger and have already had to prepare for relocation. Before he defied congressional investigations, we already had 20 years of Republicans fleecing our public budget and overseeing fraud left and right. Before he passed his tax bill, we already knew what giveaways to corporations and the wealthy do to states like ours. Unregulated agriculture sends waste downstream to bloom into deadly red tide on our shores.
In Orlando, we recognize Trump for what he is and we hope the rest of our state can see him too. We are a city rich in organizing and resilience. Those who paved the way for him to be here and use our resources will be held to account not only by us, but by history.
There’s no room for Trump and his racism in our “City Beautiful” nor in our state.
Ana Valentina Guevara and Demáree Rios are with the Florida Student Power Network.