President Donald Trump officially kicked off his 2020 reelection campaign with a mega MAGA rally held at the 20,000 seat Amway Center in Orlando, Florida on Tuesday. TGP was there to cover the rally. Part one report and photos:
Accompanied by a TGP reporter-in-training, I arrived in the afternoon for the rally, missing the torrential rainstorm and, unfortunately, 45 Fest. The media had done a good job of fear-mongering the turnout with scary reports of mass chaos with roadblocks, crowds and hot, stormy weather. Traffic was a breeze heading into downtown Orlando at 4 p.m. for the 8 p.m. rally. Parking in a pay garage just two blocks from the Amway Center was easily found. The massive Trump crowd arrived early and stayed all day, maxing out the overflow area where 45 Fest was held. I saw a report online (which I can’t find now) that 45 Fest reached capacity and those who could not get in were told their entry into the Amway Center could not be guaranteed–which likely drove away overflow attendees who preferred to watch the rally indoors at nearby bars and restaurants in air conditioned comfort rather than outdoors in the steamy Florida night.
The official attendance number inside the Amway Center was just below capacity–19,792–however several hundred supporters watched the rally from the overflow area outside.
But I digress. The two block walk from the parking garage to the Amway Center was lengthened to six blocks due to security closures. Dozens of traveling freelance Trump gear vendors lined Church Street and went on several blocks along the way to the Amway Center. A steady stream of hundreds of Trump supporters made their way to the Amway Center around 4:30 p.m. Arriving to a long line at the press check-in 15 minutes before the 5 p.m. cutoff, I was relieved to hear a campaign staffer announce check-in was extended to 5:30. We made it in at 5:25.