Former President Donald Trump attended the Lee County GOP’s Lincoln-Reagan Dinner in Fort Myers Friday.
While some caught a glimpse of the former president, this event—coming just weeks after Trump traveled to Manhattan for his arraignment—was a little different than his previous stops in Southwest Florida.
It’s not a campaign rally. The Lincoln-Reagan Dinner is a private, ticketed event, and it sold out a while ago.
“I’m a thousand percent supporter of president trump. I just love him. He did a wonderful job for our country when he was President, and I can’t wait for him to come back,” Charlotte County resident, Terry Hoffman said.
“He’s been laying out very succinct plans for how he’s going to deal with a lot of the turmoil that’s going on, such as in Ukraine and Somalia and around the world and with Taiwan. He’s going a plan, and he says he can take care of it without going to war, so I’m all for that,” Hoffman said.
Michael Thompson, chairman of Lee County Republican Executive Committee, said having Trump in Fort Myers will boost the local GOP’s campaign offers for 2024, but he did not commit to the Lee County GOP endorsing Trump for president.
The two Florida congressmen—Rep. Greg Steube, who represents Charlotte County, and Rep. Byron Donalds, who represents Lee and Collier counties—attended the event and have already endorsed Trump.
Donalds spoke to WINK about the event.
Donalds stated, “And so I just really want to hear what’s kind of top of his mind, what his… where his focus is, and he was glad to be supportive of the Lee County Republican Party, all their hard work through the years.”
While Trump has already announced he will be running for re-election in 2024, he might have some competition, as speculation grows that Gov. Ron DeSantis plans to run. Trump has been seen in the news calling DeSantis names like “Ron DeSanctimonious.” And while DeSantis ignored this for months, he is now starting to verbally fight back.
WINK asked Thompson if the Lee County GOP might consider endorsing DeSantis or another Republican candidate over Trump in 2024.
“I don’t think, you know, the Florida Republican Party is going to get involved in that discussion,” Thompson said. “You know, we’re going to leave that to the voters of Florida on who they decide, but I know that the media is interested in this topic, as well as a lot of people are.”
With both Trump’s visit and Music Walk happening at the same time, downtown Fort Myers was extremely busy on Friday night.