Trump addresses drug smuggling with visit to Florida Keys

Hundreds come out to see president make brief visit


KEY WEST, Fla. – President Donald Trump rode past Monroe County supporters who helped him win Florida, except in Key West, where they didn't.

"We're going to secede from the union when the president goes by," one onlooker said.

At the Naval Air Station Key West, the president thanked the Joint Interagency Task Force for its anti-drug smuggling efforts. He also made some impromptu comments including "drugs are flowing into the country,"  "we have to have the wall," and "human trafficking is worse than ever," according to those inside the event.

Officers from all over South Florida were called to presidential escort duty.

Rep. Carlos Curbelo, a Miami Republican, accompanied the president on the trip to the Keys. Curbelo said he was able to use the time with the president to advance issues important to him and his district.

"I was able to stress to him the importance of finding a compromise on immigration that protects young immigrants brought to our country as children and also strengthens border security," Curbelo said. "We discussed FEMA's role in hurricane recovery, Cuba, Venezuela, Colombia, and as we were arriving at our destination, I shared with the president that sea level rise is increasingly a concern in the Keys and throughout South Florida."

Many in this left-leaning city and right-leaning county set aside partisanship for the few seconds they had to greet the president.   

"When we found out, we said, 'We have to see this. History being made,'" said Susan Desouza of Naples.

Trump's brief in-and-out visit makes him the 10th sitting U.S. president to visit the southernmost city   though most did so for longer than an hour.

"I spoke to my grandmother —  she said she met five different presidents no matter who she voted for and I was inspired to keep the tradition going," Kristen McNamara said.

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