Trump in South Florida: Ritzy fundraiser wraps day that includes talk of Venezuela and drug trafficking

HILLSBORO BEACH, Fla. – President Donald Trump has spent an eventful Friday in South Florida, which has become an epicenter in the fight against coronavirus, though that was not the reason for his visit.

Trump and others who got off Air Force One shortly after noon were not wearing face coverings. Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez, one of the local leaders to first greet Trump, had said last week that the president should wear a mask if he visits the county, where face coverings are mandatory.

First stop for Trump after the airport was U.S. Southern Command, where he got a preview of an operation targeting drug trafficking in the Caribbean.

Greeted by supporters, the president then arrived at Iglesia Doral Jesus Worship Center to hold a roundtable with Venezuelan exiles. Trump was inside when a gun was fired during an argument nearby between men with differing political viewpoints, according to police.

“We imposed historic sanctions on the Maduro regime, and I ended the Obama-Biden sellout to the Castro regime in Cuba,” Trump told the roundtable. “We’ve been very strong on Cuba.”

Liz Alarcón, who is with Venezuelans with Biden, says President Trump is all talk, no action.

“He’s spoken loudly and sternly and then [done] little to back up those words,” she said.

In fact, she says young Venezuelans fear they may have to go back after the Trump administration issued an order that foreign university students must go home if their schools are fully online.

They also criticize Trump for not providing temporary protected status to Venezuelans.

President Trump was not wearing a face covering as he was greeted by Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez, who said last week that the president should wear a mask if he visits the county, where face coverings are mandatory.

After a short drive from Iglesia Doral Jesus Worship Center, the motorcade made an unscheduled stop at Trump National Doral.

The president’s busy schedule here in South Florida concludes in Hillsboro Beach for a private fundraiser at a ritzy home. According to the Washington Post, the price of admission is more than $580,000 per couple.

The Post also reports that guests will be tested for COVID-19 before interacting with the Commander in Chief. Local 10 News spotted what look like white tents and people in protective gear across the street.

As the presidential motorcade rolled down A1A, there were a number of Trump supporters out, and some showing support for his opponent in the November election, Joe Biden.

Biden, the presumptive Democratic nominee, has been critical of the president’s visit, calling it a distraction while Floridians see COVID-19 numbers skyrocket.

Before leaving the White House earlier Friday morning, the president talked about possibly pardoning his friend, South Florida resident Roger Stone.

“I think Roger Stone was very unfairly treated as were many people,” Trump said.

Stone was convicted of lying, among other things, in a case related to the special counsel’s Russia investigation.

Trump is scheduled to fly back to Washington tonight.

About the Authors:

In January 2017, Hatzel Vela became the first local television journalist in the country to move to Cuba and cover the island from the inside. During his time living and working in Cuba, he covered some of the most significant stories in a post-Fidel Castro Cuba. 

Janine Stanwood joined Local 10 News in February 2004 as an assignment editor. She is now a general assignment reporter. Before moving to South Florida from her Washington home, Janine was the senior legislative correspondent for a United States senator on Capitol Hill.