Thousands of supporters were pumped to see Trump. Here’s what they had to say

In deep-blue Broward County, throngs of former President Donald Trump’s supporters flocked to the edge of the Everglades Saturday clad in red, white and blue to see America’s 45th president and other conservatives speak at the latest stop of the American Freedom Tour.

Anna Italino, a 21-year-old from Deerfield Beach accompanied by her three young friends clad in an assortment of “Let’s Go Brandon” merchandise, was pumped to see Trump for the first time.

“He’s honest and for real,” she said. “We are very excited, and we want to hear everything.”

Italino has stood by Trump since 2016, even with little sentiment from others in her generation, she said.

“It’s frustrating really because people are very close-minded and don’t want Trump just because he is honest,” Italino said.

READ MORE: The American Freedom Tour with Trump is under way in Broward. Here’s what’s happening now.

Italino was among a large crowd of conservatives who paid to see Trump and surrogates such as conservative pundit Candace Owens talk at the private event, held at FLA Live Arena in Sunrise. Tickets ranged in price from $9 to $6,999. An American Freedom Tour representative told the Miami Herald that ticket fees would go towards paying speakers and the cost of putting on the event.

Italino said she is hoping to see Trump on a 2024 ticket with Owens as his running mate.

“We want to see Trump back in office because [President] Joe Biden is doing nothing,” Italino said.

With Trump set to speak in the late afternoon, a sea of red started hours prior from the stadium’s parking lot to the entrance as dozens of cars dawned an array of Trump flags, including “Trump 2024” and “Make America Great Again”.

Attendees wore MAGA hats and draped campaign flags over their shoulders. They came from all around.


READ MORE: See photos of Trump supporters arriving at the American Freedom Tour event in Broward

Larissa Martins, who is Brazilian, had her country’s flag waving behind her as she held a “Trump — Pence 2020 Flag”.

Sylvia Dudley, a 72-year-old who just moved from Michigan to the West Palm Beach area, said she was excited to see Trump for the first time.

“We drive by his house [at Mar-a-Lago] … and we get excited and say, ‘Yay Trump! Keep at it!’,” she said. “We needed him because he is a person who you punch him and keeps getting back up.”

Dudley also felt it a duty to come and support.

“We want to show the country we are for these conservative values, which the Republicans have,” she said. “Trump especially led the way in bringing our country back, and we want to support him and let him know that we want him back….”

The hot Florid a sun was in full force, pounding down on many eager to escape the heat. Inside, they found air conditioning and Donald Trump Jr., the president’s son and a featured speaker of the event, signing copies of his father’s photo book “Our Journey Together.”


Donald Trump Jr. signs copies of his father’s book “Our Journey Together.”

Dudley wasn’t the only first timer at the event, many supporters were excited to see and hear the former president in-person for the first time.

“I have a lot of respect for the president we have, and be able to support him for all the good he has done,” said Genie Samuel, a 66-year-old who has lived in Florida since the 90s. “Sometimes I wish people would have a little less hate in their hearts.”

She isn’t as sure that Trump will run in 2024 as others are, but says she is looking for someone who cares.

“It would be nice just to have someone to come in and care about our people,” Samuel said. “No violence. Changes need to be made, but I still don’t think violence is the answer. What do I hope for? Peace on Earth.”

Miami Herald staff writer Bianca Padró Ocasio contributed to this report.