Ridin' With Biden: Supporters travel in caravan to downtown Fort Myers
They showed up with their Joe Biden flags, signs, T-shirts and even face masks. Then they rolled out from the Broadway Palm parking lot on their way to downtown Fort Myers.
Friday's caravan of cars and trucks was designed to show the Democratic Party's strength in Southwest Florida during Donald Trump's visit, said organizer Wally Hedman of Bonita Springs.
"We're here, we're blue," Hedman said before the caravan departed. "And there's gonna be a blue wave."
Hedman said he quickly organized the "Ridin' With Biden" caravan — his eighth in Lee County — after hearing that Trump was visiting downtown Fort Myers. The president spoke at about 2 p.m. Friday to an invitation-only crowd at Caloosa Sound Convention Center & Amphitheater.
More than 22 cars and trucks took part in the caravan, which left Broadway Palm dinner theater at about noon Friday. The route traveled along Colonial Boulevard and Cleveland Avenue, through downtown Fort Myers, and then along Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard.
Jason Farmer, 33, of Fort Myers said he wanted to show his support of the Biden-Harris ticket by driving in the caravan.
"I do not support Donald Trump," Farmer said. "I do not support what he stands for. He just scares me. I just don't think we can survive four more years of Trump."
Rex Eiland, 56, of North Fort Myers feels the same way. He didn't decorate his car for the event — he didn't find out in time to prepare — but he did wear a T-shirt that said, "END OF AN ERROR, January 20th, 2021."
Eiland said he doesn't like Trump's comments about white supremacists and Russia, or the president's ongoing efforts to abolish the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare).
"I've got several underlying health conditions," he said. "Obama and Biden helped to get us health care coverage, and now it's being threatened to be taken away.
"And now we're in the middle of this health crisis, you know? And that's deadly. Deadly to me, not just because of the virus itself, but because I have these other issues."
Then there were Trump's comments during his September debate with Biden, when the president appeared to instruct white supremacist groups to "stand back and stand by."
"That's another act of treason where he's threatening American lives with violence," Eiland says. "There's no way I can stand for that. I can't tolerate it.
"This is my country. This is my home. And my home is under attack."
Organizers started arriving at 11 a.m. Friday and began decorating their vehicles with signs that said things like "JOE 2020" and "DUMP TRUMP." Cars on nearby Colonial Boulevard honked their approval as they drove by.
Friday morning, a spokeswoman for Biden released a statement from the former vice president addressing Trump's visits to Florida. Here is the entire statement:
"President Trump will hold another pair of events today, this time in Ocala and Fort Myers, where he is sure to continue to deflect and dodge his record. There’s no hiding that Floridians are worse off after four years with President Trump at the helm.
"Under President Trump’s watch, more than 15,000 Floridians have died from the coronavirus, Florida’s tourism-based economy shrunk by 60% in the second quarter, and unemployment more than tripled in the state. Mr. President, what is your plan for Florida families?
"Floridians deserve better than President Trump’s weak leadership. I’ll deliver for you, Florida. As President, I’ll work with the scientists to get COVID-19 in check, create millions of good-paying union jobs to help our economy build back better, and strengthen and build on the Affordable Care Act to ensure every American has access to quality, affordable health care.
"Voting is happening now, and we can move forward together if we all make our voices heard."
Follow our updates from the Biden rally here, including video and photos.
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