JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – For the second time in a month, Jacksonville’s waterways were teeming with boats filled with supporters of President Donald Trump — this time to celebrate the president’s birthday.
The rally, dubbed “Trump’s Birthday Boat Rally,” began on Sunday morning. Boaters embarked from Metropolitan Park at 11 a.m. on Sunday and cruised the St. Johns River towards Fleming Island.
“It just blows me away how many people are out here," said supporter Lisa Glennon.
The boat parade, which coincides with Flag Day, was one of several planned throughout Florida, including Miami, Pensacola and Tampa.
“It’s all about patriotism,” organizer Esther Byrd told News4Jax. “We love our country, we get frustrated about the negativity. We do what we can and we wave our flags and sing ‘God Bless America’ together.”
Byrd, who is the wife of State Rep. Cord Byrd, organized the first water rally, which she said exceeded her expectations.
The Republican Party of Duval County tweeted photos of the event saying more than 1,000 boats joined the boat rally.
Over 1,000 boats were in the St. Johns River today to celebrate President @realDonaldTrump’s Birthday! Duval County is TRUMP COUNTRY! #jaxpol #flapol #leadright #BoaterVoters pic.twitter.com/JrQWhRIHJf— Duval County GOP (@DuvalGOP) June 14, 2020
The rally comes days after Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel announced that Jacksonville will host part of the Republican National Convention. The convention will be held in late August at the VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena downtown.
Daniel Henry, chairman of the Duval County Democratic Party, responded to the rally plans with a statement:
"While Trump supporters cruise down our waterways in yachts this weekend to celebrate Trump's birthday, millions of Floridians continue to suffer under an economic recession and health pandemic needless creating by him.
“Now more than ever we will continue our efforts to mobilize voters to reject him at the ballot box this November.”
Duval GOP chairman Dean Black said the timing of the flotilla coincided perfectly with the announcement that the Republican National Convention.
“Momentous and historic things are happening in Jacksonville and this is just one way to build up to a crescendo resulting in the Republican National Convention being held in Jacksonville," Black said.
Supporters weren’t just on the water Sunday. They also showed up on the sidelines waving from Met Park and the Main Street Bridge.
Trump turned 74 years old on Sunday.
The flotilla comes nearly a month after hundreds of boaters converged on the Intracoastal Waterway for a May 16 rally, which got a shoutout from the president on Twitter.