JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – President Donald Trump walked off Air Force One to a crowd of thousands at Jacksonville’s Cecil Airport on Thursday, where he hosted a “Great American Comeback” campaign rally.
The president’s rally was highly anticipated among Northeast Florida supporters. Trump was supposed to visit for the Republican National Convention in August, but it was cancelled after Sheriff Mike Williams said that he wasn’t prepared to handle it.
The president began his speech by making a promise to his assembly of supporters.
“Forty days from now, we’re going to win Florida, we’re going to win four more years in the White House," Trump said. “This is the most important election in the history of our country.”
Taking aim at his opponent, former Vice President Joe Biden, Trump looked ahead to the upcoming presidential debate.
“Somebody said, ‘Oh he (Biden) won’t do well in the debate.’ I said, ‘I think you’re wrong, he’ll do fine. He’s gonna do fine. They’ll give him a big shot of something and he’ll go out then he’ll have a lot of energy -- he’ll be like Superman for about 15 minutes,'” Trump said.
Trump went on to say Biden’s plan will “crush Florida” but that his plan will “crush the virus," referring to COVID-19, which in the U.S. has been blamed for more than 200,000 deaths as of Thursday.
“We’re rounding the turn. Under my leadership, prosperity will surge," Trump said. “Normal life will fully resume.”
Trump is launching what aides term a “vision” for health care heavy on unfulfilled aspirations. Before his visit to Jacksonville, he spoke at an airport hangar in swing-state North Carolina to a crowd that included health care workers.
He signed an executive order covering a range of issues, including protecting people with preexisting medical conditions from insurance discrimination. But that right is already guaranteed in the Obama-era health law his administration is asking the Supreme Court to overturn.
Perhaps one of the biggest cheers the president received from his audience came when he spoke about filling the empty seat in the Supreme Court. Trump has said he plans to announce his nomination Saturday and that he’s considering five women.
The president stuck to many of his talking points for his campaign, praising the efforts of law enforcement, pushing that the nation’s economy will roar back and standing behind the U.S. military, which Trump said has “never been stronger.”
The president’s message resonated well with his supporters. When asked what issues mattered to her, Deborah Kramp, a Trump supporter, responded: “Supreme Court justice, that’s number one. Economy. Those are probably my top two.”
“My big thing is the military,” said Bill Defries, a Trump supporter. “I’m in the military, and so for me, support for the troops, always want to take care of them, bring them home.”
Trump’s visit comes ahead of a roundtable in Doral on Friday. Then he’ll fly to Atlanta, Georgia, to deliver a speech on Black economic empowerment. He’ll end the day with another rally in Newport News, Virginia.
News4Jax anchor Kent Justice contributed to this report.