President postpones trip to The Villages

Katie Lawson, of the Village Tierra Del Sol, was very excited about the bus ride, sponsored by Villagers for Trump, to see President Trump in Orlando on June 18.

Dealing with national tragedies took priority over a discussion on Medicare, thereby postponing President Donald Trump’s visit to The Villages that had been scheduled for today. On Monday, Trump addressed the nation on the heels of the country’s two latest mass shooting incidents in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, that claimed the lives of 31 and injured more than 50 others over the weekend. He also rearranged his White House schedule to deal with the matter. “In light of this weekend’s tragedies, the president has postponed tomorrow’s visit to The Villages, Florida,” a White House spokesman told the Daily Sun immediately after Trump’s Monday morning address. No new date for the visit was provided.

Trump will focus on a multifaceted plan to address mass shootings in America, he said Monday. He said he wants action on early warning signs, including identifying threats seen on social media, ending what he called the glorification of violence, reforming mental health laws, creating “red flag laws” that can take weapons away from those deemed dangerous, and he is “open and willing to discuss all ideas that will actually work.”

Discussing Medicare and what it means in communities like The Villages, where around 69,000 in the Sumter County portion alone are Medicare beneficiaries, will have to wait.

Jerry Prince, The Villages Republican Club president, said he has no issue with that.

“To go to the other places — where the tragedies happened versus coming to The Villages — is the appropriate act right now,” Prince said. “We’re sorry that this happened, and we’re praying for the families. I listened to the president’s speech about it, and I agree with him that we need to come together now.”

Sumter County Commissioner Don Burgess said he believes Trump’s change in plans is more than appropriate.

“I certainly approve it. What happened in the last few days is atrocious,” Burgess said. “Having a president come to our hometown is one big deal. We’ll welcome him when the time is appropriate.”

The Villagers for Trump group had intended on decorating golf carts and congregating in Spanish Springs today but canceled their plans, said David Gee, club president. The group’s monthly meeting is 6:30 p.m. tonight at Eisenhower Recreation Center. Gee was hopeful Monday he could announce any updates at tonight’s session.

Meanwhile, local Democrats intend on going forward with their plans today for a voter registration drive and a “day of action.”

“We’re still going to go ahead with our day of action, especially after the recent news and mass shootings,” Catherine Hardy, Sumter County Democratic Executive Committee chairwoman, said of today’s planned 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. effort at Democratic headquarters in Wildwood. “Even though he’s not coming, we’re still going to have to deal with the issues.”

Chris Stanley, The Villages Democratic Club president, said she would be on the square today just in case members didn’t get the message that the president’s trip was postponed, thereby canceling an intended rally on the square. Stanley said the club would likely plan another rally if the president reschedules.

John Temple, Sumter County Republican Executive Committee chairman, said local Republicans will let things settle down and await a more peaceful time to look forward to a possible presidential visit.

“Well, we’re disappointed because we were looking forward to the visit, but by all means we totally understand,” Temple said. “Our hearts and prayers are with the people that are suffering from the tragedy.”

Managing Editor Curt Hills can be reached at 352-753-1119, ext. 5287, or curt.hills@thevillagesmedia.com. Staff writer Alexandria Mansfield can be reached at 352-753-1119, ext. 5401, or alexandria.mansfield@thevillagesmedia.com.