Trump's Hialeah rally was a hot ticket on Miami GOP debate day
Former President Donald Trump could claim some victory Wednesday without debating any of his rivals in the presidential race, at least in terms of local enthusiasm.
Driving the news: Trump showcased his popularity in Miami by drawing a big turnout to his rally in Hialeah meant to compete with the GOP debate.
- Supporters showed up as early as 6am for the evening rally, Ann Marti of the Hialeah Republican Club tells Axios. By 2pm, the line to get into Henry Milander Park stretched down several blocks.
- By comparison, there was little activity outside the Adrienne Arsht Center in Miami ahead of the debate.
What they're saying: Luis Valdez Jimenez, a board member with Miami Young Republicans, said Trump's rally "definitely took away a lot of enthusiasm from the debate."
- "Trump has a very strong following in Miami, especially among many Latinos, which make up a majority of the population," he said in a statement. "The DeSantis campaign has struggled to break into this key demographic."
Zoom in: A large crowd of Trump supporters — wearing red "Make America Great Again" hats and T-shirts bearing his mugshot, among other MAGA accessories — stood in the sun all day hoping to get into the Hialeah rally.
- They chanted, "We want Trump!" and waved oversized campaign flags as vendors hawked hats, fans and other Trump-related wares.
The biggest draw of the event, other than Trump himself, was a supersized Ford pickup decorated with animated depictions of Trump as a soldier and holding an alligator over his shoulder.
- On the back tailgate, Trump is shown putting DeSantis in a headlock. Large text warns Gov. Ron DeSantis not to be a "RINO," or "Republican in Name Only."
- The lifted truck belongs to the Trump-supporting rapper Forgiato Blow, the self-described "Mayor of MAGAville" and a popular personality in the MAGA world.
"Ron DeSantis can't even get a crowd to line up for him, he's turning into Joe Biden," Blow, whose real name is Kurt Jantz, tells Axios.
Marti, of the Hialeah Republican Club, says she voted for DeSantis as governor but doesn't think she will vote for him again after he decided to run against Trump.
- "I think he really messed things up," she says. "He split the party … even though he can tell that there's more Trump supporters than there are DeSantis supporters."
More Miami stories
No stories could be found
Get a free daily digest of the most important news in your backyard with Axios Miami.