Protesters wave signs hours before Trump visit to Orlando

October 8, 2018

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — Hours before President Trump addressed an international convention of police chiefs on Monday, a handful of protesters outside the Orange County Convention Center waved signs that said “Sexual Predators Belong in Jail Not as President or Supreme Court” and “We Wish You Were Fake News.”

Cheyenne Drews wore a long red dress and a white wimple resembling the character “Offred” in the TV series and novel, “The Handmaid’s Tale.”

Drews said she wanted to show that the United States was getting closer to the female oppression depicted in the dystopian story written by author Margaret Atwood.

“I think it’s important for people to see that a lot is at stake because it is. It’s a visible reminder that despite everyone’s efforts to silence us we are not going to be silenced,” said Drews, who is working to elect a Democratic candidate to the Florida House.

The weekend’s confirmation and swearing in of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh was still raw in Suzanne Lander’s mind as she waved a sign outside the convention center where Trump was speaking.

“We’re not going to be silenced while sexual predators are taking over,” said Lander, a bookkeeper in an Orlando suburb. “I have many, many friends and many relatives who have been sexually harassed and sexually violated. I will do whatever I can to stand up for them.”

Outside the convention center, three Democratic Florida lawmakers and a Florida House candidate called Trump and Florida Gov. Rick Scott “BFFs,” slang for “best friends forever.” They said Scott didn’t oppose Trump proposals to gut key provisions of Obamacare and tried to block women’s access to health care.

“Elections have consequences. We need you to get out and vote ... This is crucial,” said state Sen. Linda Stewart, a Democrat from Orlando, Florida.

Scott warmed up the police chiefs before Trump, taking time away from preparing for Hurricane Michael, which was on track to hit the Florida Panhandle midweek. The Florida governor thanked Trump for the federal assistance after Hurricane Irma, which tore through the center of the state last year.

“President Trump couldn’t have done more than he has done,” Scott said. “Everything I asked for, President Trump came through.”

Trump returned the compliment, calling him “a friend of law enforcement.”

“Rick has been incredible when it comes to law enforcement,” Trump said.

Update hourly