President Trump’s visit to The Villages and Ocala on Tuesday has been postponed.
The announcement comes after a weekend that saw mass shootings at a Wal-Mart in El Paso, Texas, and outside a bar in Dayton, Ohio. Those shootings followed a third incident last week at the Garlic Festival in Gilroy, Calif.
The president had been scheduled to land at Ocala International Airport aboard Air Force One at about 1 p.m. Tuesday and was expected to make remarks to the assembled crowd before making the 30-mile journey to the mega-retirement community to speak about Medicare.
The weekend shootings left 20 dead and 26 injured in El Paso; nine dead and 27 injured in Dayton; and three dead and 15 wounded in Gilroy. Trump addressed the nation Monday morning and condemned the hate crimes and acts of violence over the weekend and called for Republicans and Democrats to work together to deal with the issue of mass shootings.
Shortly before 4 a.m. Monday, he took to Twitter to share his thoughts: “We cannot let those killed in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, die in vain. Likewise for those so seriously wounded. We can never forget them, and those many who came before them. Republicans and Democrats must come together and get strong background checks, perhaps marrying this legislation with desperately needed immigration reform. We must have something good, if not GREAT, come out of these two tragic events!”
On Sunday, Trump said that “perhaps” more needs to be done on gun control but offered no specifics shortly before boarding Air Force One after a weekend at his golf club in Bedminster, N.J.
“Hate has no place in our country and we’re going to take care of it,” Trump was quoted as saying when speaking to reporters before leaving New Jersey to return to the White House.
After being briefed on the Dayton shooting, the president offered his thoughts via Twitter.
“God bless the people of El Paso Texas. God bless the people of Dayton, Ohio,” he tweeted.
Trump had been scheduled to speak Tuesday at The Sharon L. Morse Performing Arts Center after landing aboard Air Force One at Ocala International Airport. He was expected to talk about Medicare to a small, invitation-only crowd at about 2:15 p.m. He also had planned to hold a more intimate meeting on the subject with 10 members of Villagers for Trump, the grassroots organization that formed in The Villages a little over a year ago, now boasts more than 1,700 members and clearly has become the choice of area Republicans interested in getting involved in GOP politics.
The White House hasn’t announced a rescheduled date for the visit that created mass excitement in the mega-retirement community that’s home to more than 125,000 residents – the overwhelming majority of whom are on Medicare. But the president is expected to honor the commitment and visit Florida’s Friendliest Hometown in the near future.