THE VILLAGES, Fla.—As retirees living on a fixed income, Paula Bedner and her husband don’t have a lot of money to spare.
But when Democratic House members announced last week they were carrying out an impeachment inquiry against President Donald Trump, her husband, Don, went online to donate to Trump’s reelection campaign.
“My husband, that is not in his nature,” said Bedner, who lives in The Villages retirement community in Florida where, on Oct. 3, Trump was making his first appearance outside Washington since Democrats ramped up their impeachment inquiry.
The latest allegations that Trump used his office to pressure Ukraine’s leader Volodymyr Zelenskiy to investigate a political opponent here in the United States did not sway the Bedners, but rather the ramped-up efforts to investigate Trump have redoubled their support.
“In The Villages, if anything, it has gotten people more determined not to let them get away with it,” said Bedner, who is active in the local Republican women’s club. “People have had enough of this. They see the president is doing good things and the economy is going well.”
Referring to the nickname Trump has given to corrupt officials and bureaucrats in Washington, she said, “The swamp is fighting hard.”
Fellow Villages resident Dale Sutthoff said he wasn’t bothered by reports of Trump’s communication with Zelensky, in part because he felt Trump was looking into any interference in the 2016 election that may have stemmed from Ukraine.
“He’s doing nothing more than protecting us under the law,” Sutthoff said. “It’s just fine.”
Even though they didn’t get invitations to hear Trump, hundreds of The Villages residents congregated in a town square next to the theater where the president was speaking. Dressed in red “Make American Great Again” ball-caps and wearing “Trump–Pence” T-shirts, they sat in law chairs underneath a giant oak tree in the square filled with restaurants. Golf carts, the primary mode of transportation, had signs that read, “Trump Pence, Keep America Great, Victory 2020.”
Steve Pierson, who retired to The Villages from New York three years ago, was wearing a T-shirt that said “Villagers for Trump,” a group he joined last year after they had a golf cart caravan that drove through the retirement community to show support for Trump before the congressional elections. He called the impeachment inquiry “political theater.”
“The Villages is overwhelmingly, wholeheartedly pro-Trump,” Pierson said.